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COVID-19: Record Deaths in Ky.; 9.1% Positivity Rate; 250 New Cases in NKY

Kentucky saw its deadliest day since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with thirty-three new deaths reported.

The state recorded 2,931 newly confirmed coronavirus cases.

The Northern Kentucky Health Department reported 250 in Kenton, Boone, Campbell, and Grant counties (while state numbers indicate 233 new cases on Tuesday, though the state and the health departments do not always report at the same time).

According to the state figures, Boone County recorded 84 new cases while Kenton Co. saw 83, Campbell Co. 51, and Grant Co. 15.

Pendleton Co., which is in a different independent health district, recorded 12 new cases.

Governor Andy Beshear said that new restrictions are to be announced on Wednesday as part of the state's effort to slow the spread of the virus, which has killed 1,697 here since the pandemic began.

The positivity rate in the state is now at 9.1%.

“When we talk about our health care workers, we call them our front line of defense,” Beshear said. “But really, they’re our only line. We don’t have back up. So if we are going to truly care about them and ensure there are enough doctors and nurses to help people who are sick, we have to lower community spread.”

The White House Federal COVID-19 Report for Kentucky explained that “there is now aggressive, unrelenting, expanding broad community spread across the country, reaching most counties, without evidence of improvement, but rather further deterioration. Current mitigation efforts are inadequate and must be increased to sustain the health system for both COVID and non-COVID emergencies. We share the strong concern of Kentucky leaders that the current situation is worsening and that all Kentuckians need to do their part to stop the spread. The Governor’s active measures are commended.”

Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, shared new models that demonstrate how COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths will likely progress in the state if Kentuckians don’t take action to flatten the curve.

He showed the success of Kentucky’s Healthy at Home program and mask mandate in suppressing the virus and helping the state avoid an exponential increase in cases during the spring and summer. He said that without new action, Kentucky will likely see that exponential growth in cases in the fall and winter.

Dr. Stack explained that COVID-19 is expected to be the nation’s third leading cause of death in 2020, only behind heart disease and cancer.

“This is not political. We are trying to keep people safe from a once-in-a-century pandemic,” said Dr. Stack. “If your neighbor’s house is burning down, are you going to stand idly by, or are you going to try to rescue them from the fire? I am confident that if we come together we can interrupt this third climb, but it’s got to be Team Kentucky pulling together.”

He also highlighted a video from Pikeville Medical Center CEO Donovan Blackburn.

“Our COVID-19 ICU patients range from 32 years old to 90 years old,” said Blackburn. “With 83 COVID-19 patients and climbing, we – like other hospitals in the state and region – are nearing our capacity. We are also at risk of shutting down other vital services. So that we do not overburden our hospitals and health care workers, I urge all Kentuckians to please take this seriously and mask up.”

Gov. Beshear said he will announce additional steps to combat the virus Wednesday at 4 p.m.

“When you look at the severity of this, action has to be taken,” the governor said.

There are currently 1,521 people hospitalized in Kentucky, including 354 in intensive care units, and 178 on ventilators.

-Staff report

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