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Kenton Co. Testing Site Sees 800+ Tested; Cases Rise in NKY

The Northern Kentucky Health Department reported two more deaths in the four-county region as confirmed COVID-19 cases rise.

One Campbell County resident in their 90s and a Kenton County resident in their 80s died from complications related to the respiratory virus that is part of a global pandemic.

On Saturday, the health department confirmed eight new cases, bringing the region's total of confirmed cases to 262.

121 of those cases have been confirmed in Kenton County, 74 in Boone County, 53 in Campbell County, and 14 in Grant County.

Governor Andy Beshear on Saturday said that the state's total confirmed cases reached 2,707, with 144 deaths, including the two from Northern Kentucky who were among seven added to the state's roster during the governor's daily briefing.

Beshear also noted that 1,174 people, from among those confirmed cases, have fully recovered from COVID-19.

The governor also noted that the temporary drive-up testing site in Independence saw 212 tests conducted on Saturday, bringing its total since Wednesday to 848.

Saturday was the last day of operation for that site at Summit View Academy, which was part of a partnership between the state, Kroger Health, UPS, and Covington-based lab Gravity Diagnostics. That partnership is moving sites across the state, with the next cities to see operations open up being Madisonville, Somerset, and Pikeville.

On Friday, Beshear listed benchmarks for reopening the state, where the economy, like in so many other places around the world, has been mostly shuttered.

Beshear said that the state’s seven benchmarks to be assessed will determine the phases for reopening parts of the economy.

Benchmark criteria for Kentucky to move to the first stage

  • 14 days where cases are decreasing
  • Increased testing capacity and contact tracing
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) availability
  • Ability to protect at-risk populations
  • Ability to social distance and follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on large gatherings
  • Preparedness for possible future spike
  • Status of vaccine and treatment

 Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Department for Public Health said, “Normal going forward is not the same as normal going into this. When we start lifting restrictions, I want to be very clear, there will be more disease. More people will get infected. There is a counterbalancing need with people’s need to go on with life and people’s need to remain safe. We have recognized that all along.” 

Once Kentucky meets certain first stage benchmarks, the White House provided guidance on what the first stage of reopening could like, which could include:

Guidance for the first stage of reopening

Individuals

  • Individuals should continue to practice good hygiene
  • People who feel sick should stay home
  • All vulnerable individuals should continue to shelter in place
  • All individuals, when in public, should maximize physical distance from others
  • All individuals should avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, unless precautionary measures can be strictly observed
  • Minimize non-essential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines regarding isolation following travel

Employers

  • Should continue to encourage telework
  • If possible, should return to work in phases
  • Close common areas
  • Minimize non-essential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines regarding isolation following travel
  • Strongly consider special accommodations for personnel who are members of a vulnerable population

Specific types of employers

  • Schools and organized youth activities that are currently closed should remain closed
  • Visits to senior living facilities and hospitals should still be prohibited
  • Large venues (sit-down dining, movie theaters, sporting venues, places of worship) can operate under strict physical distancing protocols
  • Elective surgeries can resume, as clinically appropriate, on an outpatient basis at facilities that adhere to CMS guidelines
  • Gyms can reopen if they adhere to strict physical distancing and sanitation protocols
  • Bars should remain closed

For more information on the White House’s criteria and all three proposed phases of reopening, visit whitehouse.gov/openingamerica.

-Staff report

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