Kentucky has highest day of new coronavirus cases by far, 2,700, as positive-test rate jumps to 8.12% and all other metrics are bad

Ky. Health News graph; case numbers from unadjusted daily reports; click on it to enlarge.
By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
Gov. Andy Beshear reported a record 2,700 new cases of the novel coronavirus Wednesday, beating the old one set six days before by 16 percent.
That brought the state’s seven-day rolling average of new cases to 2,075, 152 more than it was Tuesday, an increase of 8%.
On top that, all of the key metrics used by the state to determine how it’s doing when it comes to the virus are bad, prompting the governor to warn in a news release that Kentuckians must take the pandemic more seriously. Beshear did not hold his daily briefing today because of Veterans Day.
“This entire state is in danger. Covid-19 is absolutely everywhere,” Beshear said. “We need everybody to wear your masks and follow red-zone reduction recommendations and school recommendations. It is a must if you want to lessen the impact in your community.”
Other statistics are bad. The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the past seven days has increased to 8.12%, by far the highest since testing became widely available. That was a jump from Tuesday’s 7.68%.
Hospitalizations for covid-19 are at an all-time high, 1,274; and numbers of patients in intensive care and on ventilators remain high, at 297 and 151, respectively.

Kentucky is part of a national surge. States reported more than 144,000 new cases Wednesday, a record; seven governors have told people to stay home; Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said he would reimpose restrictions in 87 of the state’s 92 counties, which have high infection rates; and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine stepped up enforcement of restrictions and said he would consider shutting down bars, gyms and restaurants in a week if the trend continues.

As the pandemic has accelerated in Kentucky, and Beshear has been asked if he is considering further restrictions, he has said the existing ones are adequate if Kentuckians would only follow them.
After begging Kentuckians for months to wear a mask and socially distance — proven measures to slow the spread of the virus — Beshear has now largely placed the burden on local communities, with the hope that people will care enough about their neighbors to follow the recommended guidelines.
The guidelines call for community leaders, schools, businesses, nursing homes and individuals in counties that are hardest hit by the virus to follow the state’s recommended precautions to slow its spread.

Among other things, the “red zone” reduction recommendations ask people in red zone counties to not eat in restaurants, to allow employees to work from home when possible, and to not host gatherings of any size. School recommendations call on schools in these hard-hit counties to move to virtual learning only and  nursing homes are required to increase testing and asked to further limit visitation.

A county is in a “red zone” if it has at least 25 new cases per 100,000 residents in the last seven days. Last week, 80 counties were asked to follow these recommendations. Each Thursday’s list of red-zone counties is supposed to guide individuals, businesses, governments and institutions with recommendations for the following week. Wednesday, 91 of the state’s 120 counties are in the red zone.
Beshear announced that 14 more Kentuckians had died from covid-19, bringing the state’s death toll from the disease to 1,604.

The fatalities were a 62-year-old man from Bell County; a 56-year-old woman from Christian County; a 100-year-old woman from Fayette County; two women, ages 74 and 77, and six men, ages 61, 67, 71, 78, 84 and 97, from Jefferson County; a 77-year-old woman from Lawrence County; a 75-year-old man from Magoffin County; and an 85-year-old woman from Montgomery County.

In other covid-19 news Wednesday:
  • Counties with 10 or more new cases were Jefferson, 479; Fayette, 182; Boone, 172; Kenton, 153; Hardin, 87; Nelson, 78; Campbell, 75; Daviess, 71; McCracken, 63; Bullitt, 54; Warren, 44; Laurel, 40; Graves and Pike, 39 each; Madison, 37; Greenup, 36; Hopkins, Ohio and Whitley, 34 each; Calloway and Oldham, 30 each; Christian, Henderson and Shelby, 29 each; Floyd and Muhlenberg, 26 each; Clay, 25; Grayson and Jessamine, 23 each; Monroe, 22; Grant, 21; Scott, 20; Barren, Carter, Harlan, Lawrence and Meade, 17 each; Bell, Marion and Perry, 16 each; Franklin, Hancock and Webster, 15 each; Boyd and Knox, 14 each; Boyle and Larue, 13 each; Anderson, Caldwell, Johnson and Logan, 12 each; Elliott, Pulaski, Trigg and Wayne, 11 each; Pendleton and Spencer, 10 each.
  • The K-12 dashboard shows  that as of Nov. 10, 440 more students and 236 more employees have tested positive for the virus this week, with 2,705 students and 549 employees in quarantine.
  • Lexington has reported100 or more cases every day for more than a week, with its single-day record reported over the weekend, 236, Jeremy Chisenhall reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader. He notes that the Lexington health department is working to enforce the state’s mask mandate, reporting that it has received more than 670 complaints of covid-19-related health violations and issued at least 85 notices to correct and eight citations issued. Citations range from $50-$100, depending on how many times the business has been cited.
  • Perry County Schools have shut down both in-person and virtual learning for the rest of November because of the virus, Valarie Honeycutt Spears reports for the Herald-Leader. The superintendent said he hopes this will allow the district to add 11 days of in-person instruction at the end of the school year. The system is also planning to offer Saturday sessions in January for students who are struggling.
  • Sarah Ladd of the Courier Journal tells the story of a 39-year-old veteran and father who died from covid-19, one of the state’s youngest victims. Army Sgt. Michael Keene, who did four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, died Oct. 28 after spending 18 days in intensive care. He leaves behind a wife, two young children, including a newborn son he never got to meet, Ladd reports.
  • Kaiser Health News answers five important questions about Pfizer Inc.‘s coronavirus vaccine, including: How long will the vaccine protect patients? Will it protect the most vulnerable? Can it be rolled out effectively? Could a premature announcement hurt future vaccines? Could the Pfizer study expedite future vaccines?
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