Beshear holds Team Kentucky Update as omicron emerges in US
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Governor Andy Beshear held another Team Kentucky Update on Thursday.
Economic development, infrastructure improvements and the omicron COVID-19 variant were among the topics Gov. Beshear addressed during the briefing:
Wednesday, the CDC confirmed the first U.S. case of the omicron variant in California. The second was confirmed in Minnesota Thursday morning.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack says, so far, there are no reported cases of omicron in Kentucky, but he said it’s likely to come.
“The concern here is, that, with so many different mutations, is will this impair somehow the protective value of either vaccinated immunity or natural immunity, and we don’t know yet,” Dr. Stack said.
Health experts say the variant has an unusual combination of mutations that may enable it to spread faster. Scientists are trying to determine if current vaccines are effective against it.
In the meantime, Beshear is telling Kentuckians to remain calm. He said we are better equipped to tackle the pandemic than ever before.
“We are in an escalation again at the moment. We don’t know how long it will last. We don’t know if it’s behavior-driven. It could be driven by the holidays or the winter,” Beshear said.
Gov. Beshear says 60% of all Kentuckians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Beshear says it’s important to get vaccinated since other forms of treatment, like the COVID-19 pill, are still a long way from being available.
Gov. Beshear said the delta variant accounts for roughly all covid cases in Kentucky. He said numbers are going up, hospitalizations are on the rise, and the positivity rate is more than 8 percent.
Dr. Stack said achieving community immunity is still possible, but will largely depend on how quickly people across the entire world get vaccinated.
Gov. Beshear mentioned the federal government is working to make at-home COVID testing kits available. He says when that happens, Kentucky will provide information on how to properly use them.
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