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Kentucky surpasses 1 million COVID-19 cases

January 18, 2022 GMT

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky reached another unwanted pandemic milestone, surpassing 1 million COVID-19 cases as the prevalence of the omicron variant puts increased pressure on hospitals, Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday.

The state reported more than 53,500 new coronavirus cases in the past five days, pushing the case total past the 1 million mark since the first Kentucky case was detected in early March 2020, the governor said.

Kentucky’s test positivity rate has reached 30.25%, an all-time high in the state, he said.

“We’ve never dreamed that almost one out of every three people being tested would be testing positive,” Beshear said at a news conference.

“Right now this is certainly the most contagious COVID has been by far,” he added.

Hospital capacity in Kentucky is becoming “stretched” amid the unprecedented surge of cases, he said. The state reported Tuesday that 2,200 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized in Kentucky, including 431 in intensive care units and 244 on ventilators.

“It’s pretty simple: Get vaccinated, get boosted and you’re very unlikely to end up in the hospital for omicron,” the governor said.

Kentucky’s death toll from the virus has surpassed 12,600 since the pandemic began.