LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky is on the verge of surpassing 3,000 deaths in which COVID-19 was a contributing factor after Gov. Andy Beshear announced 47 new deaths alongside 4,560 new cases Wednesday.
Wednesday's single-day death toll was the third-highest since the pandemic began and brings the state to 2,991 deaths reported since March 2020, according to a news release from the governor's office. The record stands at 54 deaths in a single day — Thursday, Dec. 17.
Among the victims Wednesday were six women, ages 65, 81, 82, 89 and 93, and three men, ages 71, 77 and 90, from Jefferson County. According to data from Kentucky Public Health, more than half of the Kentuckians who have died from COVID-19 were age 70 or older.
"That is tragic," Beshear said in a news release. "We can stop this. We need to wear masks. We need to follow the rules and restrictions, and now is not the time to pull away the authority that keeps us safe. That allows us to be fluid and flexible with a virus that appears to be mutating and spreading more aggressively.”
Of the new cases reported Wednesday, 664 were confirmed in Jefferson County, according to Kentucky Public Health. As of Wednesday, data shows 118 of the state's 120 counties were experiencing a "critical" spread of the virus.
The state's positivity rate, a measure of the proportion of COVID-19 tests returning positive, rose slightly from 12.23% on Tuesday to 12.29% on Wednesday. The rate has been trending downward since reaching 12.45% on Sunday — the highest it has been since May.
As of Wednesday, 1,702 Kentuckians were hospitalized with COVID-19, the governor's office said, while 403 were being treated for the virus in intensive care units. More than 220 patients were on ventilators.
For most people, COVID-19 causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. The vast majority of people recover. Of Kentucky's 313,282 confirmed cases reported since March, at least 39,723 have recovered, according to Kentucky Public Health.
But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.
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