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With Vaccines Coming, Kentucky Sees Slight Decline In Coronavirus Growth Rate

Illustration by Alexandra Kanik

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear reported 3,114 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday as the state anticipates the arrival of the first doses of vaccine. That number represents a decline of more than 1,000 compared to the cases reported last Tuesday, indicating that the rate of growth of infections in the state may be slowing. Beshear announced 20 new deaths and the state’s rate of positive test results also dropped slightly to 9.5%.

Over the next two weeks, Beshear said, Kentucky will receive more than 100,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines developed by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna.

Beshear said a large percentage of the population will ultimately need to get the vaccine before restrictions are changed.

“Remember, with the vaccine, we know that it can keep you from getting sick or keep you from getting really sick,” he said. “What we don't know is if you can spread it to other people, so we have to assume until we get that data that you can.”

Health care workers and long-term care residents will receive some of the first doses. Although large COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred in jails and prisons, Beshear said people incarcerated will not be among the first groups to be inoculated.

“Now corrections officers, they are in the first couple groups. And if we can get the corrections officers vaccinated, then hopefully we can lessen the spread in those facilities,” he said.

Elsewhere around the Ohio Valley West Virginia reported 932 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday. The University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation COVID-19 projections show the state is close to intensive care unit capacity with 187 coronavirus patients occupying ICU beds.

Ohio reported more than 25,721 cases, an astonishing increase. However, officials said approximately 13,000 of those were backlogged cases from November.

Ohio reported 657 new hospitalizations and 81 new COVID-19 deaths since Monday.

Jeff Young is managing editor of the Ohio Valley ReSource, a journalism collaboration led by Louisville Public Media.

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