Governor updates Kentuckians on FEMA EMS strike teams, COVID-19 funeral assistance
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 25, 2021) – Today, Gov. Beshear updated Kentuckians on the state’s COVID-19 vaccination rate, as well as Kentucky’s declining test positivity rate and number of new cases.
“We are almost decreasing in cases at the speed that we increased,” said Gov. Beshear. “That is a very good sign. Our weekly case numbers are the lowest they have been in 11 weeks. Our efforts to get more and more Kentuckians vaccinated have made a huge difference.”
The Governor highlighted a report that COVID-19 vaccinations could begin by early next month for children ages 5 to 11.
Gov. Beshear recognized and thanked St. Stephen Church in Louisville, which hosted a vaccine clinic for its congregation and community.
“You need good health. If we are really concerned about our people, then we are going to do what we can to help our people stay safe and healthy,” said the Rev. Dr. Kevin Cosby, senior pastor at St. Stephen Church in Louisville. “This vaccination is so important.”
He added: “We should use the cerebral gifts that God has endowed us with to find out what are the best health practices to keep us safe during this pandemic. According to the science, which I have confidence in, vaccinations are the best things we can do.”
Gov. Beshear also shared more information from Kentucky health care leaders about COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.
“Over time, your immune response to the vaccine that you got slowly decreases. You are seeing a decrease in protection from getting COVID-19, but very little decrease in your protection from hospitalization. You are still very protected from severe COVID-19 and hospitalization,” said Dr. Rebecca Dutch, virologist at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. “To decrease your chances of getting COVID, they are recommending that certain groups of people go ahead and get a booster. What that will do is basically give your immune system another chance to up its response level. It’s a protective mechanism.”
The Governor said if Kentuckians are over 65, have significant underlying conditions or are exposed to many people through their work, they should get a vaccination booster. The Moderna and Pfizer boosters are ready and available. Kentuckians who got the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine should talk to their doctor about whether they should get a different vaccine for their booster or get another J&J dose.
COVID-19 Case Information, Vaccinations Update
Number of people who have received at least one vaccine dose in Kentucky: 2,778,996
As the Governor mentioned last week, he expects to receive updated vaccination numbers from the federal government after one major vaccine provider entered data in two different ways, resulting in duplications.
Oct. 23, Cases: 1,275
Oct. 23, Deaths: 30
Oct. 24, Cases: 803
Oct. 24, Deaths: 28
New Cases Today: 544
New Deaths: 23
Today’s Positivity Rate: 5.84%
Current Hospitalizations: 919
Current Intensive Care Admittances: 281
Currently on Ventilators: 157
During the week ending Oct. 24, 9,749 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Kentucky.
From March 1 to Oct. 20, 84.5% of COVID-19 cases, 91.6% of COVID-19 hospitalizations and 82.2% of COVID-19 deaths in Kentucky have been among those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
COVID-19 Funeral Assistance
Gov. Beshear said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is providing financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020. FEMA’s COVID-19 funeral assistance helpline is 1-844-684-6333 (TTY: 800-462-7585), available 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EDT Monday through Friday. For fastest service following their application, Kentuckians can begin submitting documentation online through DisasterAssistance.gov.
FEMA Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Strike Teams Update
Gov. Beshear said after eight weeks onsite in Bowling Green, Corbin, Lexington, Louisville and Somerset, five FEMA EMS strike teams – including a total of 25 ambulances and 50 staff members – received 2,191 transport requests, completed 1,957 patient transports and drove 70,915 miles with patients onboard. FEMA strike team staff members serving in Kentucky represented 14 states. The teams were demobilized Oct. 24, and today, Gov. Beshear thanked them for their selfless efforts.
“We thank FEMA and those who worked on these teams because yesterday was their last day of service,” said Gov. Beshear. “They are now headed to other places that need them more at the moment. We appreciate them.”
Kentucky Labor Market Update
The Governor said for August 2021 Kentucky had the fifth-highest hiring rate in the country.
“That means people are finding jobs, but I know we need them to find them faster,” Gov. Beshear said. “Five-point-five percent is exciting.”