Governor Andy Beshear reported over 4,000 positive COVID-19 cases in Kentucky on Thursday. He said the positivity rate is going down, which is a big factor in lifting current restrictions. The Governor said we'll move forward resuming indoor dining for restaurants at 50% capacity.
Since November 23, restaurants and bars have been prohibited from serving customers indoors limiting service to outdoor dining, delivery, and curbside. On Monday, restaurants will open their in-door operations and patrons will be required to wear masks except when eating and drinking. Service will need to end at 11 pm each night closing doors at midnight.
The positivity rate is now at 9.13%. The Governor reported 28 deaths on Thursday for a total of 2,146 Kentuckians losing their lives to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. There are 1,756 hospitalizations, 442 people in ICU, and 231 on ventilators. All but one county in Kentucky, Menifee county is in the red zone.
The Governor is calling on ‘personal responsibility’ to help fight the pandemic. He said state officials, business owners, the media, everyone needs to be part of slowing the spread of the virus through the mandated mask policy, social distancing, and washing your hands. Beshear said, “The data has shown that the steps we are taking are working.”
Beshear said they’re working on a plan for students to go back in the classroom safely while counties remain in the red zone. Next week, the Governor said they should have more clarity. He defended his reasoning behind the virtual instruction mandate saying that prior to returning to virtual learning there were over 10,000 students across the state of Kentucky in quarantine.
The Governor said over the last seven days the data has shown that the restrictions are working. He believes that we’re far enough past the Thanksgiving break that it shouldn’t start a super spreader event. He thinks we dodged a bullet.
“Kentucky could start giving our vaccines as early as next week,” said Beshear. The FDA vaccine advisory panel is meeting today discussing the findings from the Phase 3 trials and determining if the Pfizer vaccine is ready for distribution.
The Governor said healthcare workers and long-term care facilities will be the first to receive the option to get the COVID-19 vaccine. He said that 66% of deaths have occurred in long-term care facilities and 25% have occurred outside these settings in people 65 years and older. That’s 90% of the population dying from COVID-19 related illness.
Dr. Stack discussed the stress being placed on hospitals. There are four areas in Kentucky where hospitalization is high. He said people have asked the question could patients be transported to hospitals with fewer cases. Dr. Stack pointed out that it takes quite a bit of effort to transfer patients in normal times and this is happening during a pandemic.
Indiana is looking for help from Kentucky. Their hospitals are at the brink and would like to transfer patients across the river into Kentucky. He said Kentucky we'll do all we can, however our hospitals are under stress too.
Personal responsibility is the key to keeping Kentucky safe and open. Hospitals are pushing their limits. Let's do all we can Kentucky to be part of the solution and not the problem.