FRANKFORT, KY — Kentucky reported 4,030 new COVID-19 cases and 24 new deaths Tuesday. Meanwhile, Gov. Andy Beshear is pleading with Kentuckians to get vaccinated and warning them that changes in federal distribution of monoclonal antibody treatments will affect Kentucky providers.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 2,514 Kentuckians are hospitalized with the potentially deadly illness, including 666 in intensive care units and 428 on ventilators because they can't breathe on their own. Looking at hospital capacity, the Kentucky Department for Public Health reports an inpatient bed occupancy rate of 70%. ICU beds are at 89.7% occupancy.
In a video message shared via social media Tuesday, Gov. Andy Beshear said he's concerned that people who are hesitant about getting vaccinated against COVID-19 will place too much faith in monoclonal antibody treatments.
On Monday, Beshear and Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said those treatments for COVID-19 patients have expanded dramatically in the past eight weeks, with 139 locations providing them.
However, Beshear on Tuesday said that the federal government is warning states to expect shortages of the synthetic antibody treatment.
"These are treatments that have been better than other treatments that we have seen in the past, but we have a lot of people that are so sick that not even they help them. And now, we've learned from the federal government that there are going to be shortages moving forward," Beshear said. "That before any one of our areas could order from the federal government, now the federal government is going to have only a specific amount for Kentucky that we're going to do our best to get around to as many places as possible."
Providers will not longer be able to order the treatments directly, and Beshear said unvaccinated individuals should not assume that those treatments will be there to save them if they contract COVID-19.
"What this ought to tell you is: If you're unvaccinated and you get really sick, not only might there not be a bed in the hospital because they are so full, not only could you take up a bed and prevent someone who's in a car accident from being able to get in the ER, but that monoclonal antibody treatment might not be there for you. That thing you're counting on might not be available," Beshear said. "What is available — and there are no supply issues at all — are these vaccines. So listen, even if you've disagreed with me, even if you've stood outside my house or this capitol and yelled about me, I care about you. I care about you and your families, and I want you to be safe. These vaccines are safe. Please go out and get yours."
So far, 59% of Kentuckians have gotten their first dose of COVID-19. That's 69% of eligible Kentuckians age 12 and up.
The state's positivity rate for COVID-19 test results now stands at 13.45%, and 119 of the state's 120 counties are in the COVID-19 red zone.
To date, Kentucky has had 634,298 known COVID-19 cases, including 8,095 deaths.
Click here to view Kentucky's COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard.
Click here for more information about the available COVID-19 vaccines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.