Trendline for new cases of the coronavirus remains up, but Beshear says cases at two Louisville facilities skew the numbers

Kentucky Health News chart shows trendline of new cases since May 3 (where there were 173) is up.
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By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

As Kentucky prepares to allow all retail stores to open Monday, its two-week trend of new coronavirus cases is up, contrary to the federal guidelines that say such reopening shouldn’t begin unless cases have shown a downward trajectory for the previous two weeks.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced 244 new cases Saturday, the second day in a row that tilted the state’s two-week trendline upward. That moved Kentucky into the red “criteria not met” category on the CovidExitStrategy.org website, which monitors states’ compliance with the guidelines.

The day before, the site ranked Kentucky it as yellow, “making progress.” The day before that, it was one of the two states rated green, for having met the guidelines. Saturday it was one of 22 states rated red. That was all the more notable because some labs don’t report test results on weekends.

CovidExitStrategy.org says Kentucky’s two-week trend shows an increase of 19 percent.

Beshear couldn’t be asked about the numbers because he didn’t hold a news briefing Saturday. Instead, he issued a five-minute video report.

“Today we’ve got a higher number of cases, but thankfully we’re continuing to see a lower number of deaths,” he said. The two deaths brought the state’s total to 334.

He noted that 94 of the new cases were from Jefferson County, and attributed that partly to outbreaks at Maryhurst, a residential treatment facility for abused and neglected girls, and the JBS meat-processing plant. Other counties reporting more than five new cases were Boone, 30; Warren, 25; Fayette, 19; Shelby, 10, and Kenton and Logan, seven each.

So far 7,688 Kentuckians have had the coronavirus, and 2,768 of have recovered from it, Beshear said. At least 129,405 people have been tested and 1,967 have been hospitalized; 438 are still in hospital and 270 are in intensive care — a sharp uptick from recent days, when the number had been increasing slightly.

“That’s up,” Beshear acknowledged, “and we gotta be thinking about those folks. We gotta watch that number.”

The governor reported five more deaths in long-term-care facilities, which account for most of the state’s deaths but lag the other date in reporting. He said 13 more residents and 13 more employees have tested positive, as the state mounts an effort to test everyone in nursing homes.

Beshear concluded his report with an appeal to limit activities and take precautions. “If we want to reopen this economy we’ve got to remember there is still a virus out there that spreads aggressively and to cert populations it can be deadly, so be healthy at home,” he said. “Look our for one another … be kind to one another, be a good neighbor and I will see you Monday at 5 p.m.”

The governor has stopped giving reports on Sundays, noting that reporting on weekends is incomplete.