FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky last week reported its lowest number of new COVID-19 cases in 11 weeks as many key benchmarks continued dropping in the fight against the virus, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday.
The Democratic governor made a concerted pitch for eligible Kentuckians to get a COVID-19 booster shot to combat the risk of breakthrough cases among people who previously got the vaccine.
“Things continue to move in the right direction," Beshear said in pointing to several key statistics.
Kentucky’s count of new coronavirus cases dropped to 9,749 last week, down significantly from the recent surge driven in part by the spread of the delta variant, according to state statistics. But the caseload remains much higher than during the summer, the governor said.
“The decrease is real,” Beshear said at a news conference. "It is continuing."
Meanwhile, the state's virus-related hospitalizations dropped below 1,000 and the rate of Kentucky residents testing positive for the virus dropped below 6%, Beshear said. The state reported that 919 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized, with 281 of them in intensive care units and 157 on ventilators.
The state’s test positivity rate dipped to 5.84%.
On the downside, the state reported 81 more virus-related deaths in the past three days, raising Kentucky's death toll to at least 9,640 since the pandemic began.
Meanwhile, the governor made a pitch for eligible Kentuckians to get the booster shots.
“If you are over 65, you need to have a booster,” Beshear said.
Also eligible for the booster shots are people with serious underlying health conditions and those exposed to “a whole lot of people through your work,” the governor said. It also applies to people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, he said.
“Doesn't matter how old if you got it, doesn't matter what your job is — if you got J&J go get your booster,” Beshear said.
Kentuckians who got the the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine should talk to their doctor about whether they should get a different vaccine for their booster or another J&J dose, he said. For recipients of the J&J vaccine, a booster is recommended for everyone at least two months after their vaccination.
Beshear predicted that booster shots eventually will become widespread.
“I absolutely believe that at some point, all Americans will be authorized to get a booster,” the governor said. “I think that we are going there.”
Since March 1, coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Kentucky have overwhelmingly been among people who were unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated.
Follow more of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.