State positivity rate jumps again, Beshear talks Louisville, sports

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The day the nation hits 200,000 in coronavirus-related deaths should serve as a wake-up call on the seriousness of the virus and the battle that remains, Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday during his daily coronavirus briefing.

Most of Tuesday’s briefing was spent answering questions about when and if a decision by a Grand Jury will be announced concerning possible charges against Louisville Metro Police involved in the March 13 death of Breonna Taylor, a death that has become part of the national flashpoint on racial equality and police reform.

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Many expect the decision to be announced this week although Attorney General Daniel Cameron, whose office is presenting the case, has not given any indication.

During Tuesday’s session, Beshear said his and Cameron’s office had had “communication,” but he would not disclose any part of what was discussed.

“That’s part of the trust involved in situations like this,” Beshear said.

The governor did say he has not signed an order authorizing the National Guard of the State Police to help should they be needed although he has said he will.

Repeating the position he has taken for weeks, Beshear said the two groups would perform “limited, specific missions” and would remain under their own commands and not the direction of the Louisville Police.

He also said he’s not been contacted by the Trump Administration about federal troops, although federal law enforcement are protecting federal buildings in downtown Louisville. Those buildings are closed this week.

“The goal is to make sure the demonstrations are peaceful and people are treated with dignity…the goal is to make sure everyone is safe,” Beshear summed up.

On the coronavirus, the governor reported 824 new cases with the positivity rate climbing back above 4 percent to 4.52, the highest in well over a week.

The state now has reported 62,731 cases since March 6.

Of the new cases, 134 are kids under 18, 22 of which were children ages 5 and under. The youngest was 6 days old.

And several area counties are among those with double-digit increases, including 110 in Fayette, 37 in Madison, 28 in Laurel, 18 in Whitley, 13 in Montgomery and 12 in Clay.

Beshear also reported seven more deaths, bringing the state’s total to 1,119.

The deaths include an 87-year-old man from Hardin County; a 79-year-old man from Jefferson County; a 56-year-old woman from Marion County; a 69-year-old woman and two men, ages 79 and 90, from McCracken County; and a 92-year-old man from Taylor County.

The deaths came on the day the nation crossed the grim mark of 200,000 deaths.

While he stressed that his office nor state health officials are considering changing their position on opening schools to in-person classes or high school sports, he said he is worried by some of the signs he’s seeing, including an increasing number of games being canceled because of coronavirus outbreaks or quarantines.

Estill County schools canceled sports this week after the county moved into the so-called ‘red’ zone of high test rates. Henry Clay at North Hardin and Frankfort at Woodford County are canceled for coronavirus reasons.

He said high schools are different from colleges and pro sports which have far more financial and health resources. But he said he hopes high schools will try to work out ways to expand testing.

“If I were a coach, I would want my team to be tested on some regular basis…I would want the kids and parents to know that the students’ health was most important,” Beshear said.