Beshear, Dr. Stack urge Kentuckians to celebrate Thanksgiving safely

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – As hard as it may be, Kentuckians should limit their Thanksgiving gatherings, suffering the short-term pain the absence may bring for the long-term gain of more years together.

Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack and Gov. Andy Beshear encouraged Kentucky families to be safe this Thanksgiving, especially in light of the newest federal report for the commonwealth that emphasizes the risks of gathering with people from other households.

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They also encouraged Kentuckians to keep getting tested for COVID-19 and announced the state ranks sixth in the country for daily COVID-19 tests per million residents, according to Kaiser Health News.

“Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times during the year. It is a special time for my family which is normally spent with a lot of extended family,” said Beshear. “But this year those larger gatherings can be very dangerous. We are seeing COVID-19 spread and the resulting loss happening more at family and social gatherings than anywhere else right now. This, right now, is the most dangerous time we’ve had with this virus.”

Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving earlier in the fall (the second Monday of October) and both provincial and federal officials have pointed to the holiday as one cause for a recent spike in COVID-19 cases across their country.

“As you make your plans for the holidays, I urge you, please 2020 has been a mess for all of us but we’ve got to hang in there just a little bit longer,” said Dr. ‘Stack. “We are very optimistic in the first signs for the first vaccine to report information from its major trial. It suggests that our scientists have been able to figure out ways to get us back to life more like we used to know it, but we have to stay the course this Thanksgiving.

Community leaders, schools, businesses and families in red zone counties should continue to followreduction recommendations(school-specific recommendationshere). Kentuckians should also follow KDPHs Thanksgiving guidance, which includes:

  • Avoid in-person gatherings with people who do not live in your household.
  • Always wear a face covering or mask when you are not eating or drinking.
  • Maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet.
  • Avoid large gatherings, especially those held indoors.
  • Do not host or attend crowded parades.
  • Avoid shopping in crowded stores before, on or after Thanksgiving.

Kentuckians can choose creative, safer ways to celebrate, including:

  • Shopping online and/or at less crowded small businesses.
  • Enjoying hiking, hunting or other outdoor activities during the holiday weekend.
  • Supporting fellow Kentuckians by buying Kentucky Proud ingredients or ordering take-out from local restaurants for a Thanksgiving meal with their household.
  • Hosting a virtual dinner where they can share recipes with extended family and friends and spend time together remotely. Consider these conversation starters from Real Simple.

To learn more, see KDPHs full guidance, one-pager and guidance slide.

Beshear announced 2,120 new cases Tuesday, the highest Tuesday and the fifth-highest day on record. The state has recorded 124,646 total cases.

The positivity rate climbed to 7.68 percent while the number hospitalized reached 1,189 with 286 in ICU and 139 on a ventilator.

Top counties with the most positive cases today are: Jefferson, Fayette, Warren, Hardin, Madison and Laurel.

The red zone counties for this week can be found here.

The governor reported 14 deaths, raising the total to 1,590.

Those reported lost include an 80-year-old woman and a 69-year-old man from Bracken County; an 84-year-old man from Bullitt County; a 91-year-old woman from Daviess County; an 86-year-old man from Hopkins County; five men, ages 76, 84, 86, 87 and 89, from Jessamine County; an 87-year-old man from Marshall County; a 92-year-old woman from McLean County; a 68-year-old man from Muhlenberg County; and a 76-year-old man from Shelby County.

All five men from Jessamine County were residents at Thomson-Hood Veterans Center.

KDPH recommends a 14-day self-quarantine for travelers who are returning from any of these states reporting a COVID-19 test positivity rate of 15% or higher: South Dakota (53.97%), Iowa (48.29%), Kansas (41.27%), Idaho (38.64%), Wyoming (34.50%), Missouri (20.97%), Alabama (19.77%), Montana (18.14%), Utah (17.98%), North Dakota (16.11%), Pennsylvania (15.99%) and Wisconsin (15.39%).

To view the full daily report, incidence rate map, testing locations, long term-care and other congregate facilities update, school reports, the White House Coronavirus Task Force reports for Kentucky and other key guidance visit, kycovid19.ky.gov.

The governor praised the health department in Louisville for beginning surveillance and patrols for bars, restaurants an businesses not abiding by health and safety guidelines, including requiring masks and abiding by capacity limits.

Beshear said, “It is certainly a step” needed in other counties. In most other counties, health departments only act on complaints and don’t patrol looking for violators.

Since the outbreak began in March, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department has received 670 complaints received, issued 85 notices to correct violations, and cited six businesses.

The state also acknowledged the outbreak at the Lee Adjustment Center, a privately run facility in Beattyville, that which featured Monday in a WTVQ ABC 36 news story. The Kentucky State Police Academy also has one case and six possible cases and is taking steps to try to head off an outbreak.