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Kentucky tornado death toll now at 76

Gov. Andy Beshear in Dawson Springs on Dec. 11, 2021, the afternoon following the largest tornado system to ever hit the state.
Gov. Andy Beshear in Dawson Springs on Dec. 11, 2021, the afternoon following the largest tornado system to ever hit the state.

Gov. Andy Beshear updated the death toll from last week’s tornadoes to 76, down from 78 earlier reported. 

He said in a news conference Monday that the change comes from three residents that had been considered missing but were accounted for in another county. 

A ninth person has died from injuries sustained at Mayfield Consumer Products, the candle factory that collapsed as a result of the storms. Eight people were pronounced dead soon after the initial damage.

The governor said that while all Kentuckians who were missing have been accounted for and there are no ongoing search and rescues, the fatality count could go up. 

“Seventy-six is devastating, it’s far too many Kentuckians to lose,” he said. “But there are still people that are fighting to hold on that are out there and they ended our prayers, our love, our support and so do their family members.”

He also said all state roads are now passable and phone service is nearly 99% restored. 

Beshear also talked about the new COVID-19 omicron variant.  Officials confirmed it was present in Kentucky Friday evening. 

Both Moderna and Pfizer have released findings that boosters provide more protection against the variant. Beshear said that's more reason for Kentuckians to get the extra antibodies.

“It may be that you still contract COVID, the omicron variant, if you’re vaccinated, but it doesn’t look like you will get very sick, or it is unlikely you will get sick,” he said. “If you are unvaccinated, [it] looks like it can hit you, and hit you pretty hard.”

Beshear reported more than 5,300 new COVID cases from Saturday to Monday, and 93 deaths. 

 

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.

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