Concern grows with 426 new cases, positive test rate up significantly

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state reported 426 new coronavirus cases Friday, the second highest one-day total ever, and a significant rise in the positive test rate, a number that is watched closely to predict surges.

The numbers “clearly indicate” a spike, Gov. Andy Beshear said, reiterating his order that masks be worn in public.

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That administrative rule went into effect at 5 p.m. Friday.

The governor provided some other alarming numbers, including some two dozen young children infected with the virus and 13 day care centers that have recorded positive tests, including 15 staff and seven children.

“We are trying to make sure we don’t end up in a dire situation,” Beshear said, showing numbers from some other states where the new cases have increased tenfold in less than two weeks and the positive test rate is approaching 20 percent.

The 426 cases reported Friday would have been the highest one-day total if not for a day in early May when 300 cases at Green River Correctional Institute inflated the totals.

The 426 cases follow 402 reported Thursday. The state now has confirmed 18,670 cases since Match 6.

He also rattled off a list of young children, including a 3-month-old in Casey County, a 4-month-old in Laurel County, and a 3-year-old in Madison County.

Of the overall new cases, 63 were in Jefferson, 43 in Fayette, 14 in Shelby and 12 in Laurel.

“We aren’t having new cases because of more testing. We are having more cases because a higher percentage of people are sick,” Beshear said in response to a question.

He noted two weeks ago the positive test rate was 2.47 percent. Last week it climbed to 2.87 percent, the range where it was when the state was at a “plateau” or starting to decline in May.

This week the rate is 4.5 percent, he said.

“If the numbers were up because of more testing, then the positivity rate would be the same. This is not a claim, not an argument, it is a fact,” he stated.

The governor reported eight more deaths, bringing the state’s total to 620. Three were in Warren County with one each in Fayette, Clay, Russell, Shelby and Grant counties.

In an update on the state’s prison system, Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown noted of the 418 cases originally diagnosed at Green River, all have recovered.

Meanwhile, at the Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women, 176 inmates have tested positive with five in the hospital and two in ICU. Results are pending on 258 tests, Brown said, noting inmates have made 142,000 masks that have been distributed for use within the system and to agencies across the state.