The exponential increase in new cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky has begun to slow and is showing signs the state may be headed for a plateau.
Gov. Andy Beshear struck a tone of cautious optimism during his weekly Team Kentucky update Thursday, hopeful the state will see a decline in new cases, and concerned a plateau would continue to cause too much strain on hospitals and staff.
“It’s overall good news but we are still in a very dangerous situation is how I would describe it,” Beshear said. “You’ve got to stop growing before you can start shrinking but we really need to start shrinking a whole lot faster.”
The number of people in the hospital for COVID-19 has started to trend downward, though there are still a high number of COVID patients in intensive care units and on ventilators. At least 21 children are currently hospitalized with the virus.
Two-thirds of the state’s hospitals are still reporting critical staffing shortages.
The National Guard has increased its presence at 29 hospitals around the state, with more than 500 members offering support, Beshear said.
Unvaccinated patients with COVID-19 have made up 92% of all hospitalizations and 85% of deaths since March of this year.
Between July and September, Kentuckians over the age of 70 continued to be most at risk of dying from the virus, including 159 fully vaccinated residents. Eleven of the deaths since July were in unvaccinated people under the age of 30.
“Ages 12 to 29 is a group that we need to get vaccinated the most,” Beshear said.
Beshear said 60% of Kentuckians have now had at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.