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Fourth local COVID-19 death reported

A fourth Bell County resident has died as a result of COVID-19.

According to a statement from Bell County Health Department Director Teresa Hunter on Wednesday, an 81-year-old male is the fourth death from the virus in the county. The previous three deaths included an 85-year-old male, and two females, ages 68 and 74.

The total number of cases in the county now stands at 300, with seven new cases being reported on Thursday. Of those 300 cases, six are currently in long-term care and 81 cases are currently active.

There are also 219 cases listed as recovered in the county.

Hunter said she continues to advise people to take basic precautions.

“It’s all the same. It’s social distancing, wearing a mask and washing your hands,” Hunter said.

She added that people need to be aware of the main focus of contact tracing for those who receive positive test results is all about distance, time and wearing a mask.

“Whenever we do contact tracing, if someone tests positive, when our staff calls that person, they determine if there has been close contact. That means if you have been within six feet of someone for more than 10 minutes without a mask. If people will wear their masks and stay six feet apart and keep their hands washed, we’re not going to have to have people in quarantine. That is the way to do it,” Hunter said.

Some state numbers have indicated downward trends in the number of cases.

“I’m not sure, because I know weekend numbers are off, as in all of the reporting,” Hunter said of the state totals. “What they do, apparently, in Frankfort, is take a 7-day rolling average to get whether they think it is declining or flattening the curve, as so to speak. We are up to 293 cases, and people have to start social distancing and wearing their masks.”

State numbers reported on Wednesday indicated 546 new cases in Kentucky.

Gov. Andy Beshear said in his daily news conference that the total number of cases in the state now stands at 32,741. There were 21 patients under the age of five years old, according to Beshear, and seven of those are under one year in age, with the youngest being 18 days old.

One death was reported Wednesday, and the state now reports 752 Kentuckians have died from COVID-19.

As of Wednesday, there have been at least 663,100 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate currently stands at 5.51 percent. At least 8,467 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus, according to Beshear.

“I believe you are doing the right thing. The vast majority of people are wearing a face covering and it is making a difference,” Beshear said. “It looks like we are stopping a very dangerous situation from occurring and we need to keep it up.”