State’s positive-test rate stays below 5% for the fourth day this week, while daily new-case numbers remain on a slow uptick

Kentucky School Boards Association map shows compliance with governor’s request. Butler County should be in orange, and in some blue districts, school boards have authorized superintendents to start in-person classes before Sept. 28. For a larger version, click on it.
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By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
Gov. Andy Beshear announced Friday that Kentucky has 792 new coronavirus cases, continuing this week’s slow uptick in daily case numbers, but a lower positive test rate of 4.5 percent.
“We still have a whole lot of cases in Kentucky which means a number of people get sick and we lose a number of people, too,” Beshear said in a news release. “The good news is our positivity rate continues to decline. If we keep wearing these masks and we keep doing the work, we can get this to a manageable level to get our kids back in school and get back to more of our old lives.”
This is the fourth day this week the share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the last seven days has been under 5%. Going over 5% puts counties and states in the White House Coronavirus Task Force “yellow zone.”
The rolling seven-day average for daily new cases is 658, the fourth highest total of the pandemic. Unadjusted case totals for the Saturday-to-Friday week, which are used by the White House task force, were 4,605, well above the 1 per 1,000 residents that puts states in the task force’s “red zone” for cases.
People 18 and younger accounted for 114 of the new cases; 27 of those were 5 or younger. The youngest was a 1-month-old from Green County.
Beshear started regularly announcing children’s case numbers after getting resistance to his limits on child-care-center capacity, and his recommendation that schools delay in-person classes until Sept. 28 to help get the virus under control. He is expected to announce new child-care rules Monday.

The state’s daily K-12 school report shows 14 more students and nine more employees have tested positive, with active cases in 99 students and 40 staff.

The universities and colleges report shows 175 new student and five new staff have tested positive for the virus; active cases involve 481 students and 15 employees. The University of Kentucky had the highest number of new cases, 118, followed by Union College at Barbourville with 26.

Beshear reported eight more covid-19 deaths Friday, raising the state’s total to 918. They were of an 85-year-old woman and an 86-year-old man from Christian County; a 69-year-old woman from Barren County; a 94-year-old woman from Carroll County; a 78-year-old woman from Scott County; a 58-year-old woman from Taylor County; a 73-year-old man from Union County; and a 92-year-old man from Warren County.

“Again, it’s been a hard month. It’s going to probably be an even harder September,” said Beshear.  “Make sure that you’re praying for these families.”

Beshear reminded Kentuckians on Monday that with a 2% death rate from the virus, weeks with more than 4,000 cases, as the state has now seen for three weeks running, will result in the loss of 80 people  to the virus, most of them weeks after the cases are reported.

Counties with more than 10 new cases Friday were Jefferson, 193; Fayette, 91; Madison, 56; Warren, 34; Christian and Rowan, 28 each; Daviess, 18; Kenton and Pulaski, 17 each; Green, 15; Hardin, 13; and Bullitt, 12.

In other covid-19 news Friday:

  • The state’s daily report said 572 people are hospitalized in Kentucky with covid-19 and 158 are in intensive care.
  • Lexington, which follows a different reporting schedule than the state, reported 100-plus cases of the virus on the second straight day for the second time, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.  
  • Tina Ryan, school nurse at East Calloway Elementary, part of Calloway County Schools, one of the 30 or so Kentucky districts that have opened to in-person learning, voiced mixed feelings to Liam Niemeyer of Ohio Valley Resource. Not only are children are asymptomatic carriers of the virus, “She worries about parents and families not following covid-19 guidelines and then sending their kids to her school,” Niemeyer reports. “She worries about her students with chronic illnesses who could be more vulnerable, across the hundreds of students she cares for in multiple schools.” But despite those worries, Ryan said “I just feel like that kids, physically, mentally, socially, they need to be back in school. It’s time to be back. They want to be back. And again, if they don’t, if the parents choose not to, that’s their option.”
  • The Kentucky Board of Education discussed high-school sports for almost three and a half hours, then voted unanimously to send the Kentucky High School Athletic Association a letter expressing concern about high-contact sports such as football and suggesting alternatives to the KHSAA’s plan.
  • WDRB graph for July 9, July 29, Aug. 27;
    for a larger version, click on it.

    The state has made little progress eliminating its backlog of unemployment claims, despite “an expensive, no-bid contract” with a national accounting firm that provided employees to do the work, Chris Otts reports for WDRB: “Kentucky has about the same amount of backlogged unemployment claims today – 73,642 – as in early July when Ernst & Young was beginning its short-term contract work.”

  • The Supreme Court of Kentucky gave tenants and landlords an extra 14 days between an initial eviction filing and when a trial can be set, saying that would give “landlords and tenants sufficient time to access available rental assistance through the Healthy at Home Eviction Prevention Fund,” which Beshear is creating with federal relief money.
  • “The head of the Food and Drug Administration ousted its top spokeswoman from her position on Friday in an urgent bid to restore the tarnished credibility of the agency after he made erroneous claims that overstated the benefits of plasma treatments for covid-19 at a news conference with President Trump,” The New York Times reports. “The decision came just a day after the FDA’s parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, terminated the contract of a public-relations consultant who had advised the FDA commissioner, Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, to correct his misleading claims that 35 out of 100 covid-19 patients ‘would have been saved because of the administration of plasma’.” FactCheck.org debunks the claim, also made by Trump.