Gov. Andy Beshear discussed new COVID-19 cases within the state as well as the weekly White House COVID-19 federal report at his daily briefing.
The governor announced 3,601 new cases, bringing the total number of Kentucky cases to 186,765 with 1,768 in the hospital. There are 427 in the ICU and 234 on ventilators.
Beshear announced the highest number of COVID-19 related deaths with 37 new deaths.
“Kentucky is at a 9.2% infection rate,” Beshear said. “This is not just more testing, but more people getting and spreading the virus.”
Beshear covered the weekly White House COVID-19 Task Force report which showed nationwide more than 180,000 new cases diagnosed a day compared to 25,000 in summer. The report also stated COVID-19 related deaths have more than doubled.
The White House COVID-19 federal report stated “We are in a very dangerous place due to the current, extremely high COVID-19 baseline and limited hospital capacity; a further post-Thanksgiving surge will compromise COVID-19 patient care, as well as medical care overall.”
Health official Steve Brown cited Thanksgiving traveling and gatherings as the reason for COVID-19 spikes and warned of upcoming spikes.
“We have every reason to believe that Thanksgiving gatherings will cause surges for weeks to come,” Brown said. “It’s important during upcoming events like Christmas and New Years we follow all precautions to slow the spread until coming vaccines are widely available.”
Brown explained the magnitude of increasing cases and lack of hospital beds available citing King Daughters Hospital in Ashland, Kentucky as using lobbies for overflow patients. The current rise in cases is causing extreme strain on hospitals and workers across the state.
“If we don’t do simple things like wearing a mask when you go out in public, we will see a rapid increase in cases and deaths,” Brown said. “We could get this virus locked up in as little as four weeks if we see an increase in state-wide compliance.”
Beshear also took a moment to honor those who had been lost to COVID-19, including 67-year-old ICU nurse Michael Rodriguez, who died Nov. 10 and was laid to rest the day before Thanksgiving.
“After a serious fever, Rodriguez was brought to the hospital where he worked and was treated by his friends,” Beshear said. “After his health took a turn for the worse, he later died in the very ICU where he worked. That had to have been hard on his friends.”
Sean Snyder can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @seanwsnyder