Kentucky reports more than 5,000 virus cases, 24 new deaths

Published 5:29 am Saturday, September 4, 2021

Kentucky’s coronavirus surge continued Friday as the state reported 5,111 coronavirus cases and 24 new virus-related deaths, all pointing toward what Gov. Andy Beshear called “a scary time” for unvaccinated Kentuckians.

“The Delta variant continues to burn through Kentucky, and right now is one of the most dangerous times we’ve had in this pandemic,” Beshear said, in a video posted to social media. “How many more days of 5,000-plus cases and record numbers of Kentuckians on a ventilator do we want?”

While the test positivity rate dipped slightly from 13.29% to 13.17 %, hospitalizations increased. Some 2,365 Kentuckians are hospitalized with COVID-19, up 50 from Thursday.

Roughly 89% of Intensive Care Unit beds are full, with 160 beds left, according to a state report.

The numbers come a day after the Democratic governor announced that Kentucky had received 40 ventilators from the national stockpile to try to shore up its supply.

While the Bluegrass state continues to report high case numbers daily, Beshear has yet to announce when he will call lawmakers back for a special session to address issues brought on by the surge, particularly those in schools. Staffing shortages and large quarantines have closed at least 35 school districts in the state at various points since the school year began. While some schools have opted to use some of their limited 10 non-traditional instruction days for virtual learning, others have opted to close school and not offer at-home learning.

Beshear said Thursday he’s waiting to see if there’s “enough agreement to get that going as soon as we would hope.”

As governor, Beshear unilaterally set virus-related restrictions in Kentucky for more than a year, but a recent state Supreme Court ruling has cleared the way for new laws to limit his emergency powers.