State: Virus spread still flattening, Derby may have to make changes

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state remains optimistic the coronavirus spread continues to flatten but the numbers remain high, Gov. Andy Beshear said during his daily briefing Tuesday.

And Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday without some significant changes in the numbers, he might recommend the Kentucky Derby make some changes in allowing fans at its running next month. The comments came in response to a question about the Indianapolis 500 deciding Tuesday to run the annual race without fans.

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And finally, Beshear said he supports school districts that have decided to start school with virtual learning and those starting with in-person.

“The decisions are being made by local boards with local parents. And I support them,” he said.

When asked about the Indianapolis 500 and his thoughts on the Kentucky Derby, Beshear said, “We are carefully watching the numbers. If it were today, I would like to see some changes and I think the Churchill Downs folks know that. We would want the crowd thinned out, and significant enforcement, would want to see where we are a week from now…I do think there can be some fans…we would need to look at some capacity changes, the number of people and where they are…I think these are things Churchill Downs is ready to talk about.”

Beshear reported 700 new cases Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 32,197. Eighteen of the newly reported cases were from children ages 5 and younger, including a 2-month-old and a 6-month-old in Jefferson County. In addition, a 1-year-old in Metcalfe County was positively diagnosed after being exposed to the coronavirus at church and recently traveled to Tennessee.

“We hope to see the trend we think we had over the past couple weeks continue, which is a slow of the growth,” the governor said. “While today we have a higher number than we did at this time last week, we believe there is a general leveling off though today there are more cases than last week.”

Beshear reported seven new deaths Tuesday, raising the total to 751 Kentuckians lost to the virus.

The deaths include a 53-year-old man from Calloway County; a 70-year-old man from Daviess County; two women, ages 45 and 69, and an 81-year-old man from Jefferson County; a 50-year-old man from Kenton County; and a 95-year-old woman from Ohio County.

As of Tuesday, there have been at least 650,093 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate currently stands at 5.24%. At least 8,406 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.

The positivity rate continues to hover in the same area. The number of people in the hospital was almost unchanged from Monday at 638 with 135 in ICU.

“We’ve got to get those numbers down,” Beshear stated.

The governor reported cases in six additional child care centers with four children and two staff.

He still remains optimistic the state may be able to ease some of restrictions on restaurants next week, possibly allowing them to expand capacity again. New rules also may allow bars to reopen.

But he said he expects the mask mandate to remain in place.

He also said he expects Secretary of State Michael Adams and a working group studying the November election to present a plan next week. That plan likely will include expanded in-person voting locations, expanded no-excuse voting and mail-in voting, although the mail in may have earlier deadlines.

“We need more early voting and need to promote it better,” he said, noting the state had early-voting during the June primary, but it wasn’t used as widely as it should have been.

For additional 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. To see all recent daily reports, click here.