As COVID cases mount, state making surge preparations

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Graphic courtesy: MGN Online

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state is putting together surge preparations for hospitals and health care facilities, including plans to potentially return to using state parks as hospitals, as the new coronavirus cases in the state set more records, the positivity rate tops 5 percent and the number of hospitalizations continue to climb.

“We have begun surge preparations,” Gov. Andy Beshear announced grimly Tuesday during his daily briefing. :We are going back to our plans for capacities, using state parks, everything.”

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“It is everywhere…the escalation is worse than the original,” he added, referring to the March and April when the virus first appeared in the state.

The state confirmed 1,312 new cases Tuesday, the fourth highest day on record. That pushed the state’s total to 89,544 Of the new cases, 144 are in kids 18 and under.

“Our cases continue to go up, our hospitalization continues to go up and we continue to see more people in the ICU. And if we cant get everybody’s buy in and we can’t get more people doing the right thing each and every day, my concern is that we are going to experience a real surge that we must avoid,” said Gov. Beshear. “But if were going to face it, I want you to know that we are spending our time getting prepared.”

The other key barometers are as bad. The positivity rate increased to 5.08 percent, the number of people in the hospital rose to 776, the number of people in ICU topped 202 at 202 and the number of people on ventilators neared 100 at 96.

The positivity rate is the highest since Aug. 25.

In its weekly report to the state, the White House Coronavirus Task Force said 70 percent of the state was seeing moderate or serious community spread of the virus. Laurel Whitley, Pike, Knox, Jessamine and Shelby in the region were among 12 counties in the ‘red’ on the White House list and Scott, Perry, Garrard, and Nelson were among those in the ‘orange.’

The numbers are as bad in deaths and the impact on vulnerable populations like veterans homes and long-term care facilities.

The governor reported 16 deaths, bringing the state’s total to 1,342.

Those lost to the virus include a 56-year-old woman from Bell County; a 73-year-old man from Boyd County; an 86-year-old woman from Daviess County; two women, ages 96 and 97, from Fayette County; an 82-year-old woman from Hopkins County; four women, ages 67, 74, 76 and 80, from Jefferson County; a 92-year-old woman and three men, ages 64, 94 and 96, from Jessamine County; an 89-year-old man from Marshall County; and a 78-year-old man from Muhlenberg County.

The outbreak at the Thomson-Hood Veterans Home in Wilmore has worsened with five deaths now among veterans and 71 residents testing positive. One of those has recovered.

Another 42 staff have tested positive.

Of the positive residents, 13 have been moved to the VA Hospital in Lexington and 52 are on a special COVID wing.

The Veterans Administration has sent 15 emergency nurses to help the facility staff.

In addition, two veterans at the Paul Patton Eastern Kentucky Veterans Center in Hazard also have died.

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. 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.