"Unquestionable Results": Beshear Says Masks Are Working in Ky.'s COVID Fight
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear was cautiously optimistic on Monday during his daily update on COVID-19.
The weekly case count, still markedly higher from where it was in the spring, appears to be leveling off after beginning the summer with an extended spike. Beshear credited the wearing of face masks, mandated by his office on July 10, for basically flattening the weekly count.
"What the numbers are telling us is that facial coverings and masks are working," Beshear said.
The governor said that the data show "unquestionable results" from the mask mandate.
Beshear supported his argument with a graph showing that coronavirus cases began to increase in Kentucky in early June and then seriously spiking in July, with a 48-percent increase week to week during the week of July 6, and then another 52-percent increase. Over the past two weeks, however, there have been comparatively lower increases of 4 and 5 percent, respectively.
To support what Beshear said was a cause for progress in weekly case count growth, the state is launching a promotional campaign to advocate for more universal mask-wearing. The digital and broadcast campaign, dubbed Mask Up Kentucky, will feature the social media hashtag, #MaskUpKY.
Beshear argued that the campaign supports an effort to return kids to school, to support the economy, and return people to work.
"We need every Kentuckian wearing a mask or a facial covering. It's that simple," Beshear said. "We can choose our lives and our health, we can choose our schools, we can choose our economy. We can choose them all."
Beshear called it a simple choice to wear a mask.
"If we are united in this fight, if we not only make the decision to wear a mask, we can defeat this virus before a vaccine even comes out," Beshear said. "Let's make sure our kids can get back in school, let's make sure we rebuild this economy, and get people back to work.
"Let's mask up, Kentucky."
Beshear confirmed 323 new COVID-19 cases in the state on Monday.
"That's 323 too many after having days in the five and six hundreds, and a Sunday that was higher than today, this is at least good news as of today and we'll see through this week," Beshear said.
The positivity rate decreased slightly to 5.18%.
Currently, 612 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, 136 of whom are in the intensive care unit.
Beshear said that he "was just on a call with the White House."
"They are seeing their positivity rate for us down as well," he said. "They are, like us, hopeful. We were thanked on the call for what they described as leaning in, taking the steps that were required and they see in their modeling that that is what is happening."
Kentucky has seen 31,508 total cases since the pandemic arrived here and 744 total deaths, two of which were announced on Monday. However, the governor warned that, "We're going to have a tough month ahead in terms of Kentuckians we have lost because any day we have those big number of cases, with our mortality rate, we're going to lose Kentuckians."
"It's another good reason to wear that mask," he said.
Beshear also announced that there will be new testing sites, including one in Northern Kentucky, starting on August 6. Further details were expected later.
Dr. Steven Stack also warned that the COVID outlook is bleaker in the southern U.S., and that Kentucky has "a whole hurricane beneath us."
"Please, stay the course," Stack said.
Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher