FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said he does not anticipate extending current pandemic restrictions in effect for restaurants and bars, venues and gyms.
Beshear said those restrictions are still set to expire on Dec. 13 at 11:59 p.m., and those establishments would be able to return to 50% capacity after the restrictions expire.
"When coming back, we need everybody being militant about the mask mandate. It's a place where people come together and take off their masks -- it's exactly where COVID wants to spread," Beshear said. "What it means is that every moment you're not eating or drinking, you need to have that mask on, and if you don't enforce it, then the areas become unsafe again."
Additionally, the governor said restrictions on in-person learning will likely not be extended. Middle schools and high schools will remain in remote learning until Jan. 4, but elementary schools were able to reopen Monday if their county is no longer in the red zone.
Beshear said the rate of coronavirus case growth last week was slower than the week prior, but Kentucky is still seeing exponential growth. While he said it's possible Kentucky could see cases jump soon due to spread from Thanksgiving gatherings, he believes that the decrease in weekly case growth shows that the restrictions are working.
“We have only plateaued this virus in other times. Now, we haven’t been anywhere near as high as where we are right now, and it’s an aggressively spreading virus," he said.
While other states, including Ohio and Indiana, have chosen to extend similar restrictions, Beshear said "major behavioral changes" are needed, as well.
"It's a little heartbreaking given the pain that's out there -- economic pain and certainly the pain and health and loss of life -- that if we could all just wear a mask and keep our distance, wash our hands, then we wouldn't even have to have some of these capacity restriction limitations," Beshear said.
First vaccines coming to Ky. next week
Last week, Beshear announced that Kentucky expects to distribute an initial shipment of coronavirus vaccines to residents and staff in long-term care facilities as well as frontline healthcare workers.
The federal government is expected to deliver 38,025 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Kentucky the week of Dec. 13; Moderna is expected to ship an additional 76,700 doses of their COVID-19 vaccines during the week of Dec. 20; another shipment of 33,800 Moderna doses is expected the week of Dec. 27.
Each company's vaccine requires a second "booster" dose, and those second doses will be delivered about three weeks after the initial shipments.
Beshear said Kentucky expects to receive five total shipments of coronavirus vaccines this month.
“The end of this virus is out there," he said. "We can see it, and we can feel it. But it’s still months away, and until then, we’ve got to do the right things to protect one another, knowing that when we work hard, we save the lives of those around us and ensure we have the health care capacity we need."
Last week, the governor announced that St. Elizabeth Healthcare Edgewood will be among the first 11 hospitals to receive 975 doses of an initial COVID-19 vaccine shipment for their workers.
More Ky. COVID-19 numbers
Kentucky reported 1,972 new cases Monday, adding to the state's total 202,592 COVID-19 cases seen since the pandemic began. Beshear also reported 10 new virus-related deaths. So far, 2,082 Kentuckians have died of coronavirus.
Kentucky's seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate again fell to 9.60% on Monday. As cases grow, Kentucky's current fatality rate, the proportion of people who die out of people who test positive for the virus, is down to 1.03% from 1.37% on Nov. 1.
Hospitalizations remained high, with 1,700 Kentuckians currently hospitalized for COVID-19, 410 people in intensive care units and 210 on ventilators on Monday. Beshear said that the state is concerned that as the number of coronavirus patients grows, there will be fewer doctors, nurses and medical staff to treat those patients.
Kentucky has administered nearly 3 million COVID-19 tests since the pandemic began, and more than 30,239 people have reportedly recovered from coronavirus.
All but six Kentucky counties have moved into the "red" on the state's COVID-19 incidence rate map, which indicates "critical" spread in those areas of 25 or more cases per 100,000 people.
Using the state's contact tracing database, NKY Health reports 3,348 active coronavirus cases in Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties, with 13,131 people who have recovered from the virus on Monday. Since the pandemic began, 125 Northern Kentuckians have died from the virus.
Where to get tested for free in NKY
In Northern Kentucky, St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Covington's Gravity Diagnostics offer free, appointment-only drive-thru testing at 25 Atlantic Ave in Erlanger, the former Toyota HQ building off Mineola Pike.
The site is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. You will be able to collect your own sample without leaving your vehicle and receive results within three to five days.
Additionally, appointment-only drive-up testing is available through St. E at 7200 Alexandria Pike, Alexandria. The free testing site is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Watch a replay of the briefing in the player below: