FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Governor Andy Beshear’s weekly update began with some good news about economic developments across the state.
Hospitals in need will be able to apply for assistance through the Rural Hospital Loan Program. And in Richmond, the ‘build-ready’ project has given the state its 18th infrastructure-ready landmass on which new construction for office or warehouse space can be constructed. In addition to that, the governor noted that 18 million dollars are now at the state’s disposal to assist those who might need help paying water bills, which may have piled up during the peak of the pandemic and unemployment.
But despite all of that, it didn’t take long for the conversation to shift to coronavirus. The topic has dominated Mr. Beshear’s first term, which is approaching its midway point.
“My view at this point is pretty simple: We’re fighting death. This virus wants to kill as many of us as is humanly possible,” the governor bluntly stated.
The governor was joined by his Public Health Director, Dr. Steven Stack, who addressed the omicron variant. At the time of the press conference, two confirmed cases of this new mutation were detected out of state.
“It’s not a matter of if,” Dr. Stack said of omicron reaching Kentucky. But he noted, right now it’s not the main concern.
“99.9 percent of all the virus we’re finding in the United States right now is still Delta variant, and we know the vaccines still work for that,” he said.
Kentucky’s positivity rate climbed back over the 8 percent mark this week. Winter weather (today notwithstanding), the holiday, and waning immunity are all playing a role in the spike.
Both the governor and Dr. Stack spent much of their time today stressing the need for Kentuckians to get a booster shot if it’s been six months since their last immunization. About the vaccines and booster, the governor tried to deescalate the political nature they have taken on since the beginning.
“This isn’t about one group of people versus another group of people,” he said.
Though it’s certainly seemed that way for much of his first two years in office. On December 10th, the governor will celebrate his second anniversary since being sworn in. He knows some of his choices ruffled more than a few political feathers. He also doesn’t care.
“Many of these decisions have been made on the battlefield where you can’t wait on, and can’t put in the normal, let’s spend four months of government process to reach an agreement with everybody,” he said.
“I made the best decisions I could for the lives of the people in Kentucky. If that’s made things more difficult in areas going forward or harmed some relationships, it was still worth it if it saved lives,” Mr. Beshear said of his first two years in office.