Second biggest Sunday, with 616 new coronavirus cases, drives the state’s seven-day rolling average above 900 for the first time

Kentucky Health News chart, based on initial, unadjusted reports of daily cases

By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

State officials reported 616 new cases of the novel coronavirus Sunday, sending the seven-day rolling average over 900 for the first time and prompting Gov. Andy Beshear to weigh in with another plea in a news release.

“I normally don’t provide an update on Sunday, but . . . we have shattered the previous weekly record, which we set just last week,” Beshear said. “We have to do better. Please, everyone, wear your mask, engage in social distancing and follow those top ten rules that we have on”

Gov. Andy Beshear referred to these preventive steps in his news release.

The Monday-to-Sunday reporting week used by the state had 6,126 new cases, for an unadjusted average of 903 per day. Two months ago, the seven-day average was under 600.

Sundays usually have a relatively low number of cases because of limited testing and reporting, but this Sunday had more cases than any other except July 19, when 979 were reported. That was the height of the July surge; the average for the 10 Sundays between then and now was 427.
In a separate email update, Beshear said, “We are entering the third escalation.” His news release said 76 of the new cases were 18 and younger.

“This has not been a good week,” Health Commissioner Steven Stack said in the release. “The president of our nation, his wife and others in the White House – one of the most secure places in the entire world – have tested positive.”

Stack added, “We disregard this threat at our own peril. Don’t forget, there is no cure and there’s not yet a vaccine for coronavirus. Prevention through our behaviors is our main defense. Wear a mask, watch your space and wash your hands. Do these things and you, too, can save someone’s life.”

Counties with more than 10 new cases were Jefferson, 163; Fayette, 47; Christian, 30; Madison, 18; Daviess, 16; Warren, 16; Boone, 15; Scott, 14; McCracken, 13; Kenton, 12; Jessamine, 11; Shelby, 11; and Estill, 10.

Beshear announced four more covid-19 deaths, bringing the state’s toll to 1,209: a 69-year-old man from Harlan County; a 71-year-old man from Jefferson County; a 90-year-old man from Logan County; and an 80-year-old woman from Warren County.

“We are losing our fellow Kentuckians . . . far, far more individuals than we would ever want to lose, more than we’ve even lost in some foreign conflicts,” Beshear said. “We are seeing far too many cases. Let’s come together as Team Kentucky; let’s do what it takes.”

Due to limited reporting on Sundays, reports on hospitalizations and the share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus are delayed until Monday.

In other covid-19 news Sunday:

  • Lexington police “patrolled off-campus student neighborhoods during Saturday’s first University of Kentucky home football game as part of a new effort to tamp down on large student gatherings off campus as the number of coronavirus cases statewide continues to rise,” Beth Musgrave reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader. The game began at 4 p.m.; UK spokesman Jay Blanton said one incident had been reported to UK police by 6, and police said they had only three noise or large party complaints before 7. “That’s way down compared to the 33 phone calls the department received last weekend and the weekend prior,” some about the same site, Musgrave reports.
  • For the second Sunday in a row, the Courier Journal comics section had an advertisement advising readers to social distance, wash hands and clean surfaces, but saying nothing about masks. The ad was prepared early in the pandemic by the University of LouisvilleU of L Health, the Louisville Metro government and Passport Health Plan. The partnership said last week that they were updating the ad, which media outlets had agreed to run as space permitted. “While social-distance guidelines and increased hygiene are still important protection measures to prevent spreading covid-19, our organizations strongly support the mask guidelines and are working to update the messaging,” they said. But not in the ad.
  • President Trump paid a surprise visit to supporters outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, wearing a mask and waving at them through a closed window of a vehicle. His doctor said the president might return to the White House Monday but “acknowledged delivering an overly rosy description of the president’s illness Saturday,” The Boston Globe reports. “Doctors said that Trump had a ‘high fever’ Friday, and that there had been two incidents when his oxygen levels dropped — one Friday and one Saturday. They said that Trump received oxygen at the White House on Friday; they were not clear about whether it was administered again Saturday.”
  • “The administration’s immediate response to its own coronavirus outbreak was, in other words, a microcosm of its response to the broader pandemic: carry on with business as usual, hope it goes away on its own, and conceal the extent of the problem,” Gilan Edelman writes for Wired magazine. “For the American public, this opens up a daunting new phase of the covid information war. The White House’s communication will likely be opaque at best, if not actively misleading. Into the vacuum of trustworthy information will flow all manner of false rumors. Already, baseless speculation swirls online among Trump’s supporters and opponents alike that the president is faking the illness.”
  • Joe Biden’s campaign said he “tested negative for the coronavirus for the third time since he was potentially exposed at the debate,” The Washington Post reports. “The former vice president, 77, stood more than six feet from President Trump for 90 minutes last Tuesday night, two days before the president announced he had tested positive. Studies suggest that people may be most likely to spread the virus during the 48 hours before they start to experience symptoms. The Democratic nominee is not yet in the clear, however, because most people incubate the virus for two to 14 days before testing positive or showing symptoms.”
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