Positivity rate dips again, new deaths push state total over 900

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky’s positivity rate dropped back below 5 percent Wednesday and while experts expect it to rise and fall for a few days, it is a sign the state may finally be getting a hold on the coronavirus.

But it also prompted local and state officials to warn against complacency, especially with a holiday weekend coming up.

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Meanwhile, an update on the Team Kentucky charity fund shows it has helped more than 1,032 households and provided 2,421 vouchers for assistance.

“Because of this partnership, not only are we able to immediately help Kentuckians, we are also able to help them in the long run,” Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman said. “I want to thank Community Action for your help and for everyone who has donated $5, $10, $15 to help their fellow Kentuckians.”

To date, $3,545,027 has been donated to the Team Kentucky Fund. Coleman noted that through the state’s partnership with Community Action Kentucky, for every $1 given to the Team Kentucky Fund, $1.70 goes to Kentuckians in need.

Team Kentucky Fund top categories: electric: $101,952.49; food: $123,209.34; mortgage: $102,287.30; rent: $410,290.74; for a grand total: $789,658.77.

Coleman said 2,421 vouchers had been issued that aided 1,032 households.

Those wishing to support the Team Kentucky Fund can do so at donate.ky.gov. To apply for assistance, go to teamkyfund.ky.gov.

Following up on his comments Tuesday, Gov. Andy Beshear said during his daily briefing new guidelines for day care centers will be announced Monday.

The governor announced 696 new cases Wednesday, bringing the state total to 45,230. Of those, 114 were kids under 18.

The positivity rate fell back below 5 percent to 4.64 percent, the lowest rate in four weeks.

“We expect it to be up and down for the next few days, but we’ve got to get it to stay below 5 percent and then below 4 percent,” Beshear said. “That’s the only way we’re going to be able to continue to open things up.”

The governor reported seven additional deaths, bringing the total in the state to 902.

The deaths reported Wednesday include an 89-year-old woman from Boone County; an 81-year-old woman from Graves County; a 79-year-old woman from Greenup County; two men, ages 50 and 89, from Jefferson County; a 91-year-old woman from Oldham County; and an 83-year-old man from Whitley County.

“The virus doesn’t care that we get tired or frustrated, it doesn’t care if we want to go back to our lives, it is just as aggressive, it is just as deadly and it is killing people we know,” Beshear said. “So it’s up to us to be strong and resilient enough.”

Of the new cases, 30 are in Madison, 26 are in Scott, 27 are in Fayette, 11 are in Jackson, 10 are in Rowan and nine are in Pulaski.

He reported two new child care facilities with cases, meaning 162 facilities have had at least one case associated with it. Of the cases, 132 are staff and 100 are kids.

At colleges, 60 additional students have reported positive with most of those at Morehead and UK. At K-12 schools, the state has 59 active cases among students and 28 among staff.

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.

Information about COVID-19 and schools is also being made available. To view the reports, click here for K-12 and here for colleges and universities.

The governor and Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steve Stack both reported the state has a large supply of PPE materials, but Beshear expressed concern about it and testing supplies heading into the fall.

“We are seeing signs of shortages in the supply chains heading into the fall. That’s why we’ve made it such a priority,” Stack said of the warehouse the state has filled with masks, gowns, and other items.

On testing, Beshear was more direct.

“It’s a real concern on certain testing platforms,” he said, noting most of the labs with which the state deals are in “good shape right now.”

Dr. Stack also offered analysis and insight on new coronavirus testing guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I would encourage you to still follow our guidance here in Kentucky,” Dr. Stack said.

“I want to be a little more explicit about the CDC’s sudden change saying those who have had direct and high-risk exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should not get tested,” said Beshear. “That’s reckless. It contradicts everything that we have learned about this virus. It’s inexplicable. I mean come on, it’s common sense. Let’s make sure we’re doing the right thing in Kentucky.”

Dr. Stack also said the administration is now sharing the weekly reports for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, which can be found on the main Team Kentucky COVID-19 webpage.