‘A warning that a fourth wave is possible here.’ 834 new Kentucky coronavirus cases.


The number of new COVID-19 cases this week is set to outpace last week’s total, Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday, as he announced 834 new cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky on Thursday along with 17 deaths.

Likewise, the statewide positivity rate continues to rise, topping out at 3.45 percent.

“It is at least a warning that a fourth wave is possible here,” Beshear said in a live update. “We can prevent it. We have to vaccinate as quickly as possible.”

Kentucky has vaccinated 1,622,924 people to date — 46 percent of the population over age 16 and roughly 877,000 shy of the 2.5 million goal Beshear has set for the state. Once that goal is met, he has vowed to lift coronavirus capacity, physical distancing and curfew restrictions at most businesses and venues that serve up to a thousand people.

That goal could be met by the end of April. Though Kentucky hit pause on its rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, there are still 499,375 Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech doses available right now at the state’s more than 500 vaccination sites.

“This is a goal we can reach,” Beshear said. “We could get more than halfway of the distance left . . . this week if everybody would go out and sign up,” he said.

Convincing more of the population to get vaccinated is becoming increasingly difficult. In an attempt to make those doses even more accessible, the state plans to take doses from some of the larger regional sites — many of which have hundreds, if not thousands of unclaimed vaccine appointments — and stock more community pharmacies. There’s also an effort underway to deploy a “fleet of mobile units,” Beshear said, though he did not immediately offer specifics.

There are 416 people in the hospital with coronavirus (four fewer than Wednesday). Of those patients, 102 are in intensive care (13 fewer) and 49 are on a ventilator (two fewer).

This story will be updated.

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