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Beshear: COVID-19 Case Acceleration Linked To Holiday Gatherings

Screenshot from Gov. Andy Beshear

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear on Friday in a news conference reported an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases in the state, along with new vaccine updates. 


Beshear said Kentucky had successfully stopped three waves of this virus but was now seeing a significant increase in cases and the statewide test positivity rate due to the gatherings over the holidays. 


He said according to a report from the White House, this case acceleration suggests there may be a USA-specific COVID-19 variant that has evolved here, in addition to the UK variant that is already spreading in the country. 


Beshear said the state ranked 41st for the rate of new COVID-19 deaths, and 19th highest positivity rate in the country, at 11.93%. 


Beshear announced there are an additional 4,750 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday today, the third highest daily caseload ever, with 13 new deaths. 


The current total number of doses administered in Kentucky is 107,799, with 47,385 additional doses in the last three days. Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said it would be the state’s goal to administer 90% of all vaccines received in the state within seven days of arrival. 


Inspector General for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Adam Mather reported CVS has administered 9,215 doses and Walgreens has administered 14,460 dosesto long-term care facilities.


Beshear also discussed House Bill 1, which would allow schools and businesses to reopen as long as they’re following COVID-19 guidelines, even if the reopenings go against Beshear’s executive orders. . Things can stay open no matter what, if they are following “CDC guidelines.” 


Beshear said these types of bills are “incredibly dangerous” and that according to a recent polling “a wide majority of Kentuckians support the actions we are taking.”


Governor’s Office General Counsel Amy Cubbage said that of the almost 1.5 million unemployment claims, 90,000 initial claims across all programs have unresolved issues.  


More than 90% of unemployment claimants have been paid, where prior to the pandemic, the average payment rate was 75%.  There is also an 11-week extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program for non-traditional and contract employees, she said. 


The governor said he has authorized a $1000 payment to those who have filed unemployment claims through March 4 through Oct. 31 and have yet to have their claims resolved.

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