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Officials: Kentucky sees additional 426 positive COVID-19 cases, 5 deaths

The state saw an additional 20,309 people who received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
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KENTUCKY, USA — This is a weekly blog with daily updates on COVID-19 case numbers, vaccination efforts and other related content across Kentucky for the week of May 17, 2021.

Saturday, May 22

Today, state officials confirmed another 426 cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth. 

Five new deaths were also reported along with 2 deaths from the state audit. 

Kentucky is reporting a positivity rate of 2.63%. 

In reporting listed on the state's database, there were 357 hospitalized, 102 in intensive care and 50 on a ventilator. 

Since the pandemic began, Kentucky has reported 455,575 positive cases and 6,705 coronavirus-related deaths. 

There were about 20,309 more people vaccinated, bringing the total to 1,957,642.

Wednesday, May 19

Today, Kentucky confirmed 588 new cases of COVID-19. On Tuesday, 645 new cases were reported.

The state's test positivity rate is 2.77%

So far, 1,937,333 Kentuckians have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

On Wednesday, the Kentucky Senate president and House speaker released a statement in response to Governor Beshear's decision to lift the mask mandate and capacity limits on June 11.

“Last week’s updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought the welcome news Kentuckians have eagerly awaited for nearly a year – mask mandates and capacity restrictions can be lifted for fully vaccinated individuals. The people of this state have already been forced to wait as Governor Beshear sued to prevent the General Assembly’s work to eliminate these restrictions from going into effect. While states across the country have immediately begun lifting restrictions, the Governor has now decided to set a seemingly arbitrary date of June 11, to fully reopen the Commonwealth. The selective nature with which he chooses to follow the science and listen to the experts means that Kentucky will be one of the last states in the country to reopen and regain normalcy. The Governor should remove this unnecessary target date and let Kentuckians get back to their lives.”

Last week, the governor changed the mask mandate in accordance with the latest CDC guidelines which say fully vaccinated individuals do not have to wear a mask in most settings. On June 11, Beshear says the mask mandate and capacity restrictions will be completely lifted for all of Kentucky.

RELATED: Beshear: Kentucky to lift mask mandate, capacity restrictions June 11

RELATED: Beshear: Kentucky will change mask mandate in accordance with new CDC guidance

Monday, May 17

Gov. Andy Beshear has confirmed another 285 cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth.

He says 6 more deaths have been confirm which stem from March and April. This brings the total lost to virus-related illnesses to 6,662.

The states positivity rate was reported 2.78%.

Vaccine progress

Even though vaccines have slowed some in Kentucky, Gov. Beshear said more than 1.9 million have received at least their first shot of the vaccine.

 “Overall, 54% of all Kentucky adults and 80% of Kentuckians 65 and older now have at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine,” he said. “And for more good news, Kentuckians as young as 12 have started getting their shots of hope.”

However, Beshear also said those who are in the 10 to 19-year-old have the highest incident rate of cases.

The governor also discussed eased restrictions taking place on May 28. All indoor and outdoor events of any size and businesses of any capacity can increase to 75% capacity.

Later, on June 11, the final capacity restrictions are set to end as well as the mask mandate except for places where people are the most vulnerable.

Unemployment insurance

Other states, including Indiana are ending the federal governments extra $300 unemployment benefit to push people back into the workforce.

When asked if he would be open to ending the benefit in Kentucky, which is set to expire in September, Beshear said it could be a possibility, but it would be premature to end them now.

"Yes, I will consider -- ending it before that September date but that doesn't mean we will. It's really trying to thread the needle, find the goldilocks zone where we get the direct positive impact that those PUA payments have on our economy, especially retail, groceries, restaurants while at the same time getting people at the right level and built up back to work so we can take all those gains and continue them moving forward,” he said.

Beshear said the state should be engaged in other efforts in getting Kentuckians back to work but other states ending the benefits may have some political undertones.

“We're seeing some employers have real success at it, others are working towards it, but there is going to be a group I believe that's coming back in the relative near term that are awaiting that full vaccination,” he said.  “You know it seems like everything now falls into red or blue or the politics of it. The same way we tried to used science to battle this pandemic, we want to be smart of threading the needle the right way on the economy. "

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Since the start of the pandemic, Kentucky has reported 452,537 cases of COVID-19.

On Sunday, the state reported 287 new cases of COVID-19 and eight more deaths.

The state’s test positivity rate is 2.79%.

More than 1.9 million Kentuckians have been vaccinated.

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