A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Beshear reports 778 new COVID cases, 4 deaths; ‘mask up’; and a round-up of coronavirus news

Gov. Andy Beshear on Friday reported 778 new COVID cases and 4 deaths, bringing state totals to 30,151 cases and 778 deaths. Twenty-three of the new cases were from children age 5 and under.

There were 19 new cases in Boone County, 17 in Kenton County and 12 in Campbell County.

“The health and the lives of people around you, our economy and how fast we can build it back, and our ability to get our kids in school depend on you. Let’s beat COVID-19,” said Gov. Beshear

“Our positivity rate has decreased for the third straight day. But, we still have too many cases and we need to do everything we can to try to decrease those. We’re also seeing an increase of patients in the ICU.”

Mask Up!

The deaths reported Friday include a 75-year-old man from Fayette County; an 86-year-old woman from Jefferson County; a 63-year-old man from Perry County; and an 80-year-old woman from Taylor County.

“Sadly, we are also reporting four new deaths,” said Gov. Beshear. “Kentucky, we know what it takes. Let’s mask up.”

As of Friday, there have been at least 629,706 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate currently stands at 5.43%. At least 7,481 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.

For additional information, including up-to-date lists of positive cases and deaths, as well as breakdowns of coronavirus infections by county, race and ethnicity, click here.

The Kentucky Health News Network provided this roundup of other COVID-19 news:

▪ Counties with more than 10 new cases on Thursday were Jefferson,138; Fayette, 42; Warren, 22; Laurel, 20; Hardin, 18; Shelby, 17; Graves and Henderson, 15 each; Christian and Daviess, 14 each; Kenton and Mercer, 13 each; Barren, Oldham and Scott, 12 each; and Franklin and Pulaski, 11 each.

▪ In long-term care facilities, 12 more residents and 18 more employees tested positive for the virus, but no new deaths were attributed to the facilities. Five more facilities were added to the list of those with a least one case, raising the total to 253.

▪ The Governor cast some doubt on the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby, to be held at 60% spectator capacity, when asked if he would go if it were held now. “I think everybody wants us to see improvements on where our numbers are,” and if the recent escalation continued, “I would have to think long and hard before really going anywhere and that’s about a decision for me and my family,” he said. “If the numbers are still where they are right now in September, that means we’ve done a great job plateauing them, and if that’s the case I probably would go and hand out that trophy.” He said he hopes Churchill Downs is continuing to find ways to make the event safer.

From the State Fair website

▪ Asked about the state fair, set for Aug. 20-30, Beshear said the Department for Public Health “sent an additional series of recommendations . . . for them to consider in light of where we are right now. And remember, anything that is held out there or anywhere else around Kentucky that is large, if not done well, can ultimately upset other opportunities to do large events.” He said he did not know what the agency’s recommendations were.
▪ Beshear said mediation failed to resolve Northern Kentucky landlords’ lawsuit challenging his ban on evictions, so the suit will head toward trial. The state Supreme Court is allowing eviction cases to be filed, but Beshear’s order bans execution of eviction judgments. He acknowledged that some renters are “gaming the system . .. but are there people out there that are suffering because of this virus or its economic impact that we can’t allow to be kicked out on the street? Yes.”

▪ Muncie McNamara, whom Beshear fired as unemployment insurance director, told legislators that during the early-spring crush of jobless claims, the Beshear administration approved thousands that should have been investigated until the U.S. Department of Labor “got wind that we were doing that and told us that we had to stop.” He “also said the unemployment insurance system wasn’t technologically prepared when Beshear in March offered the jobless aid to people who wouldn’t normally qualify such as independent contractors, ahead of the federal government taking similar action,” Chris Otts reports for WDRB.

▪ Beshear replied that it’s not unusual for a fired official to make “big allegations” that don’t pan out. “I believe here we have somebody who, their relationships certainly got messy by the end, but it appears that the termination was valid and they are not kind of exhibiting some of these same things that we have seen in the past. My understanding is that everything that was raised by that individual as they were leaving was addressed.”

▪ Regarding a data breach that McNamara said he reported, Beshear said McNamara forwarded “an email to people who are getting thousands of emails, and then went home. If you are the head of something, you’ve got a bigger obligation than that.” Still, he said the pending inspector general’s report on the data breach will “show a number of people in leadership positions should have done more. And we’re going to make sure that we correct that and we’re going to make sure we are transparent about it.”

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