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Kentucky governor urges continued vigilance in COVID-19 fight: 'Let's not punt on third down'
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) on Thursday urged his constituents to remain vigilant in the fight against COVID-19, saying "let's not punt on the third down."
Beshear, during a news conference, said that while hospitalizations, intensive care capacities and ventilator use are all down, Kentuckians must not become complacent in the fight against COVID-19.
"These are all good things, you know, the graph only tells you so much, but it does help show the speed that things are getting better. At the same time, it gives us comparisons on where we were," Beshear said.
"We should be grateful that we now have fewer people on a ventilator than at the height of our winter surge, not by a whole lot, right, we hope it continues to go down, but let's not punt on third down, right, let's make sure we continue to do what it takes to get this down to those levels where we were all feeling great," he added.
He said he wants Kentucky to be in a similar place as it was following the winter surge, which on some days saw close to 4,000 new COVID-19 cases per day.
"Remember coming out of that winter surge, and where we were for a period of time? We want to be again because not only was it a good place to be, it was also a safe place to be," Beshear said.
"So let's not cheer and celebrate while we're still where we aren't, let's do what it takes to continue to push this decline," he added.
The number of new COVID-19 cases reported per day is on the decline in Kentucky after seeing a surge in September.
Beshear later on Thursday reported 53 new coronavirus-related deaths in Kentucky, according to The Associated Press. At his news conference on Thursday, Beshear said one of those deaths was an infant.
The governor said he believes the infant had "multiple issues" and "complications," but that one of them was COVID-19.
"That infant we believe had multiple issues, that complications that the child was facing, that will be on today's report because one of those major challenges was COVID-19, something we never want to see," Beshear said.
He took the opportunity to push vaccinations in the state.
"And again, a reminder that it can impact anyone, and whether or not it is the only cause of us losing someone, if it's one put it puts it over the edge or even just contributes to that loss, there's something that we can do about that, and that's everybody getting vaccinated, doing what it takes, masking when it's appropriate, to protect one another," he said.
More than 2.7 million Kentuckians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the state's vaccine tracker, which is equivalent to 62 percent of the total population.