New cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky have plateaued following 12 weeks of declining cases, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday.
Infections are on the rise around the country, particularly in parts of the midwest including Michigan and South Dakota, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The seven-day average of new cases in Kentucky also increased slightly last week while test positivity rates, a leading indicator of where infection rates are headed, have remained fairly steady over the last three weeks, Beshear said.
At the same time, Kentucky is continuing to see a growing number of infections related to a more transmissible variant of the virus known as B.1.1.7, which health experts say is likely to become the dominant version of COVID-19 in the U.S.
Still, Beshear said it’s too early to say whether or not Kentucky will see a fourth surge, but warned Kentuckians to remain vigilant, wear masks in public and sign up for a vaccination as soon as possible.
“Let’s not fumble at the goal line. We are so close to fully protecting one another and I want to defeat this virus once and for all,” Beshear said.
On Monday, the state opened vaccine access to all residents over the age of 16. More than 1.4 million Kentuckians have already received a first dose. The share of Black Kentuckians who have received a first dose broke 5% for the first time Monday — though it still trail’s the state’s population of 8.1%.
Beshear also loosened the state’s travel guidance, in line with CDC recommendations that say it is safe for vaccinated people to travel within the U.S.
Kentucky reported only 110 new cases and eight deaths Monday (including four deaths from the state’s audit), though Beshear cautioned that the number was likely artificially low because of lab closures over the holiday weekend. The positivity rate stood at 2.9% Monday.
New cases today: 110
New deaths today: 4
New audit deaths: 4
Positivity rate: 2.9%
Total deaths: 6,171
Currently hospitalized: 353
Currently in ICU: 97
Currently on ventilator: 46