UPDATE: The Kentucky House has passed a bill to extend pandemic-related relief for employers on their Unemployment Insurance Tax Assessments.

It would let employers continue using the rate set for 2020 before the pandemic.

Supporters say it would save Kentucky businesses, on average, about $70 per employee.

It would apply retroactively to January 1st 2022, if it becomes law.

It now moves on to the Senate.

FRANKFORT, KY (WOWK) – Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear says the state is watching closely to see if the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has peaked in the commonwealth.

Kentucky’s new cases of COVID-19 by week dropped this past week to 74,376 from the previous week’s all-time high of 81,473. However, this number is still the state’s second-highest total of COVID-19 cases, and still more than double the record number of weekly cases during the peak of the Delta variant.

The governor says the upcoming weeks will tell if Kentucky’s Omicron surge is finally beginning to level off or decline.

“The trajectory is a good sign and provided we continue to see declines this week, we would expect even greater ones next week,” Beshear said. “But we’re not out of the woods. If we can hold on and do the right thing for two to three weeks we hope it can drop as quickly as it rose.”

In the state’s last report on Friday, the Kentucky Department for Public Health reported 15,822 new COVID-19 cases and 34 additional deaths bringing the commonwealth to a total of 1,160,558 cases and 12,960 deaths throughout the pandemic.

Kentucky health officials say 2,413 Kentuckians were hospitalized as of Friday evening with 454 patients in the ICU and 232 on ventilators.

The state’s current positivity rate is at 28.49%, down from the 30.5% reported Friday, with all of the state’s 120 counties still in red on the current incidence rate map.