New COVID case numbers provide mixed signals

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Tuesday’s new coronavirus numbers for the state brought some mixed signals — a glimmer of hope on one hand with more cause for concern on another.

That was the message from Gov. Andy Beshear, who again did his daily briefing from his quarantine with his family at the Governor’s Mansion after they were exposed Sunday to the virus.

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The governor, his wife and both children tested negative Tuesday.

He reported 776 new cases, which was down about 200 from last Tuesday and when combined with Monday, was down about 100 from last Monday and Tuesday.

“We’ve been watching for any sign of a stabilization after these weeks of escalation. It’s early, but this is a hopeful sign. We’ll keep watching,” the governor said of the numbers.

Of the new cases, 111 are in kids under 18. The new cases pushed the state’s total to 81,691.

Of the new cases, 30 were in Madison County, 27 in Pike, 19 in Whitley, 18 in Jessamine, 17 in Harrison, 13 in Knox, 12 in Nelson and 11 in Clay.

While the new case numbers offer a glimmer of hope, some other key numbers are creeping up. The positivity rate rose to 4.59 percent. Also, the number of people in the hospital is up to 704 from 589 two weeks ago, the number of patients in ICU is at 170 compared to 129 two weeks ago and the number of people on ventilators is at 90, up from 81 two weeks ago.

“Those are a concern,” Beshear said.

The governor also reported 14 deaths, bringing the state’s total to 1,269.

Beshear reported 14 new deaths Tuesday, raising the total to 1,269 Kentuckians lost to the virus.

The deaths include a 76-year-old man from Daviess County; an 88-year-old man from Fayette County; two women, ages 74 and 87, and three men, ages 82, 88 and 82, from Henderson County; an 87-year-old man from Jessamine County; a 96-year-old man from Jefferson County; 91-year-old woman from Laurel County; two woman, ages, 68 and 95, from Madison County; a 59-year-old woman from McLean County; and a 90-year-old man from Montgomery County.

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. To see all recent daily reports, 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.

On related issues, Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack noted last week’s surge across the state put it in the White House Task Force’s ‘red’ zone with 31 counties in the ‘red’ and 10 in the ‘orange.” Stack noted the state once saw a concentration of cases in larger counties but now is seeing the spread across rural areas.

But he did say the state’s positivity rate, “for now,” is remaining between 4 and 5 percent.

“But we still depend on Kentuckians to do the right thing…we must do it” every day, Stack said.

Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman offered an update on the state’s school coronavirus self-reporting and while she praised the hundreds of schools that have kept their numbers updated, she excoriated more than 200 that haven’t reported.

Coleman spoke Tuesday about the K-12 school COVID-19 self-reported data dashboard, which went live Sept. 29.

“The dashboard provides an opportunity for school districts, local health departments and health care providers to work together for a safe return to in-person classes for every child,” she said. “Each community has actionable information that helps keep Kentucky open for business and on a path to a sustained return to in-person classes which is what we all want for our kids.”

Coleman, who also serves as secretary of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, noted all schools are required to report positive COVID-19 cases each weekday. Local health departments collect this information and transmit it to the Kentucky Department for Public Health, where it goes through a verification process.

The data can be found for a school, community, and the state at kycovid19.ky.gov, she said.

The lieutenant governor said currently 1,732 schools are in the database. At last report, there were nearly 800 students and more than 130 students in quarantine. Unfortunately, she also said more than 200 schools have failed to provide the required information.

“That is unacceptable and irresponsible,” Coleman said. “It jeopardizes the health of your students, school staff, their families and your community.”

She encouraged all districts to make the reporting a top priority.