State certain to set weekly new-case record Sunday, but positive-test rate for the past week falls to the lowest level in 10 days

State chart, adapted by Kentucky Health News; for a larger version, click on it.
By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

Kentucky is certain to have its largest number of new weekly cases of the coronavirus in the reporting week that ends Sunday.

Gov. Andy Beshear reported 638 new cases Saturday, bringing the unadjusted six-day total to 4,102. That preliminary figure is just four cases short of the largest weekly number, 4,106, reported July 27 through Aug. 2.

The current total “unfortunately suggests this is going to be the highest week of total cases that we’ve ever had, though our positivity rate is going down a little bit,” Beshear said in a news release.

The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the coronavirus in the last seven days is 5.45 percent, down from 5.68% the day before. That is the lowest rate since the 5.24% reported Aug. 4, the day before the average began rising to 6.02% on Aug. 8, the highest since testing became widely available.

Another key metric, the seven-day rolling average of new daily cases, fell to 646 from the record 670 set on Friday. However, the total new cases in the period remained more than 1 per 1,000, one metric that can push a state into the “red zone” of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. The other metric is the positive-test rate, which will leave Kentucky in the “yellow zone.”

“Folks, this thing is real,” Beshear said. “We are at war with it, and we are going to have to be the strong, resilient and also patient Kentuckians that we are to make sure that we prevent loss of life, that we promote health, and that we protect our children, that we should never, ever experiment with.”

Beshear has been defending his recommendation that schools not begin in-person instruction until Sept. 28, and using his news briefings to call out school districts that aren’t cooperating or thinking about not cooperating. His release said 17 of Saturday’s 638 new cases were in children 5 and younger.

He also noted how more school-age children are testing positive, especially in the state’s hot spots. “When you look at how hard children are being hit now,” he said in the release, “322 people under the age of 18 have tested positive since the beginning of this in Warren County alone.”

The Warren County Board of Education is to decide Monday whether to proceed with its plan to start in-person classes Aug. 24. Friday, the Bowling Green Independent Board of Education voted to still start that day, but gave parents “the option to either send their children to school on a hybrid, A/B schedule or attend the district’s virtual academy, which requires a one-semester commitment,” Aaron Mudd reports for the Bowling Green Daily News.
Beshear’s release also quoted Health Commissioner Steven Stack, who said, “Now, more than ever, we have to renew our commitment to work together to protect ourselves, our friends, our families, and our communities. This week outpaced the number of new cases last week and, if we become complacent, our hard-fought containment of the coronavirus could slip from our grasp.”
Stack added, “Every person who avoids crowds, wears a face covering in public, maintains a social distance of at least six feet, and frequently washes their hands makes essential and invaluable contributions to our ability to fight this pandemic. If we all do these things consistently, we can suppress covid-19 enough to more safely open schools and engage in many activities so important to our lives.”

The state reported six more deaths from covid-19 Saturday, raising its total to 810. The fatalities were two men from Jefferson County, 71 and 85; a Jefferson County woman, 57; a Graves County man, 74; a Nicholas County man, 72; and a McCracken County man, 89.

Jefferson County had 32 percent of the new cases Saturday, 205. Other counties reporting more than five new cases were Fayette, 45; Warren, 36; Daviess, 17; Kenton, 17; Pike, 17; Calloway, 16; Shelby, 15; Hardin, 13; Oldham, 10; Greenup and Pulaski, 9 each; Barren and Montgomery, 8 each; Boone, Campbell, Clark, Madison and Simpson, 7 each; and Bourbon, Graves, Jessamine, Marshall and Nelson, 6 each.
State chart, adapted by Kentucky Health News; for a larger version, click on it. Updates are here.


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