State reports 1,002 new coronavirus cases, but hospitalizations decline for second day and positive-test rate falls slightly

By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

Two months ago, a report that Kentucky had more than 1,000 new cases of the coronavirus for the second straight day would have sparked considerable concern. But Saturday’s number of 1,002 was merely tied for eighth among the state’s daily totals, as the state’s third major escalation of cases began its third month.

“The number of positive cases is increasing at a troubling pace,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a press release. “We’ve had multiple week-over-week increases and we are at an all-time high here in Kentucky. Don’t fool around with this virus. Take steps to protect your health and the health of others: stay at least six feet from other people, wear a mask and wash your hands often.”

The state’s seven-day rolling average of new cases stands at 869; fewer than 700 cases were reported Sunday and Monday, typically low-number days.

Kentuckians 18 and younger made up 108 of the new cases, the release noted. “It’s past time for us to get back to the behaviors that we know curb the spread of this virus,” Beshear added. “It’s time to buckle down and treat this thing like the deadly disease that it is.”

The state reported seven more deaths from covid-19, bringing its toll to 1,249. The fatalities were a 60-year-old man from Hancock County; an 87-year-old man from Carter County; a 58-year-old woman from Harlan County; a 93-year-old woman and an 89-year-old man Union County; a 91-year-old woman from Daviess County; and an 80-year-old man from Hardin County.

The share of Kentuckians who were tested for the virus and found to have it in the last seven days is 4.16 percent, down slightly from Friday’s 4.32%. The average for the week was 4.36%.

Health Commissioner Steven Stack noted in the release that 20 to 40 percent of people who get the virus may not know they have it. “This is a real danger with this virus,” he said, “since this large proportion of people without symptoms can be contagious and spread it to vulnerable people who get very sick.”

Stack added, “It’s important for all Kentuckians in every community to understand this risk. If you are in a ‘green’ county on the map this week, you might be ‘yellow’ next week. This week’s ‘yellow’ could become next week’s ‘red.’ Covid-19 is no joke. Not only is it deadly, especially among older people and those with health conditions, but increasingly, there’s evidence of lingering effects including prolonged loss of smell, difficulty breathing, fatigue, ‘brain fog’ and other issues.”

The state’s daily report said 652 people were hospitalized in Kentucky for covid-19 and 170 of them were on intensive care. The number in hospitals jumped to an apparent record of 701 Thursday but has dropped since.
In other coronavirus news Saturday:
  • Counties with 10 or more new cases were: Jefferson, 167; Fayette, 60; Henderson, 39; Hardin, 36; Warren, 31; Christian, 30; Knox, 29; Daviess, 27; Boone, 26; Calloway, 26; Kenton, 25; Estill, 17; McCracken, 17; Hopkins, 16; Whitley, 15; Bullitt, Campbell and Madison, 13 each; Scott, 12; Clark, Pike, Pulaski and Union, 11 each; and Adair, Bell, Jessamine, Ohio and Taylor, 10 each.
  • Members of a group that hung Beshear in effigy at the Capitol May 24 “demanded an apology from him Friday for labeling them terrorists,” reports the Courier Journal, which asked the group for comment on Beshear’s Thursday remarks. The Kentucky Three Percenters wrote, “We are not racists, white supremacists, right-wing fanatics nor are we domestic terrorists.” The newspaper noted, “In 2019, the Southern Poverty Law Center tracked 15 hate groups in Kentucky, ranging from the white-supremacist Ku Klux Klan to the Black separatist Nation of Islam. Three Percenters were not on that list.” It said Beshear had not responded to a request for comment.
  • Hopes for another pandemic relief bill before the Nov. 3 election largely evaporated, as Democrats and Republicans found several different reasons to dislike a $1.8 trillion proposal from the Trump administration, The Washington Post reports: Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, a GOP leader, “called a proposed expansion of Affordable Care Act tax credits to the unemployed ‘an enormous betrayal’ of the GOP’s long-standing opposition to Obamacare,” and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “said the president’s offer did not contain enough spending for unemployment insurance, state and local aid, child care, or other Democratic priorities. She said it also includes ‘reckless’ language on liability protections for businesses and others.”