Kentucky governor says COVID-19 situation is 'dire'

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said on Sunday that COVID-19 situation in the state is “dire,” with a record number of hospitalizations amid soaring cases.

“We are setting case records. We have a record number of Kentuckians in the hospital battling COVID in the ICU, battling for their lives. We have a record number of families that are praying for their loved one who is on a ventilator, needing that assistance to breathe,” Beshear said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Beshear was dealt a blow last month when the Kentucky Supreme Court allowed several pieces of legislation limiting his COVID-19 emergency powers to go into effect. Beshear said the court and legislature limited his ability to impose some COVID-19 restrictions such as masking.

The state is seeing a surge of COVID-19 cases, reporting more than 5,000 cases on Friday. Cases were as low as in the double digits in June, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, only 49 percent of the state's population is fully vaccinated, making efforts to manage the spread of COVID-19 amid a highly contagious delta variant even more difficult.