Beshear reports 203 new coronavirus cases and 7 more deaths; guidance up for pools and gatherings up to 50, allowed June 29

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

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

After announcing 203 new coronavirus cases today, Gov. Andy Beshear reminded Kentuckians in a news release that there are three things they can do to slow the spread of the virus.

“No. 1: Socially distance, wash your hands and wear a mask; that’s critically important. No. 2: Make sure you regularly get tested for covid-19. We need that all over the commonwealth. And No. 3: If you’re contacted by one of our contact tracers, make sure you talk to them. That’s how you protect yourself and everybody around you. If we can do those three things, we can continue to reopen Kentucky, to do it safely and to protect one another.”

The new cases raised the state’s total to 12,829. The daily report shows that 395 people are currently hospitalized with the virus, 69 are in intensive care and 3,431 have recovered from it.

Jefferson County had the highest number of new cases Tuesday, 54. That was followed by Fayette, with 28; Warren with 15, and Laurel with 9.

Beshear, who has begun holding covid-19 briefings only three days a week, reported seven new deaths from the disease Tuesday, raising the state’s death toll to 512.

The fatalities were a 72-year-old man from Allen County; a 43-year-old man and a 68-year-old woman from Boone County; a 77-year-old woman from Green County; an 80-year-old woman from Hardin County; and two women, 74 and 89, from Jefferson County.

In long-term care facilities, 14 more residents and eight more staff tested positive for the virus, bringing those totals up to 1,530 and 732 respectively, according to the daily report. The report shows one additional resident death, bringing the death totals to 323 confirmed resident deaths, four probable resident deaths and three staff deaths.

The state has updated its guidance for reopening of public pools and gatherings of up to 50 people, both of which will be allowed on June 29.

The guidance for gatherings of up to 50 cautions that anyone who has a condition that puts them at a higher risk for getting the virus, or is over 65, should remain “healthy at home.”

The guidance says groups holding gatherings “must” ask those who are sick to stay home, maintain social distancing and have all wear masks if they will be closer than six feet apart, with exceptions for those in the same household; ensure appropriate hand hygiene; screen and exclude those with a fever, symptoms of covid-19 or direct exposure to the virus; and to not share food, drinks or utensils.

The four-page pool guidance offers requirements for social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting, personal protective equipment, and training and safety.

Some pools, such as those in Lexington, have already announced they will not open this summer.

In other covid-19 news Tuesday:

  • Some rural Kentucky counties seeing a spike in coronavirus cases, largely caused by complacency and church’s reopening, Bill Estep reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader. 
  • A British organization that specializes in medical detection dogs is training six dogs to screen people for covid-19, the Herald-Leader reports. If successful, they could be deployed in places like airports or large sporting events to screen large numbers of people.
  • The Herald-Leader offers safety tips on how to travel during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • As of 9 p.m. on June 15, has Kentucky listed as “making progress” on a map that tracks states as they make progress towards a new normal. The site looks at how the disease is spreading, whether the hospitals can handle the load and if the state’s testing is robust enough. More than half the states are “trending poorly.”
  • “A cheap, readily available steroid drug reduced deaths by a third in patients hospitalized with covid-19 in a large study, the first time a therapy has been shown to possibly improve the odds of survival with the condition in the sickest patients,” Mathew Herper reports for Stat. Full data from the study have not been published or peer reviewed, but experts have embraced the “top-line results,” he writes. The drug is dexamethasone, which is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and some cancers.
  • A group of bipartisan senators, led by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), want telehealth provisions included in previous covid-19 emergency legislation to be made permanent, Inside Health Policy reports. “The letter asks for provisions allowed during the pandemic to be made permanent, including: allowing community health centers and rural health clinics to provide distant site telehealth services, and allow telehealth to be used for face-to-face visits to certify a patient’s eligibility to enter hospice care,”” Chelsea Cirruzzo reports.
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