No covid-19 deaths and a relatively low number of coronavirus cases reported in Kentucky, as holiday weekend reporting lags

State Department for Public Health map, labeled by Ky. Health News; for larger version, click on it.
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By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

Kentucky reported no additional deaths from covid-19 Monday, and only 291 cases of the novel coronavirus, but state officials cautioned that the impact of the holiday weekend won’t be understood for weeks.

“I’ll take any day we’re not announcing new deaths, but we know this is only due to less reporting because of the long holiday weekend,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a press release. “We’ve lost nearly 1,000 of our fellow Kentuckians to this deadly virus. When we see rising cases like the last couple weeks, we know more deaths follow cases by a couple weeks. Let’s recommit to seeing fewer cases and deaths here.”
Noting that Labor Day celebrates work, Beshear said, “This year more than ever, I’m thinking about all the nurses, doctors and other hospital support staffers and other front-line workers who have helped us during this pandemic. We also need to remember the thousands of teachers, administrators and others working to educate our children in these trying times. I hope you’ll join me on this Labor Day in thanking all of the essential workers who are sacrificing for the common good. Remember, the best way to show people you care about them is to mask up, keep social distance, keep gatherings to 10 people or fewer and follow the other guidelines to keep us safe.”
Kentucky Health News chart, based on state data

The governor’s press release said the percentage of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus, “based on a seven-day rolling average, taking into account total positive tests reported by laboratories divided by total tests reported by labs,” was 4.34%.

Health Commissioner Steven Stack praised Kentuckians who are committed to blunting the virus.

“Citizens of our commonwealth are demonstrating this concern for others by wearing face coverings when going out in public, keeping a social distance of at least six feet and thorough hand-washing,” he said. “What troubles me is what we might see in two or three weeks and beyond if people don’t follow guidance, including limiting crowds to 10 people or under and congregating less frequently.”

Stack noted that the Aug. 30 report identified 14 “red zone” counties, with the highest rates of new cases and positive-test results. “We need to look at the 106 other counties as ‘smoldering’,” he said. “Just because we don’t live, work or visit a red county doesn’t mean we can let our guard down. All it takes is one event that brings a lot of people together to cause an outbreak and become a ‘red’ county. Covid-19 has a spectrum of impacts ranging from the inconvenience of quarantine to more severe consequences such as prolonged illness for many, hospitalization for some and death for the most vulnerable.”

Counties with more than five new cases on the state’s daily report were Fayette, 51; Jefferson, 46; Warren, 29; Campbell, Grayson, Pike and Union, 9 each; Kenton, 8; Bullitt, Greenup and Henderson, 7 each; and Bell, Boone and Jessamine, 6 each.
Information on hospitalizations was delayed until Tuesday, as was the weekly report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

In other covid-19 news Monday:

  • “Infectious-disease experts are warning of a potential cold-weather surge of coronavirus cases — a long-feared ‘second wave’ of infections and deaths, possibly at a catastrophic scale,” report Joel Achenbach and Rachel Weiner of The Washington Post. “It could begin well before Election Day, Nov. 3, although researchers assume the crest would come weeks later, closer to when fall gives way to winter.”
  • State Rep. Attica Scott, D-Louisville, announced that she had tested positive for the coronavirus. She has been a fixture at downtown demonstrations about the police killing of Breonna Taylor, Chris Williams of WHAS-TV reported. He noted that Scott didn’t say anything about symptoms and that she had not responded to a request for an interview.

Lexington’s WKYT replayed its five-part “Misinformation Pandemic” series that aired last week on its alternate CW channel. Garrett Wymer and Kristen Kennedy busted several covid-19 myths, including:

  • More positive cases are being reported because more people are getting tested? That’s only part of the cause, University of Kentucky epidemiologist Kathleen Winter said.
  • Covid-19 is not “like the flu,” which has vaccines and anti-viral therapies, Winter said: “We are still learning all the ways that this virus can attack the body. It doesn’t just present as a respiratory infection.”
  • Children can’t get it? A nine-year-old who got is was interviewed; his mother said she worries about it flaring up or scarring his lungs. Kennedy noted that 694 cases of multi-system inflammatory syndrome, which flares up as a delayed reaction of a child’s immune system to the virus, have been reported in U.S. children.
  • Kennedy said the best source of coronavirus information is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.