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785 New COVID-19 Cases in Ky.; 29 in NKY

785 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 were announced Thursday by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, bringing the state's total to 37,686 since the pandemic began.

29 new cases were confirmed by the Northern Kentucky Health Department for the four-county region.

Beshear also reported six new deaths, bringing Kentucky's total to 796. No deaths were recorded in Northern Kentucky. 3,294 cases have been recorded here since March.

The governor continued to push Kentuckians to wear face-coverings to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“Wearing a facial covering is absolutely critical to what we want to be able to do in the commonwealth moving forward,” said Beshear. “Protect lives, protect people’s health, protect the economy and ultimately get our kids back to in-person classes.”

Twenty-five of the newly reported cases were from children ages 5 and younger.

“We know that we have a lot of work to do to create the type of safe environments that we need to,” said Beshear. “Wearing a facial covering is working. Other steps are working. But we need you to stick with it. We cannot make decisions that are going to cause a significant spread.”

As of Thursday, there have been at least 730,362 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate currently stands at 5.67%. At least 8,965 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.

“We had more than 100,000 kids test positive nationwide just in the last couple weeks of July. We are seeing an explosion of positive tests among our young people,” said Beshear. “We cannot experiment with the health of our children.”

Kentucky Department for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack argued Thursday that masks are helping slow the spread in the Commonwealth.

“When some of these states barreled forward, in Kentucky, we had a very measured and phased approach,” said Dr. Stack. “I think what we see is that the mask mandate is what impacted and hopefully flattened our curve.”

Stack also discussed how starting the K-12 school year virtually will give districts more time to prepare for a safe reopening later in the fall, as public health officials continue to learn more about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in classrooms, cafeterias, school buses and other spaces.

“Some schools have had to quarantine many students within days of kicking off the school year. I very much support the decision that the Governor made. I respect it’s a very difficult decision, but our disease burden for COVID-19 is at its all-time high,” said Stack. “We need to get kids back to school but we need to get kids back to school safely.”

Finally, Dr. Stack reminded Kentuckians that while the world is still waiting for a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, each of us can already protect ourselves, our families and our communities from another illness by getting our annual flu vaccine. Dr. Stack has also previously urged parents to keep children on their regular schedule for all other required and recommended vaccines.

“Get your flu shot. We need everyone to do this. We have to keep influenza as suppressed as we possibly can,” said Stack. “In a bad year with influenza, our hospitals are strained just keeping up with flu patients.”

-Staff report