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Kentucky’s COVID cases top 50,000 — adding 906 new cases, 10 deaths; Beshear says ‘take it seriously’

Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday reported that Kentucky’s coronavirus cases have surpassed 50,000 with 906 cases bringing the total to 50,885. Children under 18 accounted for 124 cases. The youngest was a two-month-old baby from Henderson County.

There were 68 cases reported in Fayette County.

“COVID is a once-in-100-year pandemic and we’ve got to take it seriously. We’re seeing a rough week this week,” said Beshear. “While our positivity rate is going down, we’re still seeing some high numbers. Today we’re reporting 906 new cases of COVID-19. That’s our third-highest total since the very beginning.”

Gov. Andy Beshear

Beshear reported 10 new deaths Thursday, raising the total to 976 Kentuckians lost to the virus.

The deaths reported Thursday include a 52-year-old man from Barren County; five women, ages 60, 72, 72, 79 and 85, and two men, ages 70 and 73, from Jefferson County; and an 88-year-old woman and 76-year-old man from Lewis County.

“We have people in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s on today’s report,” said Beshear. “These families don’t have the option of being tired. We can’t be tired either. We’ve got to be there for them.”

As of Thursday, there have been at least 902,446 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate currently stands at 4.53 percent. At least 10,547 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 Governor also noted that his next planned COVID-19 update will be Sept. 8 at 4 p.m. EDT.

‘The Fast 4 at 4’

Beshear began Thursday’s briefing by highlighting a variety of issues of importance to Kentuckians and the Commonwealth.

“We’ve got some really good news about things going on in Kentucky,” said Beshear. “It’s important during these times that we also see the hope, the positivity and the new businesses investing in Kentucky every single day.”

• Eastern Kentucky Grants

Beshear announced $2,356,381 in grant funding for four infrastructure projects that will improve utility services in Eastern Kentucky communities. The grant funding was awarded to Floyd, Harlan and Johnson counties and the cities of Paintsville and Salyersville.

* Beshear also announced grant funding for four other projects in Eastern Kentucky that will also create new economic opportunity in the region. Those receiving funds were Breathitt County, Knott and Perry counties, Wayne County and Hindman. Since December, the Governor has awarded nearly $29 million in grants for Eastern Kentucky; more than $3.8 million was awarded over the past two days.

• Tompkinsville Bypass Opens

Beshear announced that local officials held a socially distanced ribbon cutting ceremony today with state and federal leaders for the opening of the Tompkinsville Bypass in Monroe County. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) facilitated the event.

The $28.5 million project relieves traffic congestion, reducing large commercial truck traffic in downtown Tompkinsville. The bypass road also provides greater economic opportunity with improved access to the industrial park and airport.

• Voting

Beshear again encouraged all Kentuckians to make a plan to vote, either by mail, in person during early voting or in person on Election Day.

“Several hundred thousand Kentuckians have already requested absentee ballots,” said Beshear. “If you’re concerned about COVID-19, get yours at GoVoteKy.com. You can also vote early or on Election Day in person where we will have public health precautions in place.”

• Airport Improvement Grants

Beshear highlighted that this week, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the award of $1.2 billion in airport safety and infrastructure grants to 405 airports across 50 states and six U.S. territories. Kentucky received $94,544,603 of the total for nine airports across the state. Gov. Beshear said that he would have more details next week.

“This is a huge amount of money coming in for some of our largest, but also some of our growing, airports,” said Beshear. “When we talk about new opportunities, we want to see them everywhere.”

(Editor’s note: CVG got $45m in funding for improvements; see story here.)

Wilde Brands

The Governor was also joined today by executives from Wilde Brands Inc., a producer of high-protein, keto-diet-friendly snack chips made from all-natural chicken breast, to announce plans for the company’s $9.78 million, 50-job production and distribution facility in Clark County.

Derby update

Beshear announced that about 130 Kentucky National Guard soldiers and airmen will support the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby, just like they have in some form since the 1950s. The Governor said in recent years about 220 soldiers and airmen helped to provide public security during the Derby.

“This year, we’re going to have a smaller Guard presence,” said Beshear. “They’re going to operate traffic again and access control points that are not in the designated area of the organized protest. This is something that we have done every year.”

Dr. Stack Update

Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH), offered an update on the expected timeline for COVID-19 vaccinations.

“KDPH, with Kentucky Emergency Management and local health departments, is working to create our plans in partnership with the federal government, as well as state and local governments, so that when a safe and reliable vaccine is available we can deploy that in a timely manner to everyone who is eligible for it,” said Stack. “But, I’ve said this repeatedly and I’ll say it again, there will not be a vaccine for virtually everybody this calendar year. There are some corners that cannot be cut.”

He also addressed newer testing methods, explaining, “There’s been a lot of discussion about different types of tests, trying to get more rapid tests, and there’s some exciting science and possibilities in this. But they are not a panacea. They can be useful tools.”

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