Kentucky Health News
This month’s Kentucky State Fair will be only for credentialed participants in competitions, and will be closed to the general public.
Gov. Andy Beshear said he will require masks “until we have significant control over the virus” and will also continue his more recent ban on social gatherings of more than 10 people.
Hospitalizations for covid-19 in Kentucky set a new record, probably reflecting the July surge in cases, but Beshear said new cases this week are on a trend that could give the state its first weekly decrease in six weeks.
And the governor said he is preparing to let restaurants return to 50 percent capacity and allow bars to reopen, but require enforcement to keep patrons seated and discourage mixing.
Those were the big items from Beshear’s last scheduled briefing this week, which also touched on the virus in prisons, children’s vulnerability to the virus and weekend events that could be transmission sites for it.
State fair: The Kentucky State Fair Board‘s decision appeared to have been made at the behest of Health Commissioner Steven Stack. Beshear said Wednesday that Stack met recently with Fair Board Chair Steve Wilson and CEO David Beck after making recommendations to them and getting a reply.
Wilson, a recent Beshear appointee, said in response to a question Thursday that the board had not voted on the matter, “but the fair board‘s in complete support of all the efforts the governor’s done to keep our community healthy . . . It’s really impossible to enforce social distancing at a free concert,” one of the many events normally held at the fair.
Asked why the board hadn’t voted, Wilson replied, “Why would we want somebody to vote against healthy practices? Every single board member is in favor of the action.” Asked what he would say to those who will see rides in action at the leased Kentucky Kingdom amusement park that is part of the Louisville fairgrounds, but no midway operating at the fair, he said, “Kentucky Kingdom regulations were enforced before I became chairman.”
Wilson said he was happy that the board is able to continue its horse show, even without spectators, and youth livestock competitions. A state law says the board “shall hold an annual fair on the state fairgrounds, for the exhibition of agricultural, mechanical, horticultural, dairy, forestry, poultry, livestock, mineral, and all other industrial interests of the state.”
Noting that “deaths follow a large number of cases by a few weeks,” Beshear said the daily death list is “probably gonna be longer than this in the coming weeks, but I do feel hopeful, and I do feel optimistic, that if we will continue to wear that facial coverings, we will have found a way to stop what was going to be devastating, and hopefully to not just reach a plateau but to get back on the right track.”
|Kentucky Hospital Association coronavirus dashboard, before new numbers were reported Thursday|
Republican state Rep. Kim Moser of Taylor Mill, chair of the House Health and Welfare Committee, said on Facebook that she worked with KHA “to provide accurate information as we reopen and adjust our activities accordingly. The KHA has worked hard to standardize reporting among hospitals statewide to ensure consistency and accuracy.”
KHA President Nancy Galvagni said that in response to Moser, “KHA decided that policymakers of all stripes would benefit from having that kind of information, and we worked to produce basic facts that the General Assembly, the Executive Branch and the public could incorporate into their thinking about how best to respond to the pandemic.”
In other covid-19 news Thursday:
- Counties with more than five new cases were Jefferson, 148; Fayette, 33; Warren, 21; Madison, 18; Calloway, 15; Hardin, 13; Bell, 11; Graves and Oldham, 10 each; Franklin and Laurel, 9; Boone, 8; Jessamine, Kenton, McCracken, Shelby and Whitley, 7 each; Cumberland, Knox , Washington and Woodford, 6 each.
- A telephone poll taken in Kentucky July 30 through Aug. 3 by Connecticut’s Quinnipiac University found that 66 percent of registered voters approved of Beshear’s handling of the virus, and 30 percent disapproved. His overall job rating was slightly lower, 63-34, but the poll’s error margin was plus or minus 3.3 percentage points for each number. President Trump’s rating on the virus was 50-47, virtually the same as his overall job and favorability ratings.
- Asked about teachers complaining that some districts are requiring them to come to school to
deliver online instruction to students at home, Beshear said the districts should “strongly reconsider.” He said, “I know that’s the way things have always been done, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good reason to do it. . . . In the middle of a pandemic we have to do things differently . . . Everybody doesn’t need to be in every single day.”
Stack reported that the federal inter-agency team that visited Louisville this week to evaluate response in the state’s biggest hotspot complimented Kentucky’s system of tracing contacts of infected people and asking them to self-isolate, saying it is “one of the best that they’ve seen.”
Beshear renewed his plea for federal aid to make up state budget losses, saying the money would have one and half times the effect of other aid. “To us, it’s not political,” he said. “It’s a matter of survival.”
- The governor said he spoke with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, who discovered that he had the virus because he was planning to greet Trump on a visit to the state. Beshear said DeWine told him that he didn’t know how he became infected. DeWine doesn’t know how he got the virus, Beshear said. “It’s just an example of how this virus can spread very aggressively.”
- Misinformation about the virus is proving to be “highly contagious,” The Associated Press reports, and “There is seemingly no antidote in sight for the burgeoning outbreak of coronavirus conspiracy theories, hoaxes, anti-mask myths and sham cures. . . . Experts worry the torrent of bad information is dangerously undermining efforts to slow the virus.”