Beshear says he had ‘a lot the symptoms that can suggest covid-19’ but tested negative, and felt empathy as he waited for results

Gov. Andy Beshear reported by video after feeling ill and testing negative for the novel coronavirus.

By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

Gov. Andy Beshear reported 562 new coronavirus cases in Kentucky on Tuesday, but most of his remarks dealt with cases that didn’t happen, in his own household.

“My family and I are OK. We tested negative for covid-19 after a real scare,” Beshear said in a video that took the place of a scheduled daily press conference after he and his wife “started feeling bad” late in the morning, “with a lot of the symptoms that can suggest covid-19.”

He said they immediately isolated themselves and canceled afternoon events, then got tested. “Even the short wait that I had to endure gives me newfound empathy for those that are having to wait even just a couple of days to get their tests returns back, knowing that they may be separated from their family and wondering what their immediate future is going to be.”

Delays in testing have plagued some states, but Beshear has said that isn’t a big problem in Kentucky. He said he would “continue to try to lead with that empathy, and hopefully it makes me a better governor in addressing this virus.”

He added later, “While my family ended up negative today, I know there’s a lot of families out there that are positive. We send you our love; we want you to get better; we want to make sure that we’re not spreading this to any other family that has to endure any of that hardship.”

Beshear said the share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the last seven days rose to 5.87 percent, from 5.71% Monday. “That is a number that is simply too high for a lot of things we want to do,” he said. “I’m committed to getting our kids back in school in a safe manner, and we’re gonna work towards that.”
Monday, Beshear recommended that schools delay in-person instruction until Sept. 28, citing recent increases in the positive-test rate and daily cases. Several school districts have since decided to begin classes online.
Beshear said Tuesday, “We’re gonna make sure we wear our masks, and we’re gonna make sure that we follow social distancing, and we are gonna work really hard in the weeks now that we have to get there to make sure that we can reduce this positivity rate, reduce our number of cases, to protect our kids and our teachers.”
He said Monday that the case numbers for that day, Tuesday and Wednesday would have to be revised because a computer problem is leaving them incomplete. The 562 cases reported Tuesday were near the seven-day rolling averages of the past week.
The governor said 18 of the new cases reported were in children under 5, one of them only 18 days old, in Hardin County. The list also included a 1-month-old from Rowan County and a 3-month-old from Lincoln County.
Counties with more than five new cases on the incomplete list were Jefferson, 104; Fayette, 34; Madison, 30; Warren, 29; Hardin, 26; Laurel, 20; Johnson and Kenton, 16 each; Scott, 12; Barren and Lincoln, 11 each; Campbell and Pulaski, 10 each; Calloway and Christian, 9 each; Boone, Bullitt, Franklin, Henry and Knox, 8 each; Henderson and Hopkins, 7 each; and Bell, Jessamine, Logan and Perry, 6.
Beshear reported eight more covid-19 deaths, noting that one was a 54-year-old woman from Louisville. The others were two women, 65 and 84, and two men, 75 and 93, from Jefferson County; an 86-year-old man from Grant County; a 79-year-old woman from Hopkins County; and a 60-year-old man from Ohio County. They raised the state’s death toll from the disease to 783.

In other covid-19 news Tuesday:

  • “An exhausted, exasperated nation is suffering from the effects of a pandemic that has upended society on a scale and duration without parallel in living memory,” report Joel Achenbach, Brady Dennis and Jeremy Duda of The Washington Post. “The metaphor of a marathon doesn’t capture the wearisome, confounding, terrifying and yet somehow dull and drab nature of this ordeal for many Americans, who have watched leaders fumble the pandemic response from the start. Marathons have a defined conclusion, but 2020 feels like an endless slog — uphill, in mud.”
  • They add, “Recent opinion polls hint at the deepening despair. A Gallup survey in mid-July showed 73 percent of adults viewed the pandemic as growing worse — the highest level of pessimism recorded since Gallup began tracking that assessment in early April. Another Gallup Poll, published Aug. 4, found only 13 percent of adults are satisfied with the way things are going overall in the country, the lowest in nine years. A July Kaiser Family Foundation poll echoed that, finding that a majority of adults think the worst is yet to come; 53% said the crisis has harmed their mental health.”
  • A study in the journal Science may explain why some individuals exposed to the virus have modest reactions, Michael Wilner reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader. “The study found that the immune systems of roughly half of its subjects appeared to remember past exposure to other, prevalent coronaviruses, including variants of the common cold, equipping them to respond more quickly to a covid-19 infection once it appeared. The findings also offer new insights that could help in developing a vaccine by looking at T cells, which help fight the virus.”
  • “Health-care workers of color were more likely to care for patients with suspected or confirmed covid-19, more likely to report using inadequate or reused protective gear, and nearly twice as likely as white colleagues to test positive for the coronavirus, a new study from Harvard Medical School researchers found, Kaiser Health News reports. The study also showed that health-care workers are at least three times more likely than the general public to test positive for the virus, “with risks rising for workers treating covid patients.”
  • “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he supports President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders targeting coronavirus relief. Sen. Rand Paul, though, has some reservations,” Lucas Aulbach reports for the Courier Journal. Beshear says Trump’s executive orders aren’t adequate, and Congress needs to pass another aid package.
  • A Washington Post story by Tony Romm says some of McConnell’s constituents are growing unhappy with the lack of a new federal relief bill, which “In more than two dozen interviews, out-of-work residents, struggling restaurant owners and other business leaders, as well as a cadre of annoyed food-, housing- and labor-rights groups, all said they are in dire need of more support from Congress — the likes of which McConnell has not been able to provide.” Jason Bailey, executive director of the left-leaning Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, told Romm: “I can’t imagine a state that needs additional relief more than Kentucky does.”
  • Republican U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky’s Fourth District “said he has tested positive for coronavirus antibodies,” the Louisville Courier Journal reports. Massie said Friday on the Glenn Beck show that he thinks he had the virus in January, before it was known to be spreading in the U.S., would donate blood plasma for treatment of covid-19 patients.
  • Facebook “says it has taken down 7 million posts for spreading coronavirus misinformation,” The Washington Post reports. “The company also labeled 98 million posts with warning notices about coronavirus misinformation between April and June.”
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