During his first COVID-19 news conference in more than a week, Governor Andy Beshear reported on Monday afternoon that nearly every significant statistic in the state is showing a steady decline.
“Just about everything is moving in the right direction,” he said, “and at a speed that the decrease in cases and hospitalizations, ventilators, and ICU use is significant. It is a real trend.”
While he urged caution because deaths typically lag the other statistics, Beshear voiced optimism about the trends.
“If we continue to see these numbers come down at the rate that they are, we will be at a much better place within a month or so. What we’d like to see is this continue at this rate,” said Beshear.
The current case positivity rate stands at 7.36%. Beshear called that a “significant drop” over previous weeks but still above the 5% benchmark anxiously watched earlier in the pandemic.
Beshear reported a total of 103 new deaths from Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Hospitalizations are at 1,193 Kentuckians, with 337 in intensive care units and 219 on a ventilator.
When asked whether schools should use this news to remove mask mandates, Beshear replied, “The first thing that would pop these numbers back up is if we came off of universal masking in schools because that is the largest population that is unvaccinated. They are in the smallest space, and it is the least ventilated buildings that they would be in.”
The sustained decrease means fewer outside resources, but Beshear said National Guard soldiers continue to assist hospitals in need. He had no timeline for when outside assistance would end, saying that there are still areas dependent on the extra help to keep hospitals running smoothly.