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Dr. Steven Stack gives COVID-19 update after Gov. Andy Beshear’s son tests positive for COVID-19

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 11
Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 3:59 PM EST
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Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 11

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) - The Commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, Dr. Steven Stack, gave Monday’s COVID-19 update after a brief virtual update on tornado debris removal from Governor Andy Beshear.

Gov. Beshear gave that update from the Governor’s Mansion after his son, Will, tested positive for COVID-19. The governor said his son is fully vaccinated and boosted and is doing fine. The rest of the Beshear family has thus far tested negative.

“My son is generally asymptomatic, we believe because he is vaccinated and boosted,” said Gov. Beshear. “In fact, he is shooting basketball right now, by himself. The vaccines and booster truly protected him.”

The governor said he will be getting tested everyday and will follow CDC guidelines.

Dr. Stack reported that the last week was the highest number of weekly cases the Commonwealth has seen so far, with 81,473 new cases reported.

”These are records we’d be grateful not to set week after week and day after day,” said Dr. Stack.

In the full report for Monday, Dr. Stack announced 3,912 new cases, bringing the total case count to 1,085,051.

That’s after a total of more than 25,000 new cases this past weekend.

The state’s positivity rate now sits at 33.06%.

785 of the new cases were children 18 and younger. 2,326 Kentuckians remain hospitalized. 440 people remain in the ICU, with 257 on a ventilator.

”94 to 95 percent of all the COVID deaths in Kentucky since July 1 are in unvaccinated persons,” said Dr. Stack.

The Governor also announced 22 new deaths on Monday, bringing the state’s overall death toll to 12,763.

“Approximately 25% of new COVID-19 cases reported each day in Kentucky are children. Vaccination provides assurance that children can remain in school and protected against COVID-19,” said Dr. Stack. “For parents who have not yet vaccinated your children, I encourage you to talk with your pediatrician. It’s important that you make an informed decision and have confidence that you are taking important steps to keep your children safe from this disease that has caused so much harm to our families and communities.”

Harlan County leads the state with an incidence rate of 332.3.

All 120 counties across the state are in the red zone on the state’s COVID-19 incidence rate map.

As the Omicron variant peaks across the Commonwealth, Dr. Stack warns of the other ongoing crisis in Kentucky hospitals.

”We’re running out of healthcare workers,” he explained. “So, there’s a lot of beds in hospitals, and there’s a lot of ventilators, and a lot of other equipment but not a lot of people to operate all this stuff.”

Dr. Stack attributes these staffing shortages to stress and trauma.

”[Hospital workers] are seeing death at a frequency and a regularity which is really unprecedented in any of our modern living histories,” he said. “You would have to go to a battlefield circumstance to get something comparable to the rate of death that they face on a regular basis in the hospital.”

If you have any questions about the coronavirus in Kentucky, call the state’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-722-5725.

You can also find more information, including how to protect your family, by visiting Kentucky’s official COVID-19 website: https://govstatus.egov.com/kycovid19.

You can watch the governor and Dr. Stack’s news conference below:

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