As of Monday, Oct. 25, McLean County has four new confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the daily report generated by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. There have been 1,473 cases in the county, with 39 deaths, since the start of the pandemic.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health reported Monday that the county’s incident rate is 31.0, a decline of 34.2 since last week, but still keeping the county in the red zone.

Statewide, there have been 736,724 positive COVID-19 cases, according to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. There have been 9,640 deaths, and the state’s incidence rate is 24.39 per 100,000 population.

Fifty-four counties, or 45%, in the state remain in the red zone, meaning high daily cases of the virus, while 59 counties, or 49.16%, are in the orange, or substantial, zone, and seven counties are in the yellow, or moderate zone.

Gov. Andy Beshear had some positive news when he started his weekly COVID briefing on Monday.

“...Things continue to move in the right direction and moving there quickly,” Beshear said. “Last week ... was our lowest number of cases in 11 weeks and we’re down from 30,000 cases to about 9,700. But remember, that’s up from about 1,200 cases in the summer when we got to our best place in a while in battling COVID.”

Beshear said that hospitalizations are under 1,000, with “hopes that’ll continue to decrease” and the state’s positivity rate is under 6%.

Beshear said 1,275 cases were reported on Oct. 23, with 30 new deaths, four being in Hardin County. On Oct. 24, 803 positive cases were reported with 28 new deaths. Both days included deaths from “a number of younger Kentuckians” under the age of 50.

“Remember, the delta variant is not just sickening younger people, it is killing them,” Beshear said. “So you need to get your vaccine.”

Beshear said that 281 residents are currently in the intensive care unit (ICU) and 157 are on a ventilator.

“...Those are all continuing positive trends, which means they are decreasing in this instance,” Beshear said. “We are almost decreasing in cases at the speed that we increased. That is a very good sign. Obviously, we went through exponential growth in cases, and that’s led to significant loss of life that we’re still seeing on our reports. But the decrease is a very good sign.”

Beshear said that the state’s positivity rate is showing a “positively negative trend.”

“It is very positive for us that the positivity rate is falling and it is falling pretty quickly,” Beshear said. “Admittedly, it’s falling more quickly than we anticipated.”

However, Beshear said Kentuckians over 65 years old “need” to get a booster shot if they have significant underlying conditions or are exposed to many people through their work. Both Moderna and Pfizer boosters are ready and available, while citizens who received the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine should talk to their doctor about whether they should get a different vaccine for their booster or continue with J&J.

“I would act with some urgency in all this,” Beshear said. “I would act with more urgency with J&J and Pfizer, because we believe there are more breakthroughs there. But, if you got Moderna and you fall in any of those categories, go get your booster. We believe that will change those death numbers (and) breakthroughs to the better, with much better protection.”

Beshear also announ-ced the possibility of a vaccine that would be available for children between5 to 11 years old as per a recent article in The New York Times. Beshear called the news “one of the most exciting to me, a dad of an 11 year old.”

“I’ve been waiting on the news for the vaccine to be approved since COVID hit or since we knew there would be vaccines,” Beshear said. “Like so many other families, I am so eager for my daughter to be able to get her vaccine because I know they’re safe (and) I know they’re effective.”

Beshear is confident that vaccines will continue to lead the state in the right direction.

“They are safe for you, they are safe for your children, and they can lead us to that better world,” Beshear said. “ I hope just not back to normal. I hope we’re a little better after what we’ve experienced ....”

Freddie Bourne, fbourne@mcleannews.com

Freddie Bourne, fbourne@mcleannews.com

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