A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Governor reports 611 new cases, seven deaths; he urges habits that will help defeat the virus

Gov. Andy Beshear reported 611 new COVID cases and seven deaths as of Thursday afternoon — another day for the record books. Twenty-one of the new cases were children 5 and younger.

“This week we have seen some of our highest number of cases of the coronavirus going all the way back to the start of dealing with this pandemic in Kentucky on March 6,” said Beshear. “These results ought not to make us panic but it also ought to make us get back into the habits that we know help defeat this virus.”

There have been at least 25,147 coronavirus cases in Kentucky and 684 deaths.

“Today is one of the highest days we’ve had. Let’s remember every day with a high number of cases is a day we don’t want to have,” said Beshear. “We continue to see hospital systems in the states to our south running out of ICU beds.”

The deaths reported Thursday include a 60-year-old woman from Casey County; a 49-year-old woman from Fayette County, a 57-year-old woman from Jefferson County; a 64-year-old woman from Knox County; two women, ages 88 and 89, from Ohio County; and a 68-year-old woman from Whitley County.

“We’re reporting seven deaths today, and the spread in ages ought to tell us something. The way we need to look at this is everybody can get this virus. No one is immune,” said Beshear. “Let’s remember to ring those bells – we do it here in the Rotunda every day. Let’s turn on those green lights.”

As of Thursday, there have been at least 565,490 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate currently stands at 4.94%.

At least 7,046 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.

Long-Term Care Testing Update

Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander announced that all staff at congregate residential settings serving older or disabled adults will get a molecular diagnostic test for COVID-19 at least every 14 days. Staff who test positive will be tested again for confirmation, and symptomatic residents will also be tested.

From August through the end of 2020, the state anticipates that 65,000 tests per month will be conducted in these facilities, which include: nursing facilities, nursing homes, intermediate care facilities, intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, personal care homes and assisted living communities. The testing will be conducted by clinical labs that the state pays directly.

Secretary Friedlander also announced that the federal government has allocated an additional $5 billion going to nursing and veterans facilities across the country to help with PPE and testing. The federal government will also be providing more rapid testing equipment to nursing facilities in the hardest-hit areas of the country.

“Today I signed a contract that will allow laboratories to bill us directly for maintenance testing of staff and residents at all nursing facilities across Kentucky,” said Secretary Friedlander. “We continue to want to support our nursing facilities, we’re glad to partner with the federal government so we can have a consistent program and keep our folks safe.”

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