LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Kentucky has set a single-day record with 273 new confirmed positive cases of the novel coronavirus reported Sunday, Gov. Andy Beshear said.
The state is up to at least 2,960 confirmed positive cases of the respiratory illness, said Beshear, who also reported four additional virus-related deaths Sunday to bring the state's death toll to 148. Overall, the governor reported 32,319 tests have been administered, and 1,122 people have recovered statewide.
Two days after he outlined the benchmarks necessary to reopen Kentucky and its economy, Beshear said the state is still not close to beginning a 14-day decline in cases before it can lift certain restrictions, per the guidance of President Donald Trump's administration.
"We are still in the midst of this fight against a deadly and highly contagious virus," the governor added. "So let's make sure, as much as we're looking at those benchmarks and we're looking at the future, that we are acting in the present and we are doing the things that it takes to protect one another."
"I would say our numbers are still relatively flat; they're relatively plateaued even though today's the biggest number, but that's clearly not a 14-day decline," added Dr. Steven Stack, Kentucky public health commissioner. "And that's the first metric we have to hit before we can start to say we're on the backside of the first peak so we can maybe begin to safely think about opening things up."
Stack also said the state may need to have the capacity to administer anywhere between 9,000 and 13,500 tests a day before it can confidently meet its reopening benchmark of "increased testing capacity and contact tracing."
"I don't think any of us really know what the right answer is," Stack added, "but using that as a starting point — as an educated inference — that would mean we would in four days exceed the total number of tests we think have already been done in Kentucky over the last about six weeks. ... We have a lot of work ahead of us."
Testing through the state's partnership with Kroger and Gravity Diagnostics will begin early next week at facilities in Madisonville, Paducah, Somerset and Pikeville, and Beshear said he will announce additional locations Wednesday, April 29. Workers at one of the partnership testing sites in Kenton County, Kentucky, helped administer more than 800 tests in four days, Beshear said Saturday.
Of the 273 new cases reported Sunday, Beshear said 129 were reported in Jefferson County. One of the four deaths the governor reported Sunday was a 61-year-old man who was a Jefferson County resident.
In a news release sent out before Beshear's briefing, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer reported two additional deaths in Jefferson County — a 64-year-old man and 76-year-old woman. As of Sunday, Fischer said Jefferson County has seen at least 890 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 66 deaths related to the virus.
On Sunday, Kentucky saw a 67-case increase from the 206 cases reported Saturday, which was a 72-case increase from the 134 cases reported Friday. Beshear also addressed a ruling by a federal judge that denied a church in Hillview, Kentucky, a temporary restraining order against his executive order that prohibits mass gatherings.
- Beshear says coming weeks could see reopening of Kentucky in 'small ways'
- Federal judge denies Kentucky church's request for restraining order against governor's order prohibiting mass gatherings
- Beshear reports 206 new cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky, 7 additional virus-related deaths
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