FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The new coronavirus numbers aren’t getting any better for the state.
Gov. Andy Beshear reported 1,330 new cases Thursday, the fourth highest day yet which has come behind two of the other highest days Tuesday and Wednesday.
Since March, the state has recorded 92,299 cases
Even more concerning are the test rates and hospitalizations.
The positivity rate climbed to 5.3 percent, the highest since Aug. 19. The number of people in the hospital hit 800 with 214 in ICU and 105 on ventilators.
“We are now seeing worrisome hospitalization and hospital census numbers,” Beshear said during his daily briefing. “These numbers are dangerous.
“We aren’t just planning for the surge but we also are looking for additional recommendations for communities…asking our health care providers to help get the word out in their communities,” he continued.
He said communities are stepping up enforcement of mask mandates and related health and safety measures for businesses. But he said that’s not enough.
“We can’t enforce our way out of this…we have to have a shared social responsibility,” he stated.
He also reported 17 deaths, which brings the state total to 1,380.
Those reported lost to the virus include two women, ages 69 and 74, from Allen County; a 73-year-old man from Fayette County; two women, ages 60 and 78, from Greenup County; a 65-year-old woman from Hancock County; a 64-year-old woman from Hardin County; a 52-year-old man from Henderson County; a 95-year-old woman and an 84-year-old man from Jefferson County; an 87-year-old man from Jessamine County; a 93-year-old woman from Knott County; a 77-year-old woman from Lee County; a 76-year-old man from McCracken County; a 63-year-old man from Nicholas County; an 87-year-old man from Rockcastle County; and a 96-year-old man from Scott County.
The Governor implored all Kentuckians to take the virus seriously and shared three examples of other states dealing with preventable surges in cases and deaths. He said there is still time to prevent Kentucky from going the direction of Florida, Utah and Wisconsin.
The state also is seeing a surge in long-term care facilities, with 69 news residents and 56 new staff cases reported in one day. Seven more deaths also were confirmed.
Students also are seeing an increase with 73 new student cases in elementary and high schools reported. Another 31 staff cases were reported in the last day and almost 700 students and staff statewide are in quarantine.
A number of counties are monitoring their situations almost daily to make decisions on in-person, hybrid or virtual classes.
For instance, Estill County was in the ‘red’ category for weeks, at one point topping a rating above 50, is back into the ‘orange’ with a rate of 19.2 cases per 100,000 population.
Earlier this week the school board said it would let students and parents know by Saturday on how classes will proceed next week.
“A big thank you to our staff, students, parents and community for a job well done. In recent days Estill County has seen a steady decline in the number of COVID-19 cases. Please continue to wash your hands, social distance and wear a mask. Keep up the good work and be safe!” the district posted on social media.
“Estill County Schools will make decisions concerning school for the following week no later than Saturday afternoon. Our Metric Status is monitored daily and we will not hesitate to return to remote learning if our county sees a spike in cases,” the district added.
The county has had a total of 253 cases.
The governor encouraged parents, families and communities to plan to take extra steps now to enjoy Halloween but to keep it safe. If the traditional trick-or-treat habits are followed, the current surge could turn into a tragedy, the governor said, the virus spreading even worse through the state.
Kentucky is in the red zone for cases, according to the White House. There are more Kentuckians hospitalized with COVID-19 now than ever before.
“Remember, the CDC doesn’t think we ought to be trick-or-treating at all. I know kids are going to do it. I know how excited our kids are to do it, so please make your plan on how you are going to follow these steps to do it safely,” said Beshear. “It’s a sacrifice, but I’d like to think its a small sacrifice to better protect our people, our children and our seniors.”
The Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) has shared guidance online to help people choose fun, low-risk Halloween activities. Among the suggestions:
- At all events and activities, wear a face covering, sanitize hands often and maintain six feet of distance from others.
- Place individually wrapped candy outside on the porch, driveway or table.
- If you plan to trick-or-treat, do so in family groups in your own neighborhood and avoid congregating in large groups.
- Consider safer alternatives to trick-or-treating, including virtual Halloween costume contests, drive-by costume or car decorating contests with judges who are social distancing or a Halloween movie or game night at your home with your family.