FRANKFORT — Kentucky hopes to begin the next phase of COVID-19 vaccinations targeting emergency responders, educators and people 70 and older at the start of February, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday.

More than 26,000 vaccine doses have been administered so far in Kentucky, and 40 additional sites will receive doses for the first time this week, the governor said. Health care workers along with residents and staff at long-term care facilities are at the top of the list for receiving vaccinations.

Vaccinations for the next groups of Kentuckians — those 70 and older, school personnel and first responders such as police and firefighters — is targeted to start around Feb. 1, though it could be “plus or minus a week,” Beshear said.

The Democratic governor urged patience as vaccine supplies are allocated to Kentucky. The state is scheduled to receive more than 200,000 doses by the end of December.

“Right now, the vaccine is trickling in,” he said at a news conference. “I love having 200,000 doses, but it’s not enough. But as production ramps up, as more vaccines come online, we’re going to have a lot more coming in. And as we move into the next priority phase, and eventually the one after that about who gets the vaccine, it’s going to be bigger and bigger populations.”

Meanwhile, Beshear said the state has curbed the most recent surge of coronavirus cases.

The governor reported 1,455 new statewide virus cases Monday and eight more virus-related deaths. More than 1,500 virus patients are hospitalized in Kentucky, including 411 in intensive-care units, he said. The statewide rate for positive tests was 7.97%.

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.