School COVID reporting will be like current methods; cases still at plateau

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state will report school coronavirus cases with students and staff the same way it does with long-term care facilities and state-run facilities as part of, providing parents information to make informed decisions and to provide transparency and accountability.

The process comes as the state continues to see “plateau” new coronavirus case numbers and remains hopeful to be much improved by the end of September.

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As it does with long-term care facilities, the state will report during daily briefings each afternoon schools with cases in students ad staff. It reports staff and patient numbers at long-term care facilities statewide.

“This will give schools and districts the opportunity to alert their communities in the way they think best,” Gov. Andy Beshear said during his daily briefing Tuesday, noting schools already report lice infestations, strep throat outbreaks and other illnesses to parents.

“The public needs to be able to know what risks they are taking,” the governor added.

Beshear also continued to encourage school districts to delay in-person classes until Sept. 28 to allow more time to try to let the current surge start o a downward trend. But a Republican-led legislative committee Tuesday, as several others have doe in the last month, suggested it is a “one-size-fits” all approach.

But Beshear said with more than 60 counties statewide rated by the White House as either in a red or yellow danger category, the entire state remains at risk.

“It’s not safe for anyone right now,” he responded.

“We have got to maintain this plateau and have a chance for our positivity rate to go down. By Sept. 28, we should really be seeing that. If we aren’t, we’re going to have to do something else anyway,” he said.

He also noted he is concerned about colleges opening since the 20 to 29 age group is now the group with the highest percentage of cases in the state. College campuses are being watched closely, especially with lessons learned from places like the University of North Carolina which made major changes after being open only a few days because of an outbreak.

“We can’t change this by wishing it away or rationalizing it away which we are seeing a lot of,” Beshear continued, making reference to critics. “It’s not political. It’s all about the safety of yours and my kids.”

The state reported 627 new cases Tuesday, pushing the total over 40,000 to 40,299. Of the new cases, 76 were in people under 18.

Area counties continued to see double-digit new cases, including 35 in Fayette, 27 in Scott, 20 in Knox and Nelson, 14 in Montgomery and 10 in Jessamine.

The positivity rate is down slightly to 5.48 percent.

The state recorded 12 deaths, pushing the total to 830. One of those was a 42-year-old woman in Carter County.

Three more day-care centers reported at least one case. A total of 145 centers now have at least one associated case with 117 staff and 93 children.

On other issues, the governor said:

— The state has not yet spoken with the SEC abut plans for fans at football games but those plans will have to include strict enforcement.

“It’s not just having guidelines, it’s about enforcement,” Beshear said.

— The state expects a announcement Wednesday on new rules and guidelines governing evictions.

— The state also expects an announcement Wednesday on steps to expand internet service to some of the worst areas in the state for service.

— The state will do whatever it takes to come up with the estimated $9 million needed to pay for the voting plan Beshear ad Secretary of State Michael Adams announced Friday.