State has highest single day for coronavirus cases, by far: 5,742; legislature starts moving bills to limit Beshear’s powers

Kentucky Health News graph, with daily case data from unadjusted reports; click it to enlarge.

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
As high-priority bills to limit his emergency powers flew out of Republican-controlled legislative committees, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear announced the state’s highest number of new coronavirus cases in a single day and the highest rate since May 5 of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus.
“Today’s numbers show how critically important a centralized effort and response is to defeating this virus,” Beshear said in a news release.
He announced 5,742 new cases of the virus, far above the state’s prior single-day record of 4,325 on Dec. 10.
That brought the state’s seven-day average to 3,063, higher than any since Dec. 16, which ended a 13-day run of days over 3,000. The record for this metric, 3,440, was set on Dec. 5.
The record day followed a day with an unusually low number of new cases. The two-day total made an average of 3,762, more than 300 higher than any 7-day average.
Beshear has called “wonky” the fluctuating case numbers since the Christmas holidays and said it will take several weeks to know what is causing them: increased social gatherings, testing sites being closed during the holidays, some of both or other factors.
What hasn’t fluctuated is the seven-day average of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus, which has risen markedly for nine consecutive days. It is now at 11.7%, the highest since the state started regularly testing for the virus in May.
Kentucky hospitals reported 1,778 Covid-19 patients, 428 of them in intensive care and 244 of those on ventilators. The latter number is just 10 below the record set Dec. 17, and 29 more than Tuesday.
Beshear reported 34 more Covid-19 deaths, making Wednesday one of only a few days that the state has seen more than 30 deaths from the disease.
The fatalities, which made the state’s death toll 2,806, were a Bell County woman, 79; two Calloway County women, 89 and 96; a Carter County woman, 53; three Carter County men, 80, 85 and 97; a ey County woman, 76; a Clay County woman, 96; a Grayson County woman, 69; a Hardin County woman, 69; a Hickman County man, 80; two Hopkins County men, 45 and 92; three Jefferson County women, 74, 77 and 88; two Jefferson County men, 61 and 72; a Kenton County woman, 89; a Monroe County man and woman, 70 and 79; a Nelson County woman, 88; an Ohio County man, 69; two Pike County women, 71 and 72; three Pike County men, 40, 65 and 70; two Pulaski County women, 82 and 98; a Russell County woman, 92; a Washington County woman, 93; and a Wayne County woman, 53.

On the second day of the 30-day legislative session, five of the eight bills that got out of committees were either directly or indirectly related to the governor’s pandemic response. Each could pass within the week. They are:

  • House Bill 1, which would allows businesses and schools to stay open during the pandemic if they follow guidelines, and provide guidelines for visitation at long-term care facilities.
  • HB 4, to remove required ending dates of legislative sessions from the state Constitution if voters in November 2022 approve; and allow the legislature to extend sessions by 10 days repeatedly, but not past Dec. 31.
  • Senate Bill 1, which would limit governors’ executive orders and administrative regulations to 30 days unless approved by the legislature.
  • SB 2, to require contagious-disease rules issued by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to be in the form of administrative regulations, which must be reviewed by legislators before taking effect.
  • SB 5, to provide liability protection for owners of premises during an emergency, retroactive to March 6.
In other coronavirus news Wednesday:
  • Counties with 10 or more new cases were: Jefferson, 828; Fayette, 374; Warren, 238; Kenton, 216; Daviess, 215; Boone, 199; Hardin, 179; Christian, 173; Laurel, 133; Madison, 115; Oldham, 102; Campbell, 101; Hopkins, 98; Bullitt, 96; Boyd, 88; Nelson, 80; Pike, 75; Boyle, 74; Whitley, 72; Ohio, 67; Henderson, 58; Floyd, 57; Clark and Greenup, 55; Marshall, 51; Anderson, Bourbon and Shelby, 49; Knox, 48; McCracken, 45; Marion, 44; Harlan and Muhlenberg, 42; Graves and McCreary, 41; Mercer and Woodford, 38; Barren, Pulaski and Taylor, 37; Jessamine and Scott, 36; Bell, Harrison and Meade, 35; Lincoln, 34; Clay, Grayson, Johnson and Todd, 31; Rockcastle, 30; Hancock, 29; Jackson, Perry and Rowan, 28; Breckinridge and Lewis, 27; Allen and Garrard, 26; Breathitt and Grant, 25; Carter, 24; Lawrence, 23; Henry, Simpson and Webster, 22; Martin and Monroe, 21; Washington, 20; Fleming, 19; Franklin, Montgomery and Spencer, 18; LaRue and Logan, 17; Edmonson, McLean, Trimble and Wayne, 16; Calloway, Carroll, Green and Lee, 14; Nicholas and Russell, 13; Crittenden, Leslie and Pendleton, 12; Adair, Bath, Elliott and Owsley, 11; and Butler, Magoffin and Morgan, 10.
  • The Robley Rex Medical Center has vaccinated its first veterans against Covid-19 at a new drive-thru site, Sarah Ladd reports for the Courier Journal. “The Louisville VA center kicked off its drive-thru for high-risk veterans, those 75 and older and those living in congregate settings, with 30 scheduled appointments,” she reports.
  • Norton Children’s Hospital has opened a follow-up clinic to check on children who have contracted Covid-19, WDRB reports. The clinic “is designed to help kids and teens manage any long-term symptoms from the virus,” says the hospital in a news release. To be referred to the clinic, hospital officials say children have to have had a proven or “strongly suspected” diagnoses of the virus, be fever-free without using medications, be 10 days past the first time they experienced symptoms or received a positive test result, and still feel unwell and symptomatic. Referrals have to come from a physician.
  • Hazard’s WYMT-TV reports on deaths and case numbers from health departments in Eastern Kentucky, which reported 12 deaths Wednesday.
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