Gov. Beshear again reported a new daily record for COVID-19 cases in Kentucky on Thursday.
The 3,649 new cases marked the fourth record-breaking total in nine days. Beshear said such exponential growth shows why it was necessary to implement new restrictions on social gatherings, public spaces and schools this week.
“It’s continuing to grow, and it will continue to grow,” Beshear said. “Our job is to stop it. That’s why we have put these new steps into place.”
Beshear also announced the highest positivity rate so far, at 9.18%. Thirty new deaths were reported, the second-highest daily death toll of the pandemic. Nearly 80 Kentuckians have died due to COVID-19 in the past three days.
More than 1,500 Kentuckians are currently hospitalized. The number of Kentuckians on ventilators jumped to 199 – a one-day increase of 23.
“This is a tough day, but it shows why we had to take these steps, because next week is going to be worse,” Beshear said. “The week after that is going to be worse, unless we ultimately slow down this virus.”
Beshear urged Kentuckians to prevent Thanksgiving from becoming a “super-spreader event” by taking proper precautions and following limits on social gatherings. Restrictions are also in place at bars, restaurants, gyms and event venues.
Religious services and retail were not affected by the capacity limits announced yesterday. Beshear said the decision to restrict certain industries was based on advice from public health experts to reduce spread in a “targeted way with as little disruption as possible.”
“This virus is not fair to them,” he said. “It doesn’t impact every business equally. It impacts businesses where people get together – in gyms where you breathe heavily, in other places where you take your mask off and congregate to eat or drink.”
While a $40 million relief fund has been established for restaurants and bars that will be affected by the restrictions, no financial assistance has been made available for other impacted industries. Beshear said he hopes the federal government will work towards a new relief package for businesses and workers who will become unemployed.