FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky had 4,911 new cases of COVID-19 reported on Thursday, along with 37 additional deaths, Gov. Andy Beshear said.
The number was the second-highest daily total since the coronavirus pandemic began. The highest number — 5,742 — was reported Wednesday.
The state's total number of deaths from the virus is now 2,843. The positivity rate, which reflects the rate of testing that shows a positive result, climbed to 11.9%, the highest since May 5.
“It is now clear that we are seeing an escalation related to holiday gatherings," Beshear said in a news release.
He repeated advice to wear masks.
“Wear your masks all the time when you are indoors and there is anybody else there who is from outside your household," Beshear said. “At this point, do it for your own safety. That’s what we need to do to get through these next couple months.”
In his State of the Commonwealth speech Thursday evening, the Democratic governor recounted the state's sacrifices and losses since the pandemic hit.
“Over the past 10 months, we have been at war," he said. “This evil virus has taken more than 2,700 of our fellow Kentuckians. That toll is heartbreaking; it is greater than the number of Kentuckians lost in Vietnam, Korea or even World War I.
“And these aren’t numbers," he added. “These are our grandparents and parents, our brothers and sisters, our friends and co-workers, and in some cases, even our children. We have lost doctors, teachers, bus drivers, a police chief, pastors and a 15-year-old student."
The governor, who delivered his speech virtually because of the pandemic, asked everyone listening to observe a moment of silence to remember the Kentuckians lost to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, more than 35,000 people have been vaccinated in Kentucky in the last two days, he said earlier Thursday.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal. The vast majority of people recover.