Beshear 7-22-20

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, July 22, 2020

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- With coronavirus cases continuing to "ravage" several areas of the country, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on Tuesday re-emphasized a travel advisory asking citizens not to visit hard-hit states. 

If you have plans to travel to Florida, Arizona, Texas or any other state with a positivity rate of 15% or higher, "cancel them," Beshear said during a briefing. 

"When we know we are going to lose more people, when we got to get control of this, I'm still learning that people are going to the beach," Beshear said, noting Florida just had its highest number of deaths in a day. "We don't get to take breaks from this thing and we can not travel to these areas."

Beshear said this is the 5th step Kentucky has taken recently to slow the escalation of COVID-19 cases in the state. He first issued the travel advisory on July 20.

The other guidelines, all suggested by the White House, Beshear noted, are a mask mandate, closing bars for two weeks, limiting indoor restaurant capacity to 25% and capping social gatherings to 10 people or fewer. 

In addition, Beshear said he is concerned about citizens who went to those states returning to Kentucky. He said he "hopes" those people get tested to ensure they do not have the virus. 

While the state reported 532 new infections Tuesday, that number is below the average over the last 10 days and "we may already be seeing an impact" from the mask mandate," Beshear said. 

"Don't look for an excuse" not to wear a mask, he said, noting many people have complained about some protesters not wearing masks and gathering in large groups.

"If our response to this is that 'every other person is not going to do it, we're not going to do it,' then there is no way we are going to make it through this. We need everybody to do the right thing."

In addition, the positivity rate, or the percentage of positive test results over the last seven days, fell to 5.08%, which is the first time it has gone down in four days. 

There are 584 people currently hospitalized with the virus, which is also lower than previous days, Beshear said. The total number of positive cornoravirus cases for Kentucky is now more than 28,000. 

The governor said Kentucky had 21 children under the age of five contract the virus.

"It's a trend we are seeing around the country," he said, noting the youngest victim is a a two-month old. "We can't live under any illusion that kids don't get the virus."

And 10 more citizens have died, bringing the state total as of Tuesday to 719 deaths related to coronavirus. 

The deaths reported Tuesday include a 74-year-old woman from Butler County; an 84-year-old man from Fayette County; two women, ages 86 and 87, and an 82-year-old man from Jefferson County; two women, ages 89 and 101, and an 83-year-old man from Logan County; a 37-year-old man from Lyon County; and a 73-year-old woman from Oldham County.

Beshear said he expects restaurant capacity to increase within next few weeks because he believes the mask mandate and other steps will work and decrease the number of cases and positivity rate.

"I'm hopeful and I understand the businesses that are concerned about their future," he said. "What's in charge here is the virus and we are having to respond to it."

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Jason Riley is a criminal justice reporter for WDRB.com. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after 14 years with The Courier-Journal. He graduated from Western Kentucky University. Jason can be reached at 502-585-0823 and jriley@wdrb.com.