Gov. Andy Beshear said on Monday that new cases of COVID-19 continue to be on the rise in Kentucky, although nothing like the skyrocketing number of cases that have been reported in parts of Europe.
Austria has gone on lockdown as of Monday, and Greece has imposed a wide range of new restrictions, due to a spike in COVID cases there, and other European countries are also reporting a surge of new cases.
“Just because it’s happening in Europe, doesn’t mean it has to happen here,” Beshear said during a press briefing at the Capitol. “We have the tools to keep it from happening, to protect ourselves and one another, but as tired as we are of dealing with COVID, we can’t pretend like it is not still with us.”
He said the numbers are not just creeping up, at the moment, pointing out that the number of new cases on Saturday, Sunday and Monday were the highest they have been in at least four weeks.
Monday had 822 new cases reported to state public health officials, making it 773,602, since the first case on March 6, 2020. There were also 44 more deaths, increasing the pandemic total to 10,707. The positivity rate rose to 6.56%. That compares to 5.03% on November 1.
The daily hospital census showed there were 809 Kentuckians hospitalized with COVID-19 on Monday. Of them, 203 were in the ICU and 101 on a ventilator.
During the week ending Nov. 21, 11,572 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Kentucky, and the average test positivity rate was 6.13%.
“What we don’t know is if this going to be a new plateau that moves up and down,” he stated. “Because each surge has been different, primarily because of the tools we have to fight it as well as the variants.”
He also noted that as well as hospitalizations, requests for monoclonal antibody infusions are also ticking up. “We do not want to see that. We need to be really careful with Thanksgiving this week, as well as Christmas coming up. But unlike last year, there is an opportunity for this holiday season to be safe and pretty normal for you and your family if you follow the precautions you need to.”
He said those include:
• Get a COVID-19 vaccination.
• Get a vaccination booster as the CDC announced Monday everyone 18+ is now eligible for a booster.
• Stay home and avoid gatherings if you feel sick.
• Wear masks if indoors and unvaccinated and/or not boosted.
• Keep gatherings small.
This was the only planned COVID-19 press briefing this week, due to Thanksgiving.