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Kentucky governor cautions against pandemic complacency

October 21, 2021 GMT

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentuckians should guard against complacency in the fight against COVID-19 amid recent declines in hospitalizations and other key virus-related statistics, Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday.

Most coronavirus-related trends in Kentucky have been on a downward trend, Beshear said, but he lamented that virus deaths remain far too high. Later Thursday, he reported 53 more virus-related deaths statewide, including that of a 7-week-old baby. The infant was believed to have multiple “issues” and “complications,” but “one of those major challenges was COVID-19,” the governor said.

At a midday news conference, Beshear called it a “reminder that it can impact anyone.”

The Democratic governor continued pleading with the unvaccinated to get COVID-19 shots and for Kentuckians to wear masks when indoors in public to combat the virus’s spread. Since March, the overwhelming majority of virus cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been among the partially vaccinated or unvaccinated Kentuckians.

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Beshear reported a double-digit decline in hospitalizations from the virus in the past seven days. Virus-related admissions to intensive care units and ventilator use also have dropped steadily. But more progress is needed to continue reducing those numbers, he said.

“So let’s not cheer and celebrate while we’re still at where we are,” Beshear said. “Let’s do what it takes to continue to push this decline.”

The governor used statistics on ventilator use to reinforce his point.

“We should be grateful that we now have fewer people on a ventilator than at the height of our winter surge, but not by a whole lot,” he said. “We hope it continues to go down, but let’s not punt on third down, right? Let’s make sure we continue to do what it takes to get this down to those levels where we were all feeling great.

“Remember coming out of that winter surge and where we were for a period of time, we want to be again,” he added. “Because not only was it a good place to be, it was also a safe place to be.”

Later Thursday, Beshear reported 1,796 new COVID-19 cases across Kentucky. The rate of Kentuckians testing positive for the coronavirus dipped to 6.53%, he said, continuing a steady decline in the key barometer.

The state on Thursday reported 1,092 virus patients hospitalized in Kentucky, including 328 in ICUs and 199 on ventilators.

Kentucky’s death toll from the virus reached at least 9,530.

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Follow more of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.