Gov. Andy Beshear announced 147 new coronavirus cases in Kentucky on Tuesday, the largest daily increase to date.
But Beshear also said the number is likely inflated due to results coming in late, and that the state is trending in the right direction.
“While this is a large number — and it is — we still don’t see the numbers going the same way in Kentucky as in so many other places,” Beshear said.
Kentucky now has 1,149 confirmed coronavirus cases. Beshear announced seven new deaths associated with the disease, bringing the state’s total to 65.
Beshear said he is especially concerned about nursing homes, prisons and hospitals because they house populations that could be especially vulnerable to coronavirus.
So far 21 nursing homes in the state have confirmed coronavirus cases, with cases involving 55 residents and 22 staff so far and including 11 deaths, all residents.
Beshear said 14 coronavirus cases have been confirmed at Green River Correctional Complex in Central City, including nine inmates and nine staff; as well as nine patients and three staff at Western State Hospital in Hopkinsville.
“We’ve got to do everything we can to make sure the coronavirus doesn’t get into these facilities and we take significant action when it does,” Beshear said.
Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Steven Stack announced that new coronavirus test kits have arrived in Kentucky and are being distributed to 32 partner hospitals around the state—all outside of Louisville, Lexington and northern Kentucky, where testing is already available.
Stack said the development could increase the state’s testing capabilities by 2,000 tests per day, but is still subject to the availability of special swabs used in the tests.
Because tests are still so limited in Kentucky, they are reserved for people exhibiting symptoms over age 60 or with chronic health conditions, as well as health care workers and first responders.
Officials also announced an expansion of Kentucky’s unemployment processing center.
Josh Benton, deputy secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, said the center had 12 people answering phones a few weeks ago and will soon have between 1,000 and 1,200.
He encouraged people who have received letters denying their claims to disregard them.
Beshear also released limited demographic information about Kentucky’s coronavirus patients.
Saying that racial identities were only logged in 68 percent of confirmed tests, Beshear said 79.25% of the patients are white, 12 % are African American, 2.6% are Asian and 2% are multi-racial.