Deadliest week on record for coronavirus in Kentucky
Published 9:05 am Saturday, September 5, 2020
It was another big day in new cases of the coronavirus, including 11 deaths, making this week the deadliest since the pandemic started in early March. Since Sunday, 66 people have died from the virus.
Gov. Andy Beshear reported 809 new cases – the fourth consecutive day where new cases exceeded 800 – were reported to state health officials. Ninety-eight of them were from children age 18 and younger, of which eight were children ages 5 and under. The youngest was a 2-month-old baby from Jefferson County. This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in Kentucky to 51,667 since the first one was reported March 6.
“We’re trying to keep our businesses open and get our economy to bounce back. We’re going to get our kids back in school later this month. We’re trying to get high school sports up and going and keep them going,” said Gov. Beshear in a written statement. “So, we really need you to help us on all the other things like wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently and social distancing.”
The death toll in Kentucky rose to 987 lost to the virus with Friday’s total.
The deaths reported Friday include a 61-year-old man from Barren County; an 88-year-old woman from Carroll County; an 82-year-old man from Clinton County; an 82-year-old woman from Hardin County; two men, ages 72 and 77, from Jefferson County; a 77-year-old woman from Kenton County; a 67-year-old woman from Marion County; a 75-year-old man from Owsley County; a 79-year-old woman from Rockcastle County; and a 64-year-old woman from Warren County.
As of Friday, there have been at least 910,697 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate currently stands at 4.70 percent, up slightly from Thursday’s 4.53 percent. At least 10,587 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.
“I know this is a big weekend: Derby weekend, even though it’s September, and Labor Day weekend,” Beshear said. “Traditionally, we’d get together with a lot of people over this weekend. This year, I need you to do it a little differently. Just this one time, probably in your entire life, please keep your gatherings small, 10 people or fewer.”
“I know how much we all want to see our families and friends for this holiday, but for one year, we need to prioritize making sure every person we care about is around to celebrate with us next year. “We have already lost so many Kentuckians, and I don’t want that loss to be even greater. It will be if we have a spike in cases.”
The governor also signed a new executive order Friday, freezing evictions for non-payment of rent through the end of the year, to reflect the new order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Under the CDC order, a tenant who signs and submits a declaration to his or her landlord about the inability to timely pay rent cannot be evicted. However, the declaration is required in order to prevent an eviction. Like the Governor’s prior executive orders on evictions, the CDC order does not relieve anyone of the obligation to pay rent or comply with any other obligation under a tenancy, lease or similar contract. The CDC order allows landlords to charge and collect fees, penalties and interest for failure to timely pay rent, but prohibits evictions for nonpayment or late payment of such fees, penalties or interest.
Under the executive order, the CDC order applies in Kentucky through the end of the year and helps keep Kentuckians Healthy at Home. The commonwealth’s Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund, which includes $15 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, will still provide relief for some eligible tenants and landlords. More details will be announced on Tuesday.
Gov. Beshear extended the commonwealth’s mandate for face coverings in some situations for another 30 days, citing the mandate’s success in slowing the spread of COVID-19, as well as another one that extends previous orders allowing pharmacists to dispense 30-day refills. The current executive order expires Sunday at midnight, so the new order will be effective for 30 days beginning September 6.
This latest spike in cases has even affected the court system in Jefferson County. Three Assistant County Attorneys and one victim advocate have tested positive, with two cases learned of on Friday. In addition, 12 Assistant County Attorneys and four additional staff members were within 6 feet of these employees for 15 minutes or more and will therefore self-quarantine, following CDC guidelines. Jefferson County Health and Wellness has also been contacted for contact tracing purposes.
As a result, Jefferson District Court is suspending three criminal dockets, now through Sept. 30.
“Anyone who isn’t taking measures to protect themselves from COVID or thinks it cannot reach their family or business is making a serious mistake,” said Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell. “It has come to our office even with consistent mask use, sanitizing, and working to stay physically distanced. I urge everyone to take all possible precautions this Labor Day and Derby weekend to limit the spread of this disease.”
You can read other key updates, actions and information from Gov. Beshear and his administration at kycovid19.ky.gov.
While the Governor may issue YouTube or Facebook videos over the Labor Day holiday weekend, his next scheduled press briefing is Tuesday afternoon at 4.