Beshear says state must continue guarding against virus until vaccine is ready

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday expressed optimism that a vaccine candidate by Pfizer with a reported 90 percent success rate could soon be available.

But in the meantime, he says it is important for Kentuckians to continue to wear masks and practice social distancing, as the virus continues to surge.

“If you’re not wearing a mask, you’re putting yourself at a real risk for contracting COVID,” Gov. Beshear said. “This is happening everywhere, which means we can’t bring in health care workers from other places. If everywhere is surging, we’re going to end up on our own. That means if we get overrun and we don’t have enough staff in hospitals, it’s our friends, our neighbors, maybe even our family members who won’t get the treatment they need.”

The latest numbers show more than 1,700 new cases reported on Monday, including 40 in Pike County, 18 in Perry and 13 in Knott. The total is now more than 122,000 Kentuckians.

Eleven more people have died, raising the death toll to 1,576.

More than 1,100 people are in the hospital, including 300 in intensive care and 142 on ventilators.

The state’s positivity rate is now 7.49 percent.