Beshear: Kentucky coronavirus cases appearing to plateau
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — After declining for seven weeks in a row, the number of new COVID-19 cases in Kentucky appear to be hitting a plateau, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday.
The state reported roughly 3,034 new coronavirus cases in the past three days.
Though the total of new cases last week was higher than the previous two weeks, Beshear said there is not yet “a reason to think that there is another surge” coming.
“Folks, I don’t think we have to be alarmed but we have to be knowledgeable. And we have to be clear on the fact that COVID is still here,” Beshear said at a virtual news briefing. “But, the great news is that we have so many different tools to beat it.”
He urged parents and caregivers to speak to their children’s pediatricians about COVID-19 vaccinations, as Kentucky’s youngsters made up 25% to 30% of new COVID-19 cases. The pediatric vaccine, Beshear added, is safe and effective.
“The numbers are just as good as they were for adults: 90.7% effective,” he said. “And, remember, that’s with a smaller amount the kids get that’s separately packaged and separately provided.”
In the first week the COVID-19 vaccine was available for those ages 5-11, some 15,163 children received their first dose, and that number is expected to double, he added.
The Democratic governor also announced that the state is looking into opening up eligibility for booster shots. California, Colorado and New Mexico have opened up booster shots to all adults despite federal recommendations that state’s limiting doses to those considered most at risk.
In Kentucky, current guidance recommends that people 65 and older should get a booster. People living in long-term group settings, those with underlying health conditions and those exposed to other people through work are also eligible. Boosters are also recommended to recipients of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months after vaccination.
Over 425,000 Kentuckians have received a booster shot, Beshear said.
According to state data, 58% of the total state population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, below the national average.
Hudspeth Blackburn is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.