FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear announced that Kentucky childcare workers are now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines under Phase 1B.
Beshear said childcare workers can begin signing up for vaccines starting Monday, alongside people age 70 and older, first responders and K-12 school staff. They can sign up anywhere in the commonwealth currently offering vaccinations.
"We are going to specifically ask our local health departments to focus on individuals over 70, vulnerable populations and childcare workers, and that's even if we move into 1C at other places in the future," Beshear said.
Since vaccines arrived in December, nearly 556,000 doses have been administered in Kentucky.
The governor also announced Monday that new COVID-19 cases and test positivity have declined for a fifth consecutive week.
"This is the type of decrease we want to see, and we want to keep it going," Beshear said, adding that some capacity restrictions could be lifted if the trend continues.
Beshear reported 723 new cases of COVID-19, the lowest daily case count since Oct. 12, and nine virus-related deaths. The governor suggested that winter weather, which has closed some labs, could have lead to the lower numbers in Monday's report.
Since March, 389,521 Kentuckians have tested positive for COVID-19 and 4,291 have died of the virus. The state's test positivity rate has fallen to 6.57%, the lowest rate since Nov. 5.
Hospitalizations have been on the decline for several weeks. Currently, 969 Kentuckians are hospitalized for COVID-19, with 270 people in intensive care units and 147 on ventilators. As a result, hospital capacity has remained stable statewide, Beshear said. Kentucky's coronavirus fatality rate has risen to 1.10%.
Using the state's contact tracing database, NKY Health reports 2,443 active coronavirus cases in Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties, and 34,360 people have recovered from the virus as of Monday. Since the pandemic began, 241 Northern Kentuckians have died from the virus.
Watch a replay of the briefing in the player below: