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State passes 100,000 COVID cases

Kentucky has now passed the 100,000 mark for cases of the coronavirus, Gov. Andy Beshear announced on Wednesday.

“But for the backlog in cases in Fayette County that were reported on a previous Wednesday, this would have been the highest Wednesday,” Beshear said during a briefing at the Capitol.  “We are reporting 1,864 new cases of COVID-19.  We’ve now not just surpassed 100,000 cases, we’re at 101,494.”

The 10 counties that had the most new cases reported to state public health officials were Jefferson 352, Fayette 102, Hardin 78, Nelson 67, Pike 60, Kenton 59, Warren 49, Christian 37, Bullitt 35, and Barren with 33.

The governor said there are currently 927 Kentuckians hospitalized due to the coronavirus.  A total of 235 are in the ICU with 110 on a ventilator.  The first two of those numbers show a continued increase, while the patients on a ventilator is five less than Tuesday.

Another benchmark figure released daily is the positivity rate, which Beshear says is now at 6.07%.

He also announced 14 new deaths, where COVID was a contributing factor, raising the total to 1,442.  They include an 83-year-old man from Boyd County; an 80-year-old man from Breathitt County; a 61-year-old woman from Christian County; a 95-year-old woman from Fayette County; a 93-year-old woman and a 91-year-old man from Henderson County; an 87-year-old woman and three men, ages 70, 80 and 81 from Jefferson County; two women, ages 80 and 82, from Kenton County; a 64-year-old woman from Knox County; and an 85-year-old woman from Lee County.

Beshear said with the higher numbers, there are recommendations to the state from the White House.

–Keep the mask mandate in place.

–Ensure physical distance of at least six feet.

–Avoid public crowds and private social gatherings.

–Ensure retail establishments are complying with the mask mandate.

–Current transmissions are linked to home gatherings.

State Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said, “We know what works.  We know that the tools we have now, as frustrating as they are, are ones that help keep us safe.”

He added, “If we are cavalier about it, we are going to get smacked hard.  I’ve said this before, it’s like being in a casino, the house always wins.  The virus is the house.”

The governor said as of Wednesday, there are 64 red counties, those with an incidence rate of 25 or more new cases per 100,000 residents.  There were also 47 orange counties, with rates of 10-25 per 100,000, and nine with rates of 1-10 per 100,000.  No counites are in green, which is a rate of less than one case per 100,000.

On Thursday, during his 4 p.m. press briefing, he will announce the red zone counties, which will have stronger recommendations for the following week.  Those recommendation will entail:

–Asking employers to allow their employees to work from home when possible.

–Non-critical state government offices will operate virtually.

–Reduce in-person shopping.  Order online for curbside pickup.

–Order takeout.  Avoid dining in restaurants or bars.

–Prioritize shopping at businesses that follow and enforce the mask mandate and other guidance.

–Reschedule, postpone, or cancel public and private events.

–Do not host or attend gatherings of any kind.

–Avoid non-essential activities outside your home.

–Reduce overall activity and contacts and follow existing guidance to defeat COVID-19.

Beshear says they are using the Thursday map, so everyone has time to prepare for putting the red zone recommendations in place on Monday.

For more information on the coronavirus and the Beshear Administration’s response in Kentucky, you can go to kycovid19.ky.gov.