'It is difficult. It is astounding': Governor gives COVID, economic growth update in weekly address

Posted at 4:18 PM, Jan 27, 2022

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — As he normally does, Governor Andy Beshear spent at least half of the time during his weekly Team Kentucky update discussing COVID-19 and it’s impact across the state.

“A quick update on our death toll. It is difficult. It is astounding. As of today, this is before today’s report, we’ve lost 12,817 Kentuckians,” he grimly stated.

For those who are vaccinated, the current Omicron variant is proving to be less debilitating, but if you haven’t been inoculated, the consequences are proving to be dire in many instances.

The governor showed graphs depicting the current hospitalization and death rate across the state. The contrast is stark. Since July - and we’ll use one age group as an example - 324 unvaccinated Kentuckians age 40-49 have died from COVID-19. During that same time frame, 11 vaccinated 40-49-year-old have died. And the governor showed numbers that are just as alarming in other age groups.

The governor’s son is among the vaccinated who’ve recently contracted the virus.

“My son, Will is perfectly healthy,” Mr. Beshear said. “We miss not being as close to him as we’d like, but we’re coming up on being able to do that again.”

Governor Beshear devoted some of this time to accentuating some positive developments across the state, including the new financial investments being made by numerous companies.

Levi Strauss and Co will be opening another distribution center in northern Kentucky. While Piston Automotive and Confluent Health are expanding their respective operations in Louisville. Together, they will add more than 450 new job opportunities.

“In the time I’ve been Governor (since December 2019), we’ve never had a January quite this good,” the governor proudly stated. “160.9 million dollars in new investment as well as 1,003 new high-quality jobs for Kentuckians."

The governor hopes we’ve reached, or soon will reach, a peak with Omicron cases so that our positivity rate can begin to descend. But in the meantime, he begs for vigilance as Kentucky’s hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of patients who require care for other ailments including heart attack, stroke, and most everything else.

“This situation (full capacity in the hospitals) is not just about COVID. So if you are still a skeptic that this thing can hurt or kill you, please do the right thing so others who are harmed in others ways can get the care they need,” he said.