During a press briefing today, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the state was reporting its second highest number of daily cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
There are 576 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, and of that total, nine cases are children under 5 years old, the youngest being 11 months. Today they are also reporting six new deaths.
"It should tell you that this virus isn't playing and neither are we," he said, calling the increase in cases a wake up call. "And it puts so many at risk when all or any of us fail to do our part."
"Aside from a day where we tested an entire prison, this would be the highest and even significantly more than we had ever reported," Beshear said. "If 400 made you gulp, 576 ought to create a knot in your stomach because what we face is very, very real."
This takes the state's total to 20,223 confirmed cases, with 635 total deaths, 449 currently hospitalized (according to chfs.ky.gov; Beshear said 243 during today's briefing), 90 currently in the ICU and 5,389 total recovered. The state's seven-day rolling positivity rate is 3.95%. Of the total hospital bed capacity, Beshear said 3,200 out of 5,000 state beds are in use and 564 out of 1,500 ICU beds are in use, so there's still a lot of room to accommodate patients.
"We're still at a point, even with rising numbers, that we have the capability to take care of people but this can get overwhelmed really quickly," he said. "Think about two, three weeks ago when we were reporting 120, 220 cases."
Part of the increase in COVID cases comes from an increase in testing. Testing numbers based on daily reports seem to have gone up about 15,250 between July 12 and July 14; as of today, 494,343 total Kentuckians have been tested.
But, Beshear said, "don't let anybody fool you" — "more cases result in more loss of life." And said citizens need to wear a mask and social distance.
"We act now. We act decisively. We make sure we wear those masks everywhere. We stay 6 feet apart. No more excuses. We get it done to protect people," he said.
He said he does not want to be one of the states that is seeing a spike in infections and has to roll back reopenings, or be like Arizona, which has had to order refrigerated trucks to accommodate overflowing morgues.
Locally, according to NKY Health, 49 of the new 576 cases are in Northern Kentucky.
“This sustained increase in cases among people in Northern Kentucky is of great concern,” said Dr. Lynne Saddler, District Director of Health. “Wearing a face covering whenever you go out in public is a simple act to prevent the spread of COVID-19, save lives, and keep businesses and activities moving forward with reopening. The alternative is that we become like the tragedies that we are seeing in other states.”
- While inside or waiting in line to get into a retail establishment, grocery store, pharmacy, hair salon/barbershop, nail salon/spa, tattoo parlor, child care facility, restaurant or bar (when not seated and not consuming food or drink), health care setting, or any other indoor public space where you can't get 6 feet apart from those who aren't a member of your household.
- While waiting for or riding in public transportation or paratransit, or while riding in a taxi, private car service or ride share, or if you're driving any of those while a customer is present.
- While in an outdoor public space when you can't maintain 6 feet of social distance from humans that aren't in your household
Enforcement is up to businesses — they should refuse service to those not in masks — and local health departments. To report non-compliance, you can call 1-833-KYSAFER or use the portal at govstatus.egov.com/kysafer.