FRANKFORT – As COVID-19 cases increase at the fastest growth rate of the pandemic, straining Kentucky hospitals, Gov. Andy Beshear has called lawmakers to Frankfort to extend the pandemic state of emergency, which provides administration and public health officials with the tools and measures needed to slow the spread of the virus and save lives.
A state of emergency clearly continues in the commonwealth, and following a recent Kentucky Supreme Court ruling, the Governor worked with the General Assembly to assess a call for a special session, which began in Frankfort at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021.
“This is one of the most dangerous times we’ve experienced this entire pandemic, with the delta variant burning through Kentucky and taking more of our loved ones and neighbors. It’s also overwhelming more and more of our hospitals and shutting down our schools,” the Governor said. “We need as many tools as possible to fight this deadly surge in order to save lives, keep our children in school and keep our economy churning.”
The Governor is asking lawmakers to consider legislation to address several topics including: extending the state of emergency until Jan. 15, 2022; setting forth the criteria regarding the Governor’s authority to require facial coverings in indoor settings in certain circumstances; providing additional flexibility for school districts; and making an appropriation from the American Rescue Plan Act to support mitigation and prevention activities, such as testing and vaccine distribution.
More than 7,840 Kentuckians have died from COVID-19 during the last 18 months, with case numbers spiking now because of the delta variant. We also have record numbers of Kentuckians in the hospital (2,365), in intensive care (661) and on ventilators (425). On Friday, 1,547 of the 5,111 new cases were Kentuckians 18 and younger. The positivity rate Friday was 13.17%. Just two months ago, on July 1, 2021, Kentucky reported only 215 new cases of COVID-19 – 47 of which of were for those age 18 and under – and three deaths, 201 hospitalizations, 55 patients in the ICU, 25 patients on ventilators and a positivity rate of 1.99%.
Kentucky is fast approaching nearly 600,000 COVID-19 cases during the almost 18 months of the pandemic.