Beshear asking feds for double supply of vaccine

Gov. Andy Beshear says he is asking the federal government to double the amount of COVID-19 vaccine sent to Kentucky since the state has the capacity to vaccinate that many or more.

During a Tuesday press briefing, he pointed out that Kentucky vaccinated more than 83,000 people last week, while next week’s vaccine allocation is just over 56,000.

“I formally requested from Operation Warp Speed that the federal government double the amount of vaccine we receive every week,” he said.  “We are proving that we can get it out there, we are proving that we are efficient, we are proving that we can get it into people’s arms.”

He noted the way things appear to be headed, “We are going to be sitting around with entire days where we have already run out of vaccine, waiting to get more from the federal government.  This is our major challenge, moving forward.”

His message on Kentucky’s ability to vaccinate more people was echoed by State Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack, who said the state could vaccinate 250,000 people per week if they had the product.  “There are almost 1,500 locations who want to vaccinate in Kentucky and have started the enrollment process to do so, we just don’t have enough vaccine.”Gov. Beshear said there were 2,250 new cases of the coronavirus reported to state public health officials on Tuesday.  “That is lower than last week and lower than the week of December 28.”

Three counties reported more than 100 new cases: Jefferson 312, Campbell 218, and Warren 112.  The other counties in the top ten were Fayette and Kenton 82, Christian 56, Pike 53, while Barren, Daviess, and Pulaski counties each had 51.

This brings the total number of positive cases to 330,907 since Kentucky’s first case was reported on March 6.

There were also 27 new deaths on Tuesday, who ranged from 56 to 94 years of age.  This raised the pandemic total to 3,194.

Eight of them were from Daviess County; four from Monroe County; there were two from Boyle, Crittenden, and Ohio counties; and one apiece from Allen, Anderson, Caldwell, Clay, Fayette, Harlan, Henderson, McCreary, and Trigg counties.

The state’s positivity rate has decreased to 11.55%, based on a seven-day rolling average.

There are 1,633 Kentuckians currently hospitalized.  Of them, 442 are in intensive care and 208 on a ventilator.

Taking a wider view, Beshear noted there have now been 400,000 Americans lost to the coronavirus.  “That is a staggering loss.  It’s so large, it’s hard to actually visualize it.  It could fill up both UK and UofL’s stadiums 3 1/2 times.  That would represent the number of lives, the number of people, we’ve lost in America.”

To view the full daily COVID-19 report for Kentucky, which includes such information as the red zone counties and red zone recommendations, testing locations, the weekly White House Coronavirus Task Force reports for Kentucky, executive orders, vaccine distribution, and other information on the state’s pandemic response go to kycovid19.ky.gov.

Beshear will not hold a press briefing on Wednesday, although he will likely issue a daily report.  His next scheduled live briefing will be Thursday at 4 pm and can be viewed on both his Facebook and YouTube pages.