Whitley County is once again in the red on Kentucky’s COVID–19 scale.
According to the information released by the Kentucky Department of Public Health, the county’s incidence rate stood at 26.4 on Monday, making it one of eight counties in Kentucky to be in the zone.
Clay County is also in the red with an incidence rate of 38.
Laurel and Pulaski County are among a cluster of six orange counties in southern Kentucky.
Laurel County’s incidence rate is 21.8, while Pulaski County is at 20.2.
Gov. Andy Beshear returned to the podium Monday afternoon to ask more Kentuckians to get vaccinated.
Beshear said as of Monday, more than 2.25 million Kentuckians have been fully vaccinated.
Among the different age groups, Beshear said those 65 and older are the most vaccinated with more than 83 percent having taken the vaccine.
Seventy percent of Kentuckians age 50 and older have been vaccinated.
Overall, 61 percent of adults in Kentucky have been vaccinated.
“This is better than many of our neighbors,” Beshear said. “We want to fight for that to go higher.”
Beshear said while over half of Kentuckians ages 40 to 49 have been vaccinated, the number of individuals vaccinated continues to decrease as the demographics get younger.
Among Kentuckians age 30 to 39, 46 percent are vaccinated.
Among Kentuckians ages 18 to 29, 36 percent are vaccinated.
Beshear said of Kentucky’s 120 counties, 10 counties have a vaccination rate higher than 40 percent. Perry and Floyd County are the only counties in southeastern Kentucky to exceed that rate.
“We need to do a lot better,” Beshear said. “We need them to make the adult decision to get vaccinated.”
Beshear said while it is possible with the new Delta variant of COVID–19 for a vaccinated individual to still contract COVID–19, being vaccinated significantly decreases the possibility of hospitalization and/or death.
“It is not the same magnitude,” Beshear said about contracting COVID–19 after getting the vaccine.
In addition, Beshear said that having more people vaccinated decreases the chances of clusters of cases.
Between May 31 and July 16, Beshear noted that there have been 34 instances of cluster of cases affecting 335 people.
“The vaccine breaks the chain of transmission,” said Dr. Steven Stack, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health.
While not issuing any mandates on Monday, Beshear made a number of what he described as strong recommendations that include:
- All unvaccinated individuals wear a mask indoors when not at home.
- Individuals with pre-existing conditions wear a mask, even if the individual is vaccinated.
- Vaccinated individuals in a job with significant public exposure consider wearing a mask.
- All eligible Kentuckians get vaccinated immediately.
“This is all it would take to protect America!” Beshear said.
Beshear and Stack both emphasized that getting vaccinated is the choice of the individual.
However, Stack pointed to the New England states, noting that area has the highest vaccination rates in the country, and is seeing the lowest number of new COVID–19 cases compared to the rest of the nation.
More information is available online at www.kycovid19.ky.gov.