Kentucky sees significant drop in COVID-19 cases, but ‘whole lot of virus” still spreading

Published 10:19 pm Monday, February 7, 2022

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear reported a significant decline in weekly COVID-19 cases on Monday but cautioned that there’s “still a whole lot of virus” spreading in the state.

New coronavirus cases statewide totaled more than 46,600 last week, compared to more than 74,300 new cases the prior week. The winter storm that hit Kentucky last week might have held down the weekly number as COVID-19 testing centers closed due to snow and ice, Beshear said.

The governor also cautioned that last week’s total still represented the Bluegrass State’s fifth-highest weekly case number during the pandemic.

“So while we are moving in the right direction, there is still a whole lot of virus out there,” Beshear said at a news conference. “So we’d ask people to continue to be careful the next couple weeks. The next month, we may see really serious reductions, which would be wonderful.”

Kentucky’s test positivity rate, which had surpassed 33%, was down to 23.51%, he said.

In another positive trend, virus-related hospitalizations dropped 11% across Kentucky in the past seven days, the governor said. The vast majority of those hospitalizations are among people who haven’t received the COVID-19 vaccine, he said.

But the virus death toll remains far too high, the governor lamented. More than 90 virus-related deaths were reported statewide over the past three days, pushing the death toll past 13,100 in Kentucky.

Beshear also expressed concern that vaccinations are slowing as new cases have started declining. In making the case for vaccinations, he noted that 76% of Kentuckians ages 18 and older — people able to make their own health-care decisions — have received at least one shot of the vaccine.

It shows that an overwhelming majority of Kentucky adults are “making the right decision,” he said.

“They are just fine, as are billions of people around the world,” Beshear said. “This ought to be sufficient proof for everybody else to jump on board and get those shots of hope.”