FRANKFORT — While saying there are no known cases of the COVID-19 omicron variant in Kentucky yet, Gov. Andy Beshear warned Monday afternoon that the delta variant is still ravaging the state, and we are not heading in the right direction.

“Every single indication of how much COVID we have in the commonwealth is going up,” he said during a Capitol press briefing. “Cases, ICU patients, people on a ventilator, demand for monoclonal antibodies. Everything across the board is going up. We are certainly in another escalation.”

Beshear said there were 2,350 new cases reported to state public health officials on Saturday, 1,194 on Sunday and another 1,347 on Monday. There have now been 799,695 total cases, since the first one was reported in March 2020.

There were also 198 new deaths during that three-day period: 67 on Saturday, 68 Sunday and 63 on Monday.

Many of them were victims in their 20s, 30s and 40s, unlike during the early part of the pandemic when it was mostly older Kentuckians losing their lives. A total of 11,289 have now lost their lives due to COVID in the state.

The governor noted Kentucky’s positivity rate on Monday had risen to 9.13%. On October 31, it stood at 4.98%, so it has been steadily increasing, during that five-week period.

Despite all the news on the new omicron variant, Beshear said there are still three questions that need to be answered before it can be determined how concerned we should be. “Is it more or less contagious than delta, which is very, very contagious? How sick does it make you? How well do the vaccines work against it?”

Since cases are on the rise, Beshear offered some tips to stay safe during the holiday season.

--Get vaccinated. If you are already fully vaccinated, get your booster shot.

--Do not attend gatherings if you feel ill.

--Wear masks indoors, if not vaccinated and/or had a booster.

--Keep gatherings small.

The governor also outlined new guidelines for international air travel, affecting all travelers age two and older who are returning to the U.S.:

--They must show proof of a negative COVID-19 viral test performed within one day of departure.

--Should get tested three to five days after return.

--Should self-isolate and get tested if they develop any symptoms.

--All unvaccinated travelers should quarantine for seven days.

Beshear did have some positive things to pass along. “We have more tools to stop this in its tracks than ever before. The great news is, we saw more vaccinations over this last weekend than we have seen in a long time, in every stage of the vaccination process. This is how we fight back against this virus.”

During the past weekend, 45,137 Kentuckians received a booster, 15,117 received their first dose and 18,189 got fully vaccinated.