With record number of new cases, and high positive test rates and hospitalizations, this could be Kentucky’s worst covid-19 day yet

Kentucky Health News chart; hospital data hasn’t been reported daily and recently changed systems.
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By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

With coronavirus cases at a new high, and hospitalizations and positive test rates up significantly, Saturday could have been Kentucky’s worst day yet in the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Andy Beshear reported 583 new cases, the highest number found in a single day. (The state reported 625 cases on May 5, but almost half were found over several days at a prison.) That pushed the state’s seven-day rolling average to 447 cases, a new high for the fifth day in a row.

“That means this is a dangerous time and it can’t be explained away by our increase in tests,” Beshear said in his daily news release. “We’ve got to be careful. We’ve got to make sure that we are wearing our facial coverings, because today’s cases are a reflection of 14 days ago, before we mandated those. This is what it’s going to take if we want to save our economy and save lives and get our kids back in school; it’s really that simple.”

The seven-day average for positive tests is also up, to 4.66%, from 4.19% on Friday. Beshear has warned, “Once you go over 5, they say you ought to consider rolling back.”

Hospitalizations are also up. The daily report shows 514 people are currently hospitalized with the virus and 109 are in intensive care. On Monday, Kentucky Health News reported that last week’s averages were 439 and 106 respectively. The number of hospitalizations equaled the number reported on June 11, but the figures may not be comparable because the hospital reporting system has changed.

On Friday, the Supreme Court of Kentucky issued a unanimous order blocking several legal challenges to Beshear’s emergency orders, most notably his mask mandate, which took effect Friday, July 10. Beshear said local elected officials like Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley support the mandate.

“I’ve been encouraged to see near 100 percent compliance since Gov. Beshear implemented what was needed to protect our people,” Mosley said in Beshear’s release. “With 85 new cases in one week in our county, compared to 40 over the last four months, we owe it to our loved ones to try even harder. Just like many of us own a weapon to protect our families from intruders into our homes, a mask is our weapon to keep the coronavirus from intruding into our lives as well. I appreciate the governor giving us this tool to protect the people we love.”

The state reported nine more deaths Saturday from covid-19, raising the toll to 667. Five were from Logan County: three women, 78, 80 and 81; and two men, 83 and 96; an 88-year-old woman from Shelby County; a 64-year-old man from Simpson County; a 76-year-old woman from Warren County; and a 93-year-old woman from Jefferson County.

Oldham County stood out in the report for the first time as the county with the most new cases, 106. That could have been a result of reporting from the Kentucky State Reformatory, which is having an outbreak. The county has two other state prisons, but state officials have not reported any outbreaks at them.

Jefferson County had 101 new cases Saturday. Others in double figures were Warren, 32; Kenton and Laurel, 20 each; Fayette and Scott, 17 each; Graves, 16; Bell, Hardin, and Ohio, 13 each; Pike, 12; Boone, 11; and Barren, 10.

Ohio County leads the state in new cases per capita over the last two weeks, followed by Carroll, Casey, Bell, Graves and Cumberland, according to a compilation by The New York Times.