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Bars to Close, Restaurant Capacity Reduced as Ky.'s Positivity Rate Ticks Up

Kentucky continues to see a spike in COVID-19 cases as well as in its positivity rate, which is determined by the number of people testing positive for the novel coronavirus among those tested.

On Monday, Governor Andy Beshear announced new restrictions in an attempt to slow the spread.

Bars will close on Tuesday for two weeks and restaurants will see their indoor dining capacity reduced from 50 to 25 percent.

"We either become the next Florida or we get it under control and save the lives of our people and protect our economy," said Beshear, referencing of the hardest-hit states.

Beshear met with White House coronavirus response team coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx on Sunday and said that his orders on Monday, which also included the recommendation that schools not open until at least the third week of August, are in line with the Trump administration's guidelines.

In addition to the bar and restaurant orders, Beshear said that his mask mandate issued on July 10 and his reduction of private gatherings from fifty people to ten on July 20, are also part of the state's strategy to reduce its infection numbers and positivity rate, which stands at 5.58% as of Monday.

"There has been a steady increase over time. We have got to see that start coming down," Beshear said of the positivity rate.

Another 522 newly confirmed cases were announced on Monday bringing Kentucky's total to 27,601 since the pandemic began.

The state has conducted more than 588,000 COVID-19 tests.

609 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19 with 131 in an intensive care unit.

7,466 people have recovered, but Beshear said that that number is the hardest for the state to track.

Dr. Steven Stack, Kentucky's commissioner of the Department of Public Health, said that Kentucky's numbers started to rise when the state loosened restrictions. He noted that when most people in the state were staying home due to the orders at the time, the "curve" was flattened. Since then, it has steadily risen.

This story may be updated.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher

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