LOUISVILLE, Ky (AP) — Kentucky’s COVID-19 test positivity rate has risen to almost 3.1% after declining steadily for several days, Gov. Andy Beshear reported Friday.
This development comes after the Democratic governor urged Kentuckians to continue to follow public health guidelines that slow the spread of the virus, even as vaccines become more widely available.
“This thing is still dangerous. It’s still killing people, and it still is going to continue to kill people until we stop it,” Beshear said Monday at a virtual press briefing. “If we want to avoid another rise in cases here in Kentucky, and we can do that, we’ve just got to keep it up.”
The test positivity rate is an indicator of the extent of the spread of the virus. If the rate is less than 5% for two weeks and testing is widespread, the virus is considered under control, according to the World Health Organization.
Kentucky reported 690 confirmed coronavirus cases and three virus-related deaths Friday. Some 393 Kentuckians are currently hospitalized with COVID-19.
Starting Monday, residents 16 and older will become eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. The state’s vaccination program is currently in phase 1C, which includes people 40 and older, anyone older than 16 with high-risk medical conditions and anyone deemed an essential worker.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal. The vast majority of people recover.
Hudspeth Blackburn is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.