Beshear in Capitol
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, fourth from left, walks through the Kentucky state Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., after watching the inauguration of President Biden in the State Reception Room on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. (Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader via AP)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s governor said Wednesday that he looks forward to working with President Joe Biden’s administration to “overcome the challenges” of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Andy Beshear offered his congratulations to the nation’s new president a day after the governor said he had requested a doubling of Kentucky’s COVID-19 vaccine allotment.

Beshear reported more than 3,400 new coronavirus cases and 49 more virus-related deaths in Kentucky. But he pointed to the state’s rate of positive COVID-19 cases as a positive sign. The positivity rate was 11.29% Wednesday — the fifth straight day it’s been below 12%, he said.

“While there is still so much pain and darkness in our commonwealth due to this pandemic, we are beginning to see the light ahead of us,” Beshear said in a news release. “This plateauing positivity rate is great news for Kentucky, especially as we continue to bring more of these live-saving vaccines to our people each week.”

The 3,433 new virus cases reported Wednesday pushed the statewide total past 334,000 since the pandemic began. The state’s virus-related death toll reached at least 3,243.

More than 1,600 virus patients are hospitalized in Kentucky, including 399 in intensive care.

In a social media post congratulating Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on their Inauguration Day, the Democratic governor said: “I look forward to working with your administration to better the lives for our people and to help us overcome the challenges of COVID-19. Together we can make a better country — a better Kentucky — for all.”

Biden has pledged to boost supplies of coronavirus vaccine and set up new vaccination sites. Both Biden and Beshear stress the importance of mask-wearing to combat the virus’s spread.

Warning that demand continues to outpace vaccine supplies in Kentucky, the governor said Tuesday he asked the federal government to double Kentucky’s vaccine allotment.

“We are proving that we can get it into people’s arms,” Beshear said Tuesday. “But right now, and moving into the future, we’re going to be sitting around with entire days where we’ve already run out of vaccine, waiting to get more from the federal government. This is our major challenge moving forward.”

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.

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