Kentucky passes 1 Million COVID-19 cases as omicron variant continues to surge

Published 7:12 am Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Positivity rate exceeds 30%; 75% of adult Kentuckians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Gov. Andy Beshear said Kentucky has surpassed 1 million total COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, with 1,014,703 total cases as of Tuesday.

The governor also announced the state’s highest-ever day for newly reported cases on Saturday – 14,896 – as well as the highest ever test positivity rate Tuesday – 30.25%.

“The increase in cases is severe, by far more than any other surge we’ve had,” said Gov. Beshear. “But the good news is, 75% of Kentuckians 18 and up have been vaccinated. I think that’s a pretty big deal. Three-quarters of everyone in Kentucky who can make their own health care decisions have decided to get vaccinated. That is an overwhelming majority. Hopefully, this encourages even more people to get that shot of hope.”

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The state also reported 72,165 new COVID-19 cases the week ending Jan. 16, the highest week ever. This new record surpasses the second-highest week by nearly 20,000 cases (Jan. 3-9: 52,603 cases) and the third-highest week by nearly 40,000 cases (Aug. 30–Sept. 5: 30,680 cases).

The governor also reported the state’s highest-ever average weekly positivity rate, 29.33%, for the week ending Jan. 16. This is nearly 4 percentage points higher than the second-highest week (Jan. 3-9: 25.84%); and 9 percentage points higher than the third-highest week (Dec. 27–Jan. 2: 20.38%). The highest weekly positivity rate during the delta variant surge was 13.88% the week ending Sept. 12, 2021.

COVID-19 Case Information, Vaccinations Update
Number of people who have received at least one vaccine dose in Kentucky: 2,824,262
Number of people who have received their vaccination booster in Kentucky: 959,754

Jan. 15, Cases: 14,896
Jan. 15, Deaths: 39
Jan. 16, Cases: 9,730
Jan. 16, Deaths: 23
Jan. 17, Cases: 6,644
Jan. 17, Deaths: 18

New Cases Today: 8,742
New Deaths: 16
Today’s Positivity Rate: 30.25%
Current Hospitalizations: 2,200
Current Intensive Care Admittances: 431
Currently on Ventilators: 244

The governor said 63% of all Kentuckians have received at least their first dose, as well as 67% of Kentuckians ages 5 and older and 75% of all Kentucky adults.

“Hospitals are struggling, and some have declared crisis standards for staffing,” said Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health. “More than 450 Kentucky National Guard women and men are currently supporting the COVID-19 response in health care facilities. Thank you to all of our health care professionals who keep showing up to help others even under these circumstances.”

He continued: “There could be some light ahead. If Kentucky follows the pattern of Rhode Island and New York. Both Rhode Island and New York are showing a rapid decline in new cases that appears to mirror the immediately prior vertical climb. If Kentucky follows this pattern, then we may see our own peak within the next one to two weeks. This would be a very welcome reprieve. Until then, I urge all Kentuckians to not go to an ER just to get a COVID test.”

Dr. Stack said that President Biden’s plan to make 1 billion at-home tests directly available to the public launches tomorrow. The Biden administration has informed the public that you may order four at-home COVID-19 tests per household at starting on Jan. 19.

Dr. Stack said the one monoclonal antibody treatment effective against the omicron variant, as well as the Pfizer antiviral medication, are not yet widely available, but vaccines and boosters are abundant and highly effective.

COVID-19 in Corrections Facilities Update
The Governor said there are 294 active corrections staff COVID-19 cases and 392 active inmate COVID-19 cases. Three institutions are under quarantine (Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex, Kentucky State Reformatory, and Kentucky Correctional Institution for Women) to help protect inmates, staff, and the broader community. No inmates have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 during the omicron surge. In addition, 84% of inmates have been vaccinated and 55% have gotten a booster.

First Lady of the United States Jill Biden Visits Kentucky
Gov. Beshear said on Friday, he and First Lady Britainy Beshear were honored to welcome the First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden, to Bowling Green. Dr. Biden visited to see firsthand the challenges so many Kentuckians are facing in the aftermath of two rounds of violent tornadoes that hit the state in just four weeks.

“This was an incredibly special day, because once again Kentucky saw that the entire country – from the President of the United States and the First Lady – are here to support us during this time of need,” said Gov. Beshear. “We will not only clean up these communities, we will rebuild every building and every life.”

Feb. 11 Deadline to Apply for FEMA Assistance, Relief Fund Update
The Governor said the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund will now provide 10% on top of the individual assistance for housing provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to qualifying storm survivors who were uninsured renters. The Governor already announced the fund would provide 10% on top of the individual assistance for housing provided by FEMA to qualifying storm survivors who were uninsured homeowners. The Governor said that, as of Tuesday, the fund has paid for every tornado casualty’s funeral. The Governor reminded Kentuckians affected by the Dec. 10-11 tornadoes that Feb. 11 is the deadline to apply for FEMA assistance.

Winter Weather Expected Wednesday, Thursday
The Governor said rain will begin Wednesday morning and transition to snow and/or a wintry mix Wednesday night behind a cold front. Temperatures will drop from the 40s Wednesday afternoon into the 20s by early Thursday morning. Roads could quickly become icy and snow-covered Wednesday night, and travel may be difficult.