COVID numbers, positive test rate down, but alarms still sounding

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​​​FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state’s new coronavirus case numbers and positive test rate both dropped Saturday, offering hope the state’s recent surge is flattening out, but that only prompted more alarms.

In a Saturday update, Gov. Andy Beshear reported 572 new cases, including 11 in children under 3, pushing the state’s total as it approaches the five-month mark to 30,723 cases.

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“Our positivity rate is again lower today than it was yesterday. Facial coverings work. They are our best chance of saving lives and protecting the health of our people, ensuring our economy can stay open, and getting our kids back in school,” said Beshear, referring to the 5.22 percent positivity rate, one of the closely watched numbers that indicate whether cases are surging.

Unfortunately, Beshear reported five new deaths Saturday, raising the total to 740 Kentuckians lost to the virus.

“That’s five families that are going to be suffering during this time,” said Gov. Beshear.

The deaths reported Saturday include 55-, 61- and 67-year-old men from Oldham County, an 81-year-old man from Jefferson County, and an 84-year-old woman from Simpson County.

“We’re nearly five months into this global pandemic reaching Kentucky, but the last few weeks we saw a big growth in the number of positive COVID-19 cases,” said Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Department for Public Health. “This past week, Gov. Beshear reminded us that if we have plans to travel to a state where the rate of positive cases is 15% or higher, we need to change these plans. If someone travels to one those states anyway, then when they return to Kentucky they should self-quarantine for 14 days.”

Kentuckians who remain in-state can’t let down their guard either, Dr. Stack said.

“Gatherings should be limited to 10 or fewer guests, especially informal ones going on in backyards, parks, lakes and similar settings,” he said.

“The commonly more personal, informal social behavior in these situations is a big risk. If you and your guests are not keeping at least a six-foot social distance and if you’re not wearing masks, this spreads the disease. It places the people you care about most at risk and it endangers others if they spread the disease throughout the community.”

He cautioned saying, “I don’t want to sound like an alarmist, but a big part of this is about the decisions made and behaviors practiced by every one of us as individuals. Public gatherings and social activities can be tinderboxes for COVID-19 transmission. Until we get a vaccine or cure to neutralize this threat, we all must continue practicing social distancing and wearing masks.”

As of Saturday, there have been at least 638,772 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. At least 8,135 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.

For information, including up-to-date lists of positive cases and deaths, as well as breakdowns of coronavirus infections by county, race and ethnicity, click here.