Beshear: Omicron variant continues to escalate in Kentucky


FRANKFORT, KY (WOWK) – Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear says the weekly cases for last week have shattered the previous record for COVID-19 cases reported in one week set the week of August 30. The governor says last week the state confirmed 52,603 new cases of COVID-19

Last week, Beshear announced the previous week’s cases were the second-highest over the course of the pandemic. In the previous highest week of Aug. 30, the state reported 30,680 cases of the virus at the peak of the Delta surge.

Beshear says while the Omicron variant generally causes less severe disease than the Delta variant, it spreads more easily causing more cases of the virus, meaning that with the larger number of cases, the variant could still cause the same level of harm. The governor says the numbers Kentucky is seeing are still not as high as other states when adjusted for population size, meaning Kentucky’s Omicron surge is continuing to escalate and has not yet reached a plateau.

“We have never seen an escalation like this,” Beshear said. “When you go back to the start of Delta and how severe the curve looked, how it looked exponential – you know, that was a parabola that looked exponential. This one is a straight line up like nothing we’ve ever seen before proving that this is one of the most contagious viruses in the last 100 years. There’s nothing other than maybe measles that rival it.”

4:02: Daily case and death updates include:

  • Saturday, Jan. 8: 6,750 new cases and 32 deaths
  • Sunday, Jan. 9: 5,235 new cases and 21 deaths
  • Monday, Jan. 10: 5,049 new cases and 14 deaths

According to the KDPH’s the new daily totals bring the state to 932,552 cases and 12,425 deaths throughout the pandemic.

The state reported 1,873 Kentuckians were currently hospitalized as of Friday, with 452 patients in the ICU and 238 on ventilators.

Beshear also says because of the increased number of hospitalizations causing strain on staff and hospital capacity, he is mobilizing the Kentucky National Guard to assist in hospitals to help ease that strain. He says a total of approximately 445 members of the Guard will be helping at hospitals as well as food banks.

As of today, Kentucky has a reported positivity rate of 26.33%, a record high, with Menifee County and Carlisle as the only two of Kentucky’s 120 counties not in red on the current incidence rate map. Beshear says the positivity rate means that now more than one in four Kentuckians getting tested for COVID-19 are testing positive for the virus.

Beshear says 21% of Kentuckians have now received a COVID-19 vaccine booster and 63% of all Kentuckians have received at least one dose of a vaccine. The governor reports over the weekend, 11,672 Kentuckians received their first dose of a vaccine, while 7,122 people received a second dose and 23,283 received a booster shot.

“It is an incredibly clear pattern, more so I believe with Omicron than anything before it, the level of your vaccination correlates almost directly with how hard this thing impacts you,” Beshear says. “If you are vaccinated and boosted, most people will say it’s like a cold or they don’t have any symptoms at all. If you are vaccinated but not boosted, you are having waining immunity. It hits people and some people feel like they did with the original version of COVID. If you are unvaccinated, for many people, this is hitting you like a freight train, and the vast majority of those ending up in the hospital are unvaccinated.”

By demographic, the state’s vaccination rates are:

  • 75+ years: 92%
  • 65-74 years: 96%
  • 50-64 years: 80%
  • 40-49 years: 70%
  • 25-39 years: 61%
  • 18-24 years: 54%
  • 16-17 years: 50%
  • 12-15 years: 46%
  • 5-11 years: 18%

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