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Kentucky's omicron surge pushes state to more than 1 million COVID-19 cases reported, Gov. Beshear confirms

The virus’ impact can be felt statewide with many school districts and businesses experiencing employee shortages due to quarantines associated with the virus.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear and state health officials are expected to speak at 4:30 p.m. Monday as the omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to impact Kentucky. They will also provide information on vaccines and what you can do to prevent the quick-spreading variant.

Thursday, Jan. 20

Governor Andy Beshear said in his Team Kentucky update briefing that the state is averaging a positivity rate close to 30%.

The number of people who have received at least one vaccine is up to more than 2.8 million Kentuckians.

Beshear reminded residents they can now order four free at-home COVID-19 test kits from the United States Postal Service's website.

The governor also said that a little under one million Kentuckians have received their booster dose of the vaccine.

Beshear said the age groups between 5-24 years old still have vaccination rates below 50%. He also said data shows that those who are unvaccinated, below the age of 60, are the ones who have been dying in hospitals due to the virus.

"Every death has been preventable," he said. "If you get vaccinated, if you get boosted, your chances of getting hospitalized are significantly lower."

RELATED: All 92 Indiana counties reach top COVID-19 spread risk level

Tuesday, Jan. 18

The surge of the omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to impact the state in a big way as more cases are reported throughout the commonwealth.

Kentucky has now hit 1,014,703 cases since the state began reporting numbers in March 2020, Gov. Andy Beshear reported Tuesday.

The virus’ impact can be felt statewide with many school districts and businesses experiencing employee shortages due to quarantines and illnesses associated with the virus.

On Friday alone, 13,492 cases and 35 deaths were reported.

That number is a small fraction of the number of cases reported throughout the week of Jan. 10 through Jan. 16.

According to state data, Kentucky recorded 72,165 new cases for the week, up 37% from the previous week. Beshear said this is the highest week by far. 

“The increase in cases is severe, by far more than any other surge we’ve had,” said Gov. Beshear. “But the good news is, 75% of Kentuckians 18 and up have been vaccinated. I think that’s a pretty big deal. Three quarters of everyone in Kentucky who can make their own health care decisions have decided to get vaccinated. That is an overwhelming majority. Hopefully this encourages even more people to get that shot of hope.”

RELATED: Jefferson County COVID-19 positivity rate reaches new high

Here’s a breakdown of those numbers:

  • Jan. 10 – 12,425 cases, 14 deaths
  • Jan. 11 – 9,450 cases, 9 deaths
  • Jan. 12 – 11,232 cases, 21 deaths
  • Jan. 13 – numbers not available
  • Jan. 14 – 13,492 cases, 35 deaths
  • Jan. 15 – 14,896 cases, 39 deaths (highest day ever)
  • Jan. 16 – 9,730 cases, 23 deaths

State officials are also reporting 6,644 cases and 18 deaths for Monday, Jan. 17. For Tuesday, there were 8,742 cases and 16 deaths. Since there was less testing due to the holiday, Gov. Beshear said he expects these numbers to be higher. 

He says 79.7% of all new cases are those who are unvaccinated. 

The positivity rate continues to climb. It now stands at 30.25%, an all-time high.

Hospitalizations are also up in Kentucky. The state is reporting 2,200 hospitalized, 431 in intensive care and 244 on a ventilator.

Dr. Steven Stack of the Kentucky Department of Public Health is urging people not to go to hospitals to get COVID-19 tests. He said 28% of people who are experiencing mild symptoms are showing up to hospitals and it's overwhelming resources. 

According to the state's hospital capacity chart, Region 3 where Jefferson and 14 other counties are listed, they are reporting about 72% inpatient and 92% of ICU beds are in use. This is followed by 44.1% of ventilators occupied. 

“Hospitals are struggling, and some have declared crisis standards for staffing,” said Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health. “More than 450 Kentucky National Guard women and men are currently supporting the COVID-19 response in health care facilities. Thank you to all of our health care professionals who keep showing up to help others even under these circumstances.”

He says if you are sick with mild symptoms and have not gotten a COVID-19 test, stay home until you feel better. 

Dr. Stack also announced the federal government's website where Kentuckians can order up to four COVID-19 tests per household.

He believes in about 1 to 2 weeks, the state may see a peak in cases. 


Kentucky currently reports that 2,824,262 Kentuckians have received at least one dose of the vaccine. 

Over the weekend, there were 7,204 people who received the vaccine and 16,122 people who received their booster shot. 

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