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Governor provides update on COVID-19, dangerous winter storm

By Crystal Staley/Sebastian Kitchen

Frankfort, KY - On Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on COVID-19 vaccine progress and announced child care workers now will be included in phase 1B. They can sign up anywhere in the commonwealth currently offering vaccinations.

The Governor said the state has had five weeks of declining cases for the first time since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Kentucky, on March 6, 2020.

"We are seeing some of the best COVID-19 news that's been out there since we began this fight. These positive COVID-19 trends may be from the cold weather keeping people from going places that they would otherwise, but I think it's more than that. I think we've reached a point in the pandemic where we all know multiple people that we've lost, and we realize how effective wearing a mask is, we see the light at the end of the tunnel and we want to protect one another as we get there," said Gov. Beshear.

Adam Mather, Cabinet for Health and Family Services inspector general, also updated Kentuckians on COVID-19 vaccinations in long-term care facilities.



"We are seeing really positive trends, not only in Kentucky as a whole, but specifically in long-term care which was hit very hard by COVID-19," Mather said. "We're seeing decreasing numbers of positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Today is the first day that we've reported no facility in the state of Kentucky has 15 or more active cases. We are expanding the federal vaccination program for long-term care into other residential spaces, including low-income, elderly congregate housing, Supports for Community Living residences and more."

Finally, the Governor emphasized the importance of continuing to improve vaccine equity, as some racial and ethnic groups remain underrepresented among vaccine recipients.

Case Information
As of 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15, Gov. Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:

  • New cases today: 723
  • New deaths today: 9
  • Positivity rate: 6.57%
  • Total deaths: 4,291
  • Currently hospitalized: 969
  • Currently in ICU: 268
  • Currently on ventilator: 132
Top counties with the most positive cases today are: Jefferson, Fayette, Madison, Boone and Pike. Each county reported at least 25 new cases.

Winter Storm Update
Gov. Beshear, Transportation Secretary Jim Gray and Kentucky Division of Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett said the next wave of wintry weather has begun in the state, bringing varying road conditions to counties. Heavy snow is reported in Western Kentucky, sleet in parts of Central Kentucky and freezing rain and ice in Eastern and Southeastern Kentucky.

"The conditions on our roads are deteriorating very quickly. Parts of Kentucky are getting significant snow, sleet and freezing rain or an ice storm. We're one of the only states getting all three in a very significant way," said Gov. Beshear. "We've come too far in the last 11 months protecting one another to lose people in an event like this."

"Make no mistake: Our highway crews are working as hard as they can. We're not letting up, but we're going to be contending with heavy snow that's hard to keep up with," said Secretary Gray. "Clearing roadways of ice and snow can be treacherous for the people operating those plows. Our employees are very skilled but not immune to ice. We ask every Kentuckian to be patient and to help us by keeping travel to a minimum, and don't travel at all if it can be avoided. Fewer vehicles on the roadways make it easier for our plow crews to do their job."

"Every single county in Kentucky is under a winter storm watch or a warning. This second wave of wintry weather will produce much more snow and ice accumulation than the first," said Director Dossett. "Travel will become difficult to impossible this afternoon and tonight. Power outages are possible due to snow and previous ice accumulations on trees and power lines. It's an extremely dangerous time - please be careful."


This story was posted on 2021-02-15 17:45:16
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