2nd highest number of new virus cases; week already deadliest, with a day to go; Beshear says his experience shows masks work

State health department map, relabeled by Kentucky Health News; for a larger version, click it. Lee County is blank, but had many new cases this week, many at a nursing home; see below.

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
Kentucky recorded 1,457 new cases of the novel coronavirus Friday, the second highest daily total, exceeded only by 1,487 on Wednesday. That pushed the seven-day rolling average to 1,191, the highest yet, and 29 above yesterday, the previous record.
“This week has been a tough week, with three out of the five highest days,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a news release. “This virus is everywhere. It is in your community. We need every community doing what it takes to defeat it.”
Beshear reported 16 more deaths from covid-19 on Friday, bringing the state’s death toll to 1,396. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that even with one day left in the week, Kentucky has already had 84 covid-19 deaths, surpassing its highest previous weekly toll, 72 between Aug. 30 and Sept. 5.
The fatalities were a 69-year-old woman from Boyd County; two women, 77 and 84, from Daviess County; a 71-year-old woman from Fayette County; three women, 84, 101 and 102, and three men, 73, 76 and 84, from Jefferson County; a 64-year-old man from Knott County; an 87-year-old woman from Lee County; an 84-year-old woman from Leslie County; a 75-year-old woman from Logan County; an 86-year-old woman from Marshall County; and an 80-year-old man from Todd County.
The release said a record 818 people were hospitalized in Kentucky for covid-19 on Friday, up 18 from Thursday; 205 are in intensive care, nine fewer than Thursday; and 97 are on a ventilator, eight fewer than Thursday.
The share of people testing positive for the virus in the past seven days continued to inch up, to 5.34 percent.
Beshear and his family will finish their two week quarantine on Saturday after being potentially exposed to the virus on Oct. 10 by a member of their security detail who tested positive for the virus, the release said.
“Wear a mask. It saves lives. I’ve now tested negative four straight times after sitting in the passenger seat next to someone driving who was infectious with covid,” Beshear said. “I was wearing a mask. He was wearing a mask. That shows you that it works.”
In other covid-19 news Friday: 
  • Counties with 10 or more new cases Friday are Jefferson, 312; Fayette, 112; Warren, 60;  Hardin, 47;  Barren, 35; Daviess and Lee, 27 each; Hart, 26; Pike, 25; McCracken, 24;  Kenton and Madison, 22 each; Boone, 21; Clay, Laurel, and Nelson, 20 each; Scott and Shelby, 19 each; Henderson, Montgomery, Perry, and Whitley 17 each; Bullitt and Christian, 16 each; Campbell and Floyd, 15 each; Clark, Logan and Martin, 14 each;  Bell and Hopkins, 13 each; Johnson and Marion, 12 each; Boyd, Franklin, Jessamine, Knott and Oldham, 11 each; Adair, Calloway, Fleming, Marshall, McLean and Wayne, 10 each.
  • The Lee County Care & Rehabilitation Center is reporting 128 cases of the virus, involving 75 residents and 53 staff, Hazard’s WYMT reports. “A person can be asymptomatic — they can contract the virus and not show any symptoms, like a fever, which allows them to pass health screenings at work.” said Scott Lockard, the district public-health director. “This is by far the biggest outbreak in the Kentucky River District and we have seen some bigger outbreaks in nursing homes across the state, but this is the event that we have feared that would happen the most.”
  • In long-term care facilities, 35 more residents and 73 more staff have tested positive for the virus, with 941 active resident cases and 567 active staff cases reported. The facilities have seen 827 residents and six staff die of covid-19.
  • The K-12 school dashboard shows 366 students and 202 staff tested positive for the virus this week, resulting in 3,080 students and 532 staff being quarantined.
  • The college and university report shows 301 more students have tested positive, 499 of them in the past 14 days. Eight staff and faculty tested positive in the past 14 days.
  • “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved the antiviral drug remdesivir for the treatment of hospitalized coronavirus patients in the U.S. — the first and only approved covid-19 treatment as of yet,” the Herald-Leader reports in an article headlined “Coronavirus weekly need to know: remdesivir, air filters, national lockdown & more.”
  • Grace Schneider and Deborah Yetter of the Courier Journal write about “pandemic fatigue” that is resulting in a surge of cases. They write that public-health messaging and practices known to slow the spread of the virus, like social distancing and wearing a mask, are not resonating with worn-out Kentuckians, especially at a time when President Donald Trump is telling his rally-goers that “we are rounding the turn” on the pandemic — even though that is not true. Click here for a Kentucky Health News story about pandemic fatigue and how to overcome it.
  • Schneider and Yetter report that pandemic fatigue is also wearing down doctors and nurses. Donald Lloyd, chief executive at St. Claire HealthCare in Morehead, which serves five counties and is a regional testing site, told the CJ that the hospital had recently hired additional emergency room doctors and travel nurses to spell staffers who are beyond exhausted, especially those working in the three virus “hot spots” inside the 149-bed facility.
  • Jefferson County high-school sports, after a delayed start, have been suspended because of a rise in local virus cases, WDRB reports. Jefferson County moved to the most dangerous “red zone” this week, which under state guidance requires schools to assess whether they will hold classes or sporting events in the following week. Following the guidance, JCPS will: Allow contests this weekend and those such as volleyball that are already under postseason jurisdiction; follow the state high-school athletic association’s guidance that allows practice, but no games or game-like simulations for teams not already in postseason play; reschedule regular-season contests planned for next week, when possible; and review the data again on Thursday evening and make another determination about athletics next Friday morning.
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