Beshear announces lowest COVID-19 case count since September

Gov. Andy Beshear delivered what he called “the most optimistic report” on the state of COVID-19 in Kentucky on Monday. The state has 509 new positive COVID-19 cases, which is the lowest count since Sept. 28, and 15 new deaths.

Cases in Kentucky have fallen by 72% since Jan. 12, Beshear said. Hospitals in the state have seen a decrease in people in need of treatment for COVID-19 in the past seven weeks.

Due to the fact that Kentucky’s weekly COVID-19 case count and positivity rate, which fell to 4.84% Monday from a high of 12%, have fallen consistently over the past seven weeks, Beshear announced new capacity restrictions for public indoor spaces. Indoor settings such as restaurants, bars, fitness centers, barbershops, movie theaters and event spaces can increase their capacity by 10% beginning March 5.

“The increase is only allowed if you can achieve six feet of social distancing,” Behsear said. Businesses must also continue to obey the statewide face mask mandate.

The 10% capacity increase is considered as a recommendation for houses of worship if they can properly follow social distancing guidelines and the mask mandate, Beshear said.

Beshear announced Kentucky is receiving 36,500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson this week. The supply of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is expected to increase in the future. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, which requires only a single dose, was the third to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is one more tool that will help us to fight COVID-19 and save lives, “ Beshear said. 

The news of the arrival of the Johnson & Johnson doses comes as Kentucky inoculated a record 100,798 people over a span of six days. Beshear expects the state to provide vaccinations to over 700,000 people for the first time in March.

“We believe that with over 700,000 people vaccinated in March, we can do even better in April,” Beshear said.

In other business, Beshear addressed the decision to declare a state of emergency Monday due to the widespread flooding that is occurring throughout Kentucky.

“Approximately seven Kentucky National Guardsmen and women have been providing support to counties like Calloway, Barren, Laurel, Rockcastle, Johnson and Pike ” Beshear said. “We are assisting with the transport of civilians impacted by flooding and we are working on removing debris from roadways.”

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