Saturday numbers: 721 virus cases, 13 deaths, 4.14% positive-test rate; health chief says to get a flu shot to block ‘twindemic’

Kentucky Health News chart from initial daily reports, which are revised slightly downward.
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By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

After a Thursday with the most covid-19 deaths ever, and a Friday with the third-highest number of coronavirus cases and a big jump in the positive-test percentage, Kentucky recorded 721 cases, fewer deaths, and a return to a lower positive-test rate Saturday.

The percentage of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the last seven days fell to 4.14%, the same rate that was reported Thursday. On Friday, it was 4.7%, close to the 5% rate that public-health experts like to avoid.

“Our positivity rate is down from yesterday but we need to continue to push that number down,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a press release. “Make sure you’re protecting your family, yourself and one another.”

Beshear reported 13 more deaths, raising the state’s covid-19 toll to 1,057. The fatalities were an 89-year-old man from Barren County; an 83-year-old woman from Bell County; two 81-year-old men and two women, 80 and 83, from Jefferson County; a 78-year-old woman from Logan County; a 59-year-old woman from Muhlenberg County; a 76-year-old woman from Simpson County; and four from Warren County: three women 62, 81 and 93, and a 72-year-old man.

Beshear’s press release referred to the record 22 deaths reported Thursday and “a recent recent spike in new daily cases,” then quoted Health Commissioner Steven Stack urging Kentuckians to get a flu shot.

“As we wait for a vaccine, there’s one thing we can do,” Stack said. “We can get an immunization that already exists: the flu vaccine. Protecting ourselves against the flu is more important than ever. An influenza outbreak on top of the covid-19 pandemic could be disastrous this fall and winter. The health care systems upon which Kentuckians rely could be overwhelmed by what some say is a looming ‘twindemic’.”
Stack added, “If Kentuckians don’t follow guidelines, such as social distancing, mask-wearing and hand-washing, we could be headed into the worst fall, from a public-health perspective, that we’ve seen in a long time. Flu shots are widely available right now, and this weekend is as good a time as any to see your primary care provider or head to a clinic, drug store or other place offering it. In some cases, there’s even no charge, so please, take one for the team. Take one for Team Kentucky.”

In other covid-19 news Saturday:

  • Counties with 10 or more new cases are Jefferson, 144; Warren, 55; Fayette, 50; Hardin, 27; Madison, 27; Daviess, 24; Christian, 22; Allen, 21; Henderson, 19; Oldham, 18; Barren, 16; Franklin, 12; Lyon, 11; and Jessamine, Meade and Mercer, 10 each.
  • The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, which reports on a different schedule, said the city set a single-day record for new cases for the second day in a row, with 167, and “We are continuing to see a rise in cases among University of Kentucky students.”
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease specialist, contradicted President Trump’s assertion that the country is rounding the “final turn” in its fight with the virus. “By the time you mobilize the distribution of the vaccine and get a majority or more of the population vaccinated and protected, that’s likely not going to happen until the end of 2021,” he said, adding that if Americans are looking for “a degree of normality that resembles where we were prior to covid, it’s going to be well into 2021, maybe toward the end of 2021.”
  • Trump scheduled weekend events in Nevada, contrary to the state’s 50-person limit on gatherings. Campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley said people have the First Amendment right to “stand shoulder to shoulder” to express their views and “It can’t only be Trump events that cause coronavirus.”
  • Rebecca Shadowen, M.D.

    A doctor who was at the forefront of fighting covid-19 in one of the state’s hotspots died of the disease Friday night. Rebecca Shadowen, an infectious-disease specialist and epidemiologist at Med Center Health in Bowling Green, battled the disease for four months, said a news release from the hospital chain, which has five other hospitals in Southern Kentucky. Shadowen was a leader in the Bowling Green-Warren County Coronavirus Workgroup, the release said. “Dr. Shadowen will forever be remembered as a nationally recognized expert who provided the very best care for our patients and community,” said Connie Smith, president and CEO of Med Center Health, where Shadowen had been on the medical staff since 1989.