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'We’re only pushing so hard because we care about you' | Beshear issues message to unvaccinated

Unvaccinated Kentuckians were 4.5x more likely to have a positive case of COVID-19 than those who are vaccinated, the governor said.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear sent a message to unvaccinated Kentuckians Thursday. 

"We’re only pushing so hard because we care about you," the governor said. "Your families care about you, I care about you, all we want is for you to be safe. It’s not about control or anything else. All we want is for you to be safe.”

The plea to the unvaccinated came during a Team Kentucky update as Beshear detailed the current surge of COVID-19 in the commonwealth. Kentucky reported close to 5,400 new cases Wednesday. 

Beshear said hospitals are still experiencing critical staffing shortages. Earlier this month, the governor reported that 62 of 96 hospitals were facing a critical staffing shortage. That number increased to 66 of 96 Thursday. 

“We’re looking at any and every opportunity to help our hospitals, we are running into a people shortage that’s what we’re faced with," Beshear said. "The situation continues to be dire."

In addition to the staffing shortage, the state currently has 93 open ICU beds, which is the third time open beds dipped below 100. 

More than 2.6 million Kentuckians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This includes 59% of all Kentuckians and 71% of Kentuckians 18 and older. In Jefferson County, two-thirds of all residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine. 

Unvaccinated residents were 4.5x more likely to have a positive case of COVID-19 than those who are vaccinated, the governor said.

"If you’re unvaccinated it’s going to find you, it’s going to make you really sick," Beshear said. 

Watch Gov. Beshear's full Team Kentucky update below: 

RELATED: In their words: Louisville health care workers share struggles with unvaccinated

RELATED: Kentucky counties among highest in COVID-19 case rates across U.S.

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