FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear said Kentucky could meet its 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccination goal to lift restrictions on venues and businesses soon if enough Kentuckians sign up now for a vaccine.
"We could get more than halfway of the distance left to get to our 2.5 million vaccinated challenge and lift restrictions this week if everybody would go out and sign up," the governor said. "The doses are there."
So far, Kentucky has vaccinated more than 1.6 million individuals against COVID-19, and all Kentuckians ages 16 and up are now eligible to receive a shot. Kentucky now has about 877,000 vaccinations to go, and Beshear initially said it could take roughly four to six weeks to reach the goal.
If Kentucky meets that goal, capacity limits for venues and events up to 1,000 attendants would be lifted, and the curfew for restaurants and businesses would end. Masking and social distancing requirements would still be in effect.
Since March 1, businesses have been limited to 60% indoor capacity, and they are still required to enforce the state's mask mandate and social distancing measures. Bars and restaurants must also observe last call at midnight and close by 1 a.m.
This week, Kentucky paused usage of Johnson & Johnson's single-shot COVID-19 per CDC guidance after a handful of people began experiencing blood clots believed to have been caused by that vaccine.
Kentucky received 210,000 Johnson & Johnson doses, 60,000 of which were received just last week. Beshear did not specify how man doses had been administered, but no side effects from the vaccine have been reported in Kentucky.
Beshear said Kentuckians with an appointment to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than four to five days out should hold the appointment in case the vaccine is allowed to be administered again. Anyone with an appointment in the next few days should reach out to their provider.
Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are still available to Kentucky residents.
Ky. COVID-19 trends
Kentucky continues to monitor coronavirus "variants of concern," which health officials believe are able to spread faster. Kentucky has identified 111 cases of the B117 variant statewide, including 20 cases in Kenton County, 10 in Boone County and eight in Campbell County as of last week.
Kentucky has seen a plateau in new COVID-19 cases, with cases declining slightly last week. The state's test positivity rate continues to rise and is now 3.45%, the highest rate seen in at least one month.
Beshear reported 834 new cases of COVID-19, 116 of which are in people 18 years old or younger, as well as 17 deaths.
Since March 2020, 435,743 Kentuckians have tested positive for COVID-19 and 6,302 have died of the virus. Currently, 416 Kentuckians are hospitalized for COVID-19, with 106 people in intensive care units and 49 on ventilators.
NKY Health reports 522 active coronavirus cases in Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties, and 40,475 people have recovered from the virus Wednesday. Since the pandemic began, 432 Northern Kentuckians have died from the virus. Track the spread on Kentucky's COVID-19 incidence rate map.
Watch a replay of Thursday's briefing below: