FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – A record-high one-day death total was reason for pause Thursday in Kentucky’s daily coronavirus count, even as the positivity test rate fell to the lowest level in more than a week.
Ad even though Kentucky’s high school sports governing board voted Thursday to continue with fall supports starting in three weeks, Gov. Andy Beshear hinted he wanted to see the plan before signing off o it, suggesting instead he favored allowing low-contact sports to go forward while high-contact athletics like football to delay.
He also delayed announcement of a eviction assistance plan that will include funds to help tenants pay rent ad give help to landlords who have put off collections. The details will come Monday.
“I was surprised,” Beshear said when asked during his daily briefing about the decision by the KHSAA to go forward with fall sports.
“I know our kids want to play, but we ca’t let the kids make the final decisions,” he said, suggesting he thought the board would go forward with low contact sports like golf ad tennis, which “would make sense.”
“I haven’t bee given the KHSAA plan yet…I want to take some time and think it through…I worry about the domino effect on other sports, if an outbreak starts ad the impacts players who also play other sports in the next season…we’ll look at what they have,” he continued, noting his response ultimately could be “advice, a strong recommendation or something else.”
Meanwhile, the governor announced 726 new coronavirus cases, bringing the state’s total to 41,626. Of those 101 are in children 18 ad under and 20 are in children under 5.
The state’s positivity rate dropped to 5.18 percent, it’s lowest in more than a week. But other closely watched numbers were up from earlier in the week. Of those, 638 people are i the hospital, 155 are in ICU and 108 are on ventilators.
Of the new cases, Fayette had 56, Knox 14, Nelson 12 ad Madison 11.
Beshear reported 14 new deaths, raising the total to 856 Kentuckians lost to the virus. Two of them are health care workers.
The deaths include a 66-year-old man from Barren County; a 95-year-old woman from Clay County; two men, ages 81 and 88, from Fayette County; an 88-year-old woman from Gallatin County; a 55-year-old man from Graves County; an 84-year-old woman from Harlan County; a 77-year-old woman from Hopkins County; an 89-year-old man from Jackson County; a 57-year-old man from Marion County; a 96-year-old woman from Oldham County; a 65-year-old woman from Pulaski County; and a 76-year-old man from Warren County. One family asked for their loved one’s demographics not to be shared.
“We are announcing 14 new deaths today. That’s 38 deaths in just three days. We have to understand that this is not just real, this virus takes lives from us,” said Beshear.
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.
On the eviction plan, Beshear gave some general details but no specifics, saying those would come Monday. In fact, the specifics are the hold up.
“This has a lot of moving pieces. We want to make sure it all works,” he said.
I general, the state will use federal CARES Act money to partner with Legal Aid and other groups to provide rent assistance to individuals. The qualifications and application process are the details that are unknown.
He said as some landlords try to move forward with evictions, he hopes they will wait a few more days. Besides, they still have to go through court proceedings ad while state courts have begun those, they still take 30 days.
“I’ m hoping by the time any are doe, our plan will address the issues,” he said, noting his executive order blocking evictions also still is in place.
On other issues, the governor:
— As he does periodically, paid tribute to the life of one of the Kentuckians lost to the coronavirus. Huey Cornelius and his wife raised their four children in Lexington.
“Dad was an educator, a principal, a coach, a class president, a neighbor, a Sunday School teacher, an insurance salesman, a friend, a classmate, an uncle, a brother, a grandpa, a husband and my father,” his son Brance Cornelius said.
Huey Cornelius, 81, died last Tuesday after falling ill with the coronavirus three weeks earlier. Brance said his father had no underlying health issues. “No heart attacks, no strokes, no diabetes, no bypasses,” he said. “He was an active 81-year-old.”
Brance said his mother also tested positive for COVID-19 but quickly recovered. He asked Gov. Beshear to share their story in the hope that Kentuckians will honor his father by doing everything they can to keep each other safe and prevent other families from enduring such a painful loss.
“Our father touched so many lives. He held several positions, but mostly that of educator and insurance agent. If we would have been allowed to have a funeral, the number would be in the hundreds,” Brance said. “Instead, we will mourn with our immediate family, that is, until it is safe to celebrate his life and legacy with those who loved him.”
— Piad homage to the opening of the State Fair, thanking members of the Kentucky State Fair Board for their hard work to design a fair that would keep many traditions alive while also ensuring the safety of Kentuckians. The participants-only Kentucky State Fair opens today and runs until Saturday, Aug. 29. Today, the fair featured 4-H and FFA youth showing dairy cows and goats.
“Although this year’s fair looks different, it continues to highlight Kentucky’s premiere agriculture and equestrian industries,” said Beshear. “With nearly 76,000 farms and over 240,000 horses in the commonwealth, the state fair has a long history of celebrating the best Kentucky has to offer.”
For more information on the fair’s schedule and COVID-19 precautions, visit the fair’s website.
— With the help of Secretary Eric Friedlander, updated Kentuckians on the accomplishments of the Kentucky Department of Aging and Independent Living (DAIL) since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For Kentucky’s 900,000 plus seniors ages 60 and up who live independently in our communities, nutrition has often been an issue,” said Friedlander. “For some of these vulnerable Kentuckians, it’s been a matter of transportation. For others, it’s been about not having enough money to pay for basic needs. For still others, they have had difficulty preparing meals. None of this is what we want for our seniors.”
DAIL has served 2.1 million meals to seniors in fiscal year 2020, and specifically, 1.4 million meals since March.
“DAIL has provided senior center meals and home-delivered meals thanks to the passage of the Older Americans Act in 1965. For some, this is their only meal of the day,” said Friedlander. “This is one of those success stories that should make us all proud to be Kentuckians.”
Kentuckians interested in supporting seniors in their communities can reach out to local senior centers to volunteer to deliver meals. Kentuckians ages 60 and older who need meals may call the Aging and Disability Resource Center at 877-925-0037.