Beshear announces 396 COVID-19 cases, urges safe St. Patricks celebrations

Beshear 3/15

Governor Andy Beshear announced 396 new COVID-19 cases and 23 new coronavirus-related deaths during his daily briefing Monday. Two Warren County residents—a 60-year-old woman and a 63-year-old man—were included in Monday’s death count.

Since March 6, 2020, Kentucky has identified 416,010 total COVID-19 cases and 5,005 deaths. Beshear announced the state will establish a fund for a memorial that will honor Kentuckians who died during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We will all be processing what we’ve lost for many years, but we will also remember the compassion—the way that Kentuckians came together,” Beshear said.

Kentucky’s weekly total of COVID-19 cases has declined for nine consecutive weeks. The state’s positivity rate, which is currently 3.99%, fell slightly this past week. Beshear said the state could continue to relax capacity restrictions if the downward trends continue.

Over 1 million Kentuckians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Beshear said. In the first 13 weeks of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Kentucky used all of the vaccine doses that were provided by the federal government.

“This is good news because it shows that we have used our resources efficiently and we’ve gotten everyone that we possibly can vaccinate,” Beshear said.  

When referring to President Joseph Biden’s goal of having every adult American qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine by May 1, Beshear used two sports analogies.  

“If we are two months away from allowing everyone who wants a vaccine to get one, we want to make sure that we bring everyone to the finish line and we don’t stop hustling in the fourth quarter,” Beshear said.

Beshear hopes that both Kentuckians and businesses in the state will adhere to the mask mandate and social distancing guidelines during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and spring break gatherings.

“If people refuse to follow the rules and if establishments don’t [follow the COVID-19 guidelines], we could see more cases and that might mean we have to strengthen restrictions,” Beshear said.

Beshear said he is thankful for the efforts of Kentuckians who have altered their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re going to beat this thing,” Beshear said. “Don’t give up and just keep going.”

Leo Bertucci can be reached at [email protected]  Follow him on Twitter @leober2chee.