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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Gov. Andy Beshear has extended his mask mandate by 30 days, as the number of new COVID-19 infections continue to plateau.

The governor also said that he plans to announce new guidelines for bars and restaurants on Monday, which likely will include raising restaurant capacity to 50 percent, allowing bars to reopen -- though with enforced seat rules -- and a 10 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants.

Beshear reported 516 new infections on Thursday, including 148 in Jefferson County, but said he believes the mask mandate he announced July 9 is helping prevent an exponential growth of cases.

The governor said that in the last four days, the state has recorded 247 fewer infections than during the same period last week, indicating that the number of new cases appears to be flattening.

The state recorded a record of 979 COVID-19 cases on July 19, and since that day, the seven-day average number of daily cases has remained above 500. Before July, the daily number of cases has risen above 500 only once, on May 5.

The governor also reported eight more COVID-19 related deaths, bringing the total death in Kentucky since the beginning of the pandemic to 760.

Beshear noted that the number of deaths exceeds the total the state has suffered in some wars in the last few decades.

"This ain't the flu," he said.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness.

Nationally, more than 4.8 million people have become infected with the disease, and more than 159,000 have died, for a national mortality rate of 3.3 percent, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Globally, nearly 18.9 million have contracted COVID-19, and more than 710,000 have died, for a global mortality rate of 3.8 percent.

To reduce the risk of spreading the disease, the CDC recommends that people:

  • Wash their hands often
  • Avoid close contact
  • Cover their mouth and nose with a cloth cover when around others
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect
  • Monitor their health

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