Monday starts bad, last week’s COVID record 25% higher

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Gov. Andy Beshear reported 1,092 new coronavirus cases Monday, breaking the trend of the state normally seeing slightly lower new case numbers on Mondays.

And if Monday’s total was “lower,” then this week might top last week’s record which already had soared above the previous record.

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According to Beshear, the state recorded 11,700 cases last week, up 25.33 percent from the previous week, which had set a record at 9,335.

Through Monday, the state has recorded 109,670 cases since March.

Beshear remained confident that if cities and counties that fall within “red” categories abide by the state’s recommendations to limit exposure and follow guidelines, the state can begin to curb the current surge.

“If we follow them, it will work,” he said of the recommendations.

“In America and in Kentucky, this is getting increasingly more and more dangerous. The newest numbers are absolutely staggering,” said Beshear. “We’re losing 1,200 Americans per day and we have some individuals who say, ‘Oh, its not real.’ Think about the amount of grief that is crying out every day in this country and this commonwealth based on those who we have lost.

“Our action or inaction is resulting in a loss of lives that is inconceivable,” he continued, noting that nationwide the country is losing a person every two minutes to coronavirus causes. “It’s absolutely staggering.”

Community leaders, businesses, schools and families in counties listed in the red zone on Thursdays should follow nine recommendations the following Monday through Sunday. All Kentuckians should consider adopting some of these recommendations to help their county avoid the red zone.

He noted that based on anecdotal evidence, state residents did a “pretty good job” of practicing health and safety rules Halloween although he admitted he was “sure some people didn’t follow the rules.”

The state’s positivity rate rose to 6.25 percent, the highest since June 1. In addition, 988 people are in the hospital, 270 are in ICU and 142 are on ventilators, all near records.

But even with the rising key indicators, the governor said for now the recommendations for how schools should operate in the “red,” “orange” and “yellow” zones remain just that, “recommendations.

“I don’t think we’ll have to change that for schools,” he said, noting schools and school districts are doing a “good job” making responsible decisions.

The governor also reported three deaths, bringing the state total to 1,492.

Those reported lost to the virus include an 82-year-old man from Hardin County; a 93-year-old man from Jessamine County; and a 59-year-old man from Whitley County.

On other subjects, the governor:

— Continued to condemn the fact Kentucky Department of Safety training materials used seven years ago included quotes from Hitler and Robert E. Lee. Furthermore, the state is investigating the incident on a variety of fronts to “get all the facts,” the governor said.

“We want to make sure it happened only once and even then, we want to know how, I don’t care how long ago it was. And we want to check training materials in other departments, across the board,” to be sure.

“It’s not enough to think it only happened once.

“We believe that presentation was only given one single time, to one single class, but it is absolutely and totally unacceptable. Unacceptable. While we believe that this was used just one time six years ago, were not stopping there. We are checking all training materials going back in time and looking at the present,” he repeated. “We’re committed to making this right. To our brothers and sisters in the Jewish community and the Black community in Kentucky, this should never have happened. You should never have to see this news.”

In addition, he said the incident re-enforced efforts to increase diversity in hiring and training across every department, steps that already have been under way in state departments for months.

— Said he didn’t anticipate any civil unrest in the wake of election results Tuesday night and Wednesday. Some larger communities have developed response and security plans in anticipation of possible violence and riots, depending on election results.

“We are monitoring situations, but we don’t anticipate any civil unrest…hopefully we realize the next day we are all Americans…hopefully we can leave all the ugliness we see online and sometimes in person, behind us,” he continued.

— Updated Kentuckians that he has designated $15 million in CARES funding for theHealthy at HomeUtility Relief Fund. The fund can assist households with income up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level that have suffered financially due to COVID-19, covering up to $500 for past-due utility, water or wastewater bills.

For a limited number of households, the fund can pay up to $200 for past-due electric or natural gas bills, up to two times. Kentuckians can apply at their local Community Action Agency: To locate your local office, call 800-456-3452 or visitwww.capky.org.

Applicants will need the following documentation:

  • Most current utility bill;
  • Proof of arrearage, payment plan or disconnect notice for utilities;
  • Proof of Social Security Number or Permanent Residence card (Green Card) for each member of the household; and
  • Proof of all households (all members) income from the preceding month.

“Again, this is just another way, on top of health care, food assistance, rental assistance and the extra $400 of unemployment the state opted to provide when not many other states did that we are trying to help people make it through,” said Beshear.

— Advised absentee voters to use drop boxes this close to Election Day. “If you still have an absentee ballot, don’t mail it; take it to a drop box. That’s the best way to make sure that it is counted,” said Beshear.