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COVID-19: Ky. Sees Highest Weekly Total Yet; Gov. Remembers NKY's Alice Sparks

Kentucky saw its highest weekly total of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases yet when nearly 5,000 were counted last week.

In his daily update on Monday, Governor Andy Beshear asked for residents of the Commonwealth to understand "urgency", and he also took a moment to remember Alice Sparks, the well-known Ft. Mitchell woman who died from COVID-19 last week. The former Northern Kentucky University regent who was the first woman to chair a board of regents at a Kentucky public university was 86 years old.

“Let’s call and check on the families who have lost someone,” said Beshear. “I lost my friend Alice Sparks at the end of last week. She lived a wonderful life and lived life to its fullest, but she should still be with us.”

Sparks was awarded an honorary doctorate in education from NKU in 2018. She was highly active with the Highland Heights campus, sponsoring sports events. The ticket office at BB&T Arena was named in her honor.

In addition, her philanthropy extended to many other local organizations and she was awarded the Devou Cup from the Northern Kentucky Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, along with several other honors.

She was a founding member of SSK Company Communities, a manufactured home operation, and was the widow of D. Joseph Sparks, who owned the Hebron-based highway construction business, the Harper Company.

On Monday, an additional 456 confirmed cases were announced in Kentucky bringing the state's total to 66,939 since the pandemic began. Five additional deaths were reported bringing the state's total to 1,162.

“Last week we had almost 5,000 cases in Kentucky – the most we have ever had. Now what we believe that we are seeing, I believe we’re seeing it nationally, is the start of a new escalation,” Beshear said. “As we come toward a fall season and winter, where more people are going to be inside and we know the virus spreads faster, we’ve got to do better than this. We can’t be casual right now.”

The Northern Kentucky Health Department reported 78 new cases on Monday bringing the four-county region's total to 4,558. Two deaths were also reported bringing the region's total to 96.

“What I hope really sinks in for everybody watching is the word ‘urgency,’” the governor said. “I believe that since maybe the traditional start of school, we have become more casual in our approach to COVID and our concerns about COVID, and how well we follow those rules and guidelines that are out there. It’s been seven months and most of us have never had to deal with something like this for seven months. But the virus is here and it waits for us to get casual. When we get casual, what we see is alarming trends in the virus. We will get through this, but when we get to the other side, do you want to look back and think, ‘We could have done better,’ when doing better is about saving people’s lives?”

As of Monday, there have been at least 1,373,577 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate was 4.41%, and at least 11,787 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.

-Staff report

Photo: Alice Sparks (via NKU)

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