214 new covid-19 cases reported Monday, keeping trendline up; protests spread virus; experts say key is 80% wearing masks

Kentucky Health News chart shows two-week trendline about where it was on Saturday: up.

As news develops about the coronavirus and its covid-19 disease, this item may be updated. Official state guidance is at kycovid19.ky.gov.

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Coronavirus cases showed a big drop on Sunday, but jumped again on Monday to a number similar to the elevated numbers seen near the end of last week. Prior to the elevation in numbers late last week, the state had seen a downward trend for almost two weeks.

“Kentucky has had 131 new positive cases with zero new deaths on Sunday and 214 new cases with eight new deaths on Monday,” Health Commissioner Steven Stack said in a news release. “We continue our efforts to expand testing, ramp up contact tracing and urge the public to practice social distancing and wear cloth face coverings to reduce the spread of covid-19.”

After almost two weeks with no day higher than 166 new cases, Kentucky’s numbers jumped to 283 last Friday and 247 on Saturday. Gov. Andy Beshear said Saturday that those numbers were driven by increased testing in long-term care facilities, but no explanation was given for today’s increase.

The counties with the highest number of new coronavirus cases on Sunday were Jefferson, 27; Kenton, 17; Fayette, 16; and three counties with 14, including Boone, Oldham and Warren.

Monday, the most new cases were in Jefferson, 54; Fayette, 30; Allen, 21; Warren, 19; and Boone and Shelby, both with nine.

The state has reported 10,046 cases of the novel coronavirus, with 457 people currently hospitalized with covid-19, including 90 in intensive care. At least 3,232 have recovered. The number of reported deaths stands at 439.

The deaths include an 84-year-old woman from Campbell County; an 82-year-old woman from Gallatin County; a 98-year-old woman from Grayson County; three Jefferson County men, aged 33, 53 and 75; a 90-year-old woman from Kenton County; and an 88-year-old man from Logan County.

Beshear did not hold his daily news conference today, having already held one to address the weekend protest against police violence in Louisville that resulted in a death.

At the end of that briefing, Beshear asked protesters to wear masks, practice social distancing if possible, and avoid contact with seniors and those with underlying health conditions.

The state provides additional information, including up-to-date lists of positive cases and deaths, as well as breakdowns of coronavirus infections by county, race and ethnicity: for Sunday’s information, click here; for Monday’s information, click here.  The daily nursing home report was last updated Saturday, May 30.

Other covid-19 news Monday: 

  • Public-health officials say that protests could lead to a surge of coronavirus cases, Route Fifty reports. “There’s going to be a lot of issues coming out of what’s happened in the last week, but one of them is going to be that chains of transmission will have become lit from these gatherings,” former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Sunday on CBS‘s “Face the Nation.”
  • Dr. Kevin Kavanagh of Somerset, founder of HealthWatchUSA, a group focused on preventing infection in health care, writes in Infection Control Today about why the public should wear masks during the pandemic, reporting that “new modeling is reported to show that if over 80% of the public wears a mask, the epidemic will markedly decrease.”
  • The University of Louisville Trager Institute offers a weekly online covid-19 information session. The next one is 10 to 11 a.m. EST Tuesday, June 2, with the topic “Restaurants are Up for the Reopening Challenge.” Click here for the Zoom link and here for more information.
  • Fewer Americans are concerned about necessary medical trips exposing them to the virus, according to a Gallup poll taken May 14-24. The poll found that 64 percent of U.S. adults are very concerned or moderately concerned about exposure to the virus at a doctor’s office or a hospital. This is a 20-point drop from the March 28-April 6 poll. It also found that the number of U.S. adults who are not concerned about medical trips has more than doubled, from 16% to 37%. The poll found that men are less concerned than women (55% and 70%), and Republicans are much less concerned than Democrats (58% and 19%).
  • An epidemiologist and evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago, Sarah Cobey, tells reporters at The Washington Post, “The virus is here to stay. The question is, how do we live with it safely?” William Wan and Carolyn Y. Johnson write, “Even after a vaccine is discovered, and deployed, the coronavirus will likely remain for decades to come,” like measles, HIV and chickenpox. They write that combating the virus will require long-range thinking, as well as “time, money and, most of all, political will.”
  • According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, nearly six in 10 Americans say the pandemic has had a severe economic toll on their communities, and 57% of them say trying to control the spread of the virus is more important than restarting the economy (favored by 37%). By party, 81% of Democrats say controlling the virus is more important than restarting the economy, 59% of independents; and 27% of Republicans, reports the Post.
  • Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, talked with Stat about covid-19 reopenings, vaccines and more, with a copy of the transcript included in the article.
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