FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky’s overall coronavirus trends remain little changed Tuesday. But at least the White House thinks the state is doing slightly better, dropping its rating from a “red” state to a “yellow” one.
But the state is making adjustments to some rules, particularly for day care centers. A plan to reach internet access into almost every home also should be in place by next month ad several hundred more inmates are getting out of prison early.
During his daily briefing Tuesday, Gov. Andy Beshear responded to questions raised by members of the Republican-controlled Senate about day care center rules by saying the state will be releasing new coronavirus rules for day care centers “soon.”
The rules will provide more flexibility, Beshear said, and also are partially i response to a increase in the number of unregulated small operations supposedly acting as NTI teaching centers.
“We’ve still got to do it safely,” Beshear noted, adding the “answers aren’t always pleasing to everyone.
Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander noted the pandemic has made it “even more clear” how important day care centers are to the economy. The state has provided $67 million in assistance to them but “we need more, to increase access, to increase the umber of providers…we can’t just do one thing, we have to come up with something comprehensive,” he stated.
Questions about the senate leadership’s press conference ad some of the issues also sent Beshear into anther rant against politics during the pandemic.
“Let’s not devolve into goofiness,” he said when asked about complaints that he removed a member of the Governor’s Office of Agriculture Policy, a at-will position that every governor has changed.
“Who will they want to name next, my chief of staff,” the governor said, referring to the two outspoken senators.
On another comment from the senators that day care centers should be allowed to operate at will because no children have died from the coronavirus, Beshear again suggested they were consulting with “Dr. Pepper” rather than medical experts.
“I would like to see more constructive dialogue,” he said, noting staff members in long-term care centers and schools have died and they are no different than day care centers.
“It’s a shame, it’s absolutely crazy…all that’s important is the next election, how many Democrats and Republicans there are…people in hard times have to make hard choices, but they’d rather make each other the enemy. It’s a little disheartening that one of the things they are most upset about is I talk to the people of Kentucky every day. I feel like you deserve to hear it from me. I am trying to be as honest ad vulnerable as I can with the people,” Beshear stated.
Beshear announced 688 new coronavirus cases, bringing the state total to 44,587. Of those, 96 were kids under age 18.
The state’s positivity rate rose slightly to back above 5% at 5.07 percent. But other important numbers were virtually unchanged from Monday with 593 people in the hospital, 151 in ICU ad 81 on ventilators.
The governor reported 10 additional deaths, bringing the state’s total to 895. The deaths reported Tuesday include an 81-year-old man from Bell County; a 59-year-old man from Daviess County; an 89-year-old man from Jefferson County; three women, ages 80, 84 and 85, from Lewis County; an 87-year-old woman from Logan County; an 84-year-old man and a 92-year-old woman from Scott County; and a 79-year-old man from Webster County.
Of the new cases, 45 were in Fayette, 22 in Madison, 14 in Rowan, 10 in Laurel and Pulaski, nine in Jackson and eight in McCreary.
Much has been made of the White House charting of states ad their levels, putting them i red, yellow ad green categories based o their positivity rates ad the rates i individual counties.
At the beginning of last week, Kentucky as ranked as ‘red; by the White House because of the number of counties it had with positivity test rates above 10 percent ad between 5 and 10 percent.
This week, the state has dropped to ‘yellow’ because the numbers are down.
Franklin, Shelby and Knox counties remain in the ‘red’ category while Fayette, Madison, Pulaski, Scott, Laurel, Jessamine, Bell, Harlan, Johnson, Clay, Rockcastle, Bourbon, Jackson and Mason counties are among those in the ‘yellow.’
Beshear noted that among K-12 schools, coronavirus cases remain active in 57 students and 25 staff in districts across the state but the numbers don’t include outbreaks reported Tuesday in Lawrence ad Marion counties.
Among colleges, 236 student cases ad 15 staff cases remain active.
Information about COVID-19 cases related to schools is being collected and is posted online.
“This is a highly contagious, aggressively spreading virus. We need to be very very careful, and this is one of the reasons I still don’t think it’s safe for schools to open before Sept. 28,” Beshear said. “It’s just very important when it’s our kids’ health that’s on the line that we have this at a place that where if we’re going to put 15, 20 or 30 kids potentially in a room and expose one adult to all of them in some way or another that we want to make sure we have this under the best control that we can.”
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.