Kentucky ‘fighting death itself’ as COVID outbreaks escalate, governor says

Published 9:47 pm Monday, December 6, 2021

Kentucky has been hit by an across-the-board coronavirus escalation, driven by the delta variant that remains the main adversary in the fight against COVID-19, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday.

New coronavirus cases reported statewide during the weekend and on Monday totaled nearly 4,900, while the three-day death toll from the virus was 198, the governor said.

Last week, Kentucky had its largest number of new COVID-19 cases in nine weeks, he said.

Virus-related hospitalizations are rising, along with admissions to intensive care units and ventilator use, Beshear said. More than 1,070 virus patients are hospitalized in Kentucky, including 310 in ICUs and 168 on ventilators, he reported.

“Everything across the board is going up,” the governor said at a news conference. “We are certainly in another escalation.”

The culprit is the delta variant, which remains “our enemy No. 1” to defeat, he said.

Kentucky has not detected a case of the new omicron variant, Beshear said.

“To my knowledge, as of standing here right now, we have not confirmed a case of omicron, but that said, it’s been detected in so many different states, it is likely here,” he said.

Meanwhile, the governor pointed to an upswing in COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots.

During the weekend, 45,137 Kentuckians received booster shots, he said. Another 15,117 residents received their first vaccine dose, while 18,189 got their second dose, he said.

Roughly 61% of the state’s population is at least partially vaccinated and 53% fully vaccinated.

The governor again implored the unvaccinated to get the shots. Those already vaccinated need to get their booster shots when eligible, he said, pointing to waning immunity as one of the factors behind the new COVID-19 escalation.

Kentucky’s virus-related death toll since the pandemic began approached 11,300 Monday.

“We are fighting death itself,” Beshear said. “It comes in the form of this virus. Please, use the tools that are there to protect yourself and your families.”