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‘We must take action’ says Beshear as COVID cases continue to climb

Gov. Andy Beshear said there was another Monday record for the number of new cases of the coronavirus in Kentucky.

There were 2,135 new cases reported to state public health officials, he said. “Remember, Mondays are always out lowest day.

That’s because not all of the labs are open on the weekend. This is our highest Monday, by a significant amount.”

This brings the total number of positive cases in Kentucky to 160,232 since the first one was reported on March 6.

The counties with the highest number of new cases reported Monday were Jefferson with 430, Fayette 105, Warren 61, Kenton 57, Hopkins 45, Daviess 42, Christian 37, Graves 34, Henderson 33, Logan 33, and Oldham had 30.

Beshear said there were more than 20,000 cases last week, which was another record. “This was 3,000 more cases than the previous week. Do you remember how shocking it was when we had 3,000 cases in a single week? It took us from March 6 to July 19 to have a week with 3,000 cases total. This is exponential spread. It will, and it is, overwhelming us. It’s why we must take action.”

He said the spike in cases is engulfing Kentucky’s hospital system. “When we have the Louisville hospital system pausing elective surgeries right now, it’s that bad. We have Pikeville Medical Center, we have King’s Daughters, we have the Bowling Green hospital system telling you they’re already struggling. St. Elizabeth’s in northern Kentucky, talking about the same concerns. What happens if we double in two weeks with a system that is already facing these problems? The answer is, not only do more people die, more people die than they have to.”

Beshear said that’s how this virus works. “We saw it in New York, we saw it in Florida, we saw it in Texas, we saw it in Arizona. I don’t want to see it in Kentucky. This is our job. Every day that we spend arguing with each other is a day that we not putting all of our efforts towards stopping this virus.”

A total of 1,573 Kentuckians are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19. Of them 391 are in the ICU and 203 on a ventilator. The state’s positivity rate, based on a rolling average over the past seven days, dipped below nine percent Monday, to 8.97%.

There were also five more deaths announced on Monday, raising to 1,792, the number of Kentuckians who have lost their lives to the coronavirus in Kentucky. The latest victims include a 73-year-old woman from Fayette County; a 73-year-old man from Harlan County; two men, ages 85 and 88, from McCracken County; and a 77-year-old man from Webster County.

State Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack updated Kentuckians on contact tracing, COVID-19 clusters and new projections that account for Gov. Beshear’s additional restrictions.

“Contact tracing has a number of different purposes: case investigation, helping connect Kentuckians to helpful resources they need, contact notification and providing information about quarantining,” said Dr. Stack. “Recent models show that just for Jefferson County and 14 surrounding counties, if we had complete compliance with new requirements, we could prevent almost 1,000 additional deaths by mid-January. Even with low compliance, 513 deaths would be prevented.”

To view the full daily report, incidence rate map, testing locations, long term-care and other congregate facilities update, school reports, the White House Coronavirus Task Force reports for Kentucky, red zone recommendations, the governor’s new restrictions which are in effect until Dec. 13, and other key guidance, visit kycovid19.ky.gov.