COVID variant confirmed in northern Ky.

On Jan. 27, Governor Andy Beshear updated the state of Kentucky on COVID-19 and the vaccination process. Beshear began by thanking each individual who is working, volunteering and participating in the vaccination sites.

“This is still a dangerous time in America,” said Gov. Beshear. “Virus levels are still at some of the highest that they have been since the beginning of the pandemic.”

Beshear announced 2,424 new cases, the lowest Wednesday in a month. The positivity rate dropped to under 10 percent, at 9.35, and 82,511 Kentuckians were vaccinated as of last week.

The day’s newly reported deaths – 47 – were one of the highest of the pandemic, as the state is still experiencing the fallout of a post-holiday surge.

Wednesday’s presser featured a discussion on B117, the variant of COVID-19 first found in the United Kingdom.

The governor announced yesterday that two cases of B117 had been identified in Kentucky, both in Kenton County.

B117 is more contagious than other strains but has not yet been conclusively shown to be more lethal.

“It means if you get exposed to it, you may be more likely to get infected by it, and so that means that it can infect more people, more quickly,” said public health commissioner Dr. Steven Stack. “It’s not more dangerous for the person who gets it than the previous version of the virus, but since more people can get it more quickly and more easily, that means you could have more people get sick, more people who die.”

Beshear noted it is more important than ever to wear masks and properly social distance. With the new strain, there is a minimal decrease in the protection that the vaccines give you in comparison to the previous strains.

Kentucky’s vaccine supply will increase by 16 or 17 percent in the coming weeks, per the federal government. That amounts to more than 8,000 additional doses a week, which will bring the state’s total estimated weekly allocation to This 64,000 to 65,000. Beshear said they will also know how many doses they are getting for the next week earlier than has been the case, giving distributors and providers more time to work out logistics.

The expansion of vaccine supply follows an announcement from the federal government that they have contracted Moderna and Pfizer for another 200 million doses by summer.