Health

After Kentucky logged its highest-ever number of coronavirus cases last week, Gov. Andy Beshear says he believes the pandemic is escalating in the state.

There were 4,949 new cases of coronavirus cases in Kentucky last week—more than any other week during the pandemic.

During his Monday afternoon coronavirus briefing, Beshear blamed the rise on people who haven’t been following masking and social distancing requirements during the pandemic.

“When we get casual, when we don’t show urgency, what we see is alarming trends in the virus, more cases and ultimately more people passing away,” he said.

Despite the apparent escalation of the pandemic, Beshear did not announce new restrictions and said Kentucky will continue allowing restaurants and bars to stay open at reduced capacity.

Beshear said he is trying to balance the need for government restrictions with how many people will follow them.

“You can have great sets of rules and regulations and if nobody follows them it’s not effective.” Beshear said. “Right now we’re not seeing enough people follow what’s already there.”

Beshear said he worries about a further escalation of the virus as children return to in-person classes and people spend more time inside as the weather cools.

He also criticized Florida’s reopening of bars and restaurants to full capacity during the pandemic.

“What Florida’s doing is reckless, and it’s dumb,” Beshear said. “Every public health expert would tell you you shouldn’t do it.”

There were 456 new cases of coronavirus in Kentucky on Monday, and there were five new deaths for a total of 1,162

The state’s positivity rate is 4.41%.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.