Governor hopes COVID-19 cases have plateaued

Andy Beshear
Posted at 5:53 PM, Sep 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 17:55:16-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky's coronavirus cases appear to be leveling off, Governor Andy Beshear announced on Thursday.

"We are hoping that in the very least we are plateauing," said Beshear.

Specifically, Beshear was referencing the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19, the weekly amount of new cases, and the state's positivity rate. He believes these data points point to a plateau.

"It’s overall good news, but we’re still in a very dangerous situation," said Beshear.

Beshear said the plateau is progress, but unfortunately it's not enough. He said the plateau is happening at a level that will continue to burden hospitals.

"If we plateau at the level we're at right now, we cannot sustain it in our hospitals," he said.

And all of Kentucky's coronavirus numbers have not plateaued yet. The number of coronavirus patients in ICU beds and on ventilators has yet to stop growing.

As of Thursday, only 130 adult ICU beds are left across the state. 2,223 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, 625 are in ICU and 424 are on a ventilator.

"It's hard to classify [this plateau] as good news but it could be worse," Beshear said.

"If [the coronavirus] had continued at the rate that it was, every single hospital would be overrun. We would be turning people away from ICUs. You could see people die in the hallways," Beshear said. "We do not appear on that trajectory anymore."

However, Beshear said the number of cases still needs to shrink.

"You've got to stop growing before you can start shrinking," said Beshear. "But we really need to start shrinking a whole lot faster."

According to the state's data, 60% of Kentucky's total population is at least partially vaccinated. That number includes children who are 12 and younger and therefore ineligible to receive the vaccination. When you look solely at the state's eligible population, 70% of Kentuckians are vaccinated.

The numbers also show that the unvaccinated continue to make up the majority of the state's new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

From March 1 to September 22, 87% of the state’s new cases, 92% of all coronavirus hospitalizations, and 85% of deaths were unvaccinated Kentuckians.