Sep 6, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Kentucky governor says state is in "dire" situation from coronavirus surge

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaking in Louisville in April 2021.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaking in Louisville in April 2021. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Kentucky is in a "dire" situation because of a surge in new coronavirus cases driven by the Delta variant, Gov. Andy Beshear said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

Why it matters: The number of new cases and hospitalizations in the state are increasing at the fastest growth rates since the start of the pandemic, and deaths are also beginning to surge since plateauing over the summer.

By the numbers: Kentucky recorded a seven-day average of 4,423 new daily cases on Saturday, according to a database maintained by the New York Times.

  • The state on Saturday had reported an average of 2,385 hospitalizations and 24 deaths from the virus over the last seven days.
  • Around 69% of the state's population that is 18 years or older has been vaccinated against the virus, according to state data.

What they're saying: “If I had the ability to do it right now, we would have a masking order when you are in public and indoors,” the Democratic governor told NBC. “We know that’s a proven way to slow the spread of the virus and ultimately help our health care capacity.”

  • “Our situation is dire,” he added.

What's next: The emergency legislative session Beshear called for on Sunday to respond to surging COVID-19 cases begins Tuesday.

  • He has asked the legislation to extend the state of emergency declaration until Jan. 15, 2022, and to define his authority to enact restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus.
  • The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled last month that a lower court had incorrectly blocked state Republicans from limiting his executive authority to impose emergency health measures during the pandemic.

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