Virus cases for week set a record; new surge feared from holiday


By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News As Kentucky marked six months of the covid-19 pandemic, it set a new record for weekly cases of the novel coronavirus.

“The first positive case of covid-19 in the commonwealth was announced six months ago today, in Harrison County,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a press release. “This week we recorded 4,742 new coronavirus cases. Last week we had 4,503. That means we’ve set a record for the number of weekly new cases for the second consecutive week.”

The weeks in those reports are Monday through Sunday. Most of the seven-day totals last week were higher than the weekly total; the 313 new cases reported Sunday were much less than in recent days, but typical for a Sunday because many testing labs are closed on weekends.
The state’s seven-day rolling average of daily new cases was 689, more than two and a half times what it was four months ago. It exceeded 700 for the first time on three days last week.
“We’re facing the challenge of our lifetimes and we must do better,” Beshear said. “These past six months have been devastating for so many Kentucky families. These months also will be remembered as a time when Kentuckians lived up to our reputation as compassionate, resolute and resilient people who take care of one another.”
The thinking was less wishful from Health Commissioner Steven Stack. “Pleasant weather across Kentucky and a holiday weekend may result in more cases reported,” he said the release. “We’ll know in two to three weeks.” The state had a major surge in cases after the last holiday weekend, July 4.
“It’s important to be resolute and learn from experience,” Stack said. “Please don’t jam sidewalks, restaurants and bars with masks hanging below your chins. Don’t gather in groups larger than 10 and, if you see a larger crowd, stay away.”
Stack added, “The choices Kentuckians make this weekend and every day will determine whether the phased reopening of our economy succeeds or fails. The choices Kentuckians make will also determine how many Kentuckians get hurt or die in the months ahead. With covid-19 at its current elevated rates, the risk that any person we come into contact with is a carrier of the coronavirus is much higher.”
He repeated his usual advice to wear a face covering in public; keep six feet away from those you don’t live with; and wash your hands often.
Beshear announced three more deaths on Sunday, bringing Kentucky’s covid-19 death toll to 996. The state’s total lags behind numbers reported by local health departments; their death total was at least 1,051 on Thursday, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

“We can’t become numb to this,” Beshear said. “Today’s reported death toll is much lower than several days this week, but these still are three individuals whose families and friends are devastated and grieving. Let’s care for them and respect their grief by redoubling our efforts to keep each other safe.”

The fatalities were a 75-year-old woman from Harlan County, an 81-year-old woman from Lewis County, and an 86-year-old man from Fayette County.

Counties with more than five new cases on the state’s daily report were Jefferson, 96; Fayette, 25; Warren, 16; Bullitt, 12; Greenup, 10; Henderson, 9; Pulaski, 8; Boyd and McCracken, 7 each; and Green, Jessamine, Madison, Muhlenberg and Oldham, 6 each.

Beshear said 43 of the new cases were in Kentuckians 18 and younger.

Due to limited reporting on Sundays and holidays, information on the positive-test rate and hospitalizations will be delayed until Tuesday.

In other covid-19 news Sunday:

  • “President Trump is so fixated on finding a vaccine for the novel coronavirus that in meetings about the U.S. pandemic response, little else captures his attention, according to administration officials” interviewed by The Washington Post. “Trump has pressed health officials to speed up the vaccine timeline and urged them to deliver one by the end of the year. He has peppered them with questions about the development status and mass-distribution plans,” the Post reports. “And, in recent days, he has told some advisers and aides that a vaccine may arrive by Nov. 1, which just happens to be two days before the presidential election. Trump’s desire to deliver a vaccine — or at least convince the public that one is very near — by the time voters decide whether to elect him to a second term is in part a campaign gambit to improve his standing with an electorate that overwhelmingly disapproves of his management of the pandemic.”
  • Six Post contributors offer “10 Things to Help You Get Through the Pandemic Into the Fall,” including: immunity-supporting soups, “a better pumpkin spice latte,” playing pickleball, make arrangements of pine cones and other evergreens, prioritize meaningful relationships, and volunteer to serve others.
  • “Doctors and Nurses Take to TikTok to Fight Covid Myths,” Wired magazine headlines a story by Helen Santoro, who quotes one: “We can treat only one patient at a time, but if we can get a message out there that can hit thousands or hundreds of thousands, then we can change their thoughts.”
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