Health

These are archived updates from our coronavirus blog. Current numbers are here.

Dec. 21

THE NUMBERS: Following an escalation in coronavirus cases around the Thanksgiving holiday, Kentucky has seen two weeks of declining numbers when comparing seven-day averages, according to state officials. 

On Monday, the state reported 1,988 new cases of COVID-19, which is slightly higher than last Monday. But Gov. Andy Beshear says overall the numbers suggest cases are beginning to stabilize in Kentucky.

“This is good news. Still too many cases. Still too many people going to the hospital. Still too much death, but good news in that our efforts are absolutely making a difference,” Beshear said. 

Beshear says the decline in new cases shows the latest round of restrictions worked and praised Kentuckians for following public health guidelines.  

 Cases as of Monday December 21: 

  • 1,988 new cases 
  • 244,297 total cases
  • 1,580 people hospitalized
  • 8.64% positivity rate
  • 411 in ICU
  • 231 on ventilators
  • 15 additional deaths
  • 2,412 Kentuckians have died

TESTING: City officials have urged that Louisvillians stay home this holiday, but they encourage anyone traveling or attending events for the holidays anyway to get tested before and after.

Free testing sites are available throughout the city — a list of all COVID-19 testing sites can be found here.

The city is still in a red zone with uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus, with 19% of the state’s cases from Jefferson County.

CONTACT TRACING TEXTSLouisville contact tracers begin sending text messages today (Monday) to people who have tested positive for COVID 19, but haven’t had a case investigation.

The texts will come from toll-free numbers and encourage individuals to call into a local number themselves or answer the phone the next time contact tracers call.

The text will come from one of three toll-free numbers: 844-822-0008, 844-822-0050, or 844-822-0051.  Here’s a sample of the text:

“This is a message from the Louisville Health Department. We are attempting to reach [name] about an important matter regarding their health. We will be calling [name] during the day today from 502-912-8968. We strongly encourage them to please answer our call or call us at this number available 24 hrs. a day. Please leave a message with a telephone number and the hours you can be reached as our voicemail is secure. A care advocate will return the call as soon as possible.”

Dec. 20

Two truckloads of the Moderna vaccine arrived in Louisville Sunday morning at UPS Worldport.

Each semi had hundreds of boxes of the vaccine, according to a pool report. One of the first batch of packages will be delivered locally while UPS will transport the rest elsewhere.

Dec. 19

Gov. Andy Beshear reported 3,388 coronavirus cases and 27 new COVID-19 deaths Saturday, capping a week that included the single deadliest day for Kentucky since the pandemic’s onset. 

But in a release Saturday evening Beshear said the number of cases is declining compared to the previous two weeks, a sign that mitigation efforts are working to slow the spread of the virus. 

“What we are seeing is that the measures we have taken are working,” Beshear said. “We have stopped the increase in cases.”

The state’s rate of positive coronavirus tests held steady at about 8.6 percent.

As of 4 p.m. Saturday 1,655 Kentuckians were hospitalized due to COVID-19, 438 of them in intensive care, and 253 on ventilators. See the data on hospital capacity in the region here.

Also Saturday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said the recent FDA approval of a second vaccine by pharmaceutical company Moderna will mean more doses for the city are coming soon. In a Facebook “town hall” event Fischer said the Moderna vaccine could be available as soon as the week of Christmas, supplementing the Pfizer vaccine. 

Dec. 18

The state of Kentucky reported 3,179 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. Gov. Andy Beshear also reported 28 additional deaths. The number of deaths statewide from COVID-19 stands at 2,344. Jefferson County reported the most new cases in the state with 434.

Earlier on Friday, Beshear signed a new executive order making certain health and safety guidelines mandatory for schools returning to in-person classes on Jan. 4.

WFPL’s Jess Clark explains what his order means. 

Dec. 16

The final shipment in the initial delivery of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine destined for Kentucky hospitals has arrived.

Gov. Beshear made the announcement along with the latest on the coronavirus in Kentucky. Here’s the full report for Wednesday:

  • New cases today: 2,898
  • New deaths today: 23
  • Positivity rate: 8.57%
  • Total deaths: 2,262
  • Currently hospitalized: 1,793
  • Currently in ICU: 460
  • Currently on ventilator: 239

Dec. 15

VACCINATION TASK FORCE: Louisville Metro Government is forming a COVID-19 vaccination task force. City officials say the taskforce will bring together different leaders of stakeholder groups, such as hospital systems and researchers, to strategize effective distribution at the local level.

Plans for the first rounds of vaccinations are already relatively laid out by the federal and state government. Frontline healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents and workers are among those getting the first doses. 

“After that, things get a little more gray, and we want to be sure that gray area is as equitable as possible,” Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness Associate Medical Director SarahBeth Hartlage said Tuesday.

“We want to make sure we make sure we are reaching into all corners of our community and reach those who are at highest risk of severe disease.”

In addition to distribution, the task force will also focus on communication. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer expressed concern that misinformation is already spreading about the vaccine online. -Jess Clark

Dec. 14

THE NUMBERS: Gov. Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers Monday:

  • New cases today: 1,802
  • New deaths today: 17
  • Positivity rate: 8.58%
  • Total deaths: 2,224
  • Currently hospitalized: 1,712
  • Currently in ICU: 441
  • Currently on ventilator: 243

VACCINES ARE HERE: Over the next three days, 11 regional hospitals across the state will receive more than 12,000 doses of the vaccine to administer to health care workers. WFPL’s Ryan Van Velzer was there when the first workers in the state were vaccinated Monday morning.

Dec. 13

The first of thousands of doses of coronavirus vaccine arrived in Louisville at UPS Worldport on Sunday. The Pfiizer vaccine will be distributed around the nation including here in Kentucky.

Also Sunday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced another 2,454 cases of COVID-19. Here’s the full report:

  • New cases today: 2,454
  • New deaths today: 15
  • Positivity rate: 8.52%
  • Total deaths: 2,207
  • Currently hospitalized: 1,712
  • Currently in ICU: 434
  • Currently on ventilator: 224

Dec. 12

Though the FDA approved Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine late Friday, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said it will still be some time before it’s widely available in the commonwealth.

In an emailed release on Saturday, Beshear reiterated his previous intention to prioritize vaccinating front line health care workers and  people in long-term health care facilities.

“It is morally imperative that we get the vaccine to the most vulnerable Kentuckians first,” he said.

Dec. 11

Gov. Andy Beshear marked another decline in the state’s positivity rate, as he announced another 3,691 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. Beshear this week cited the drop in the positivity rate when he announced that bars, restaurants and other spaces can resume indoor service on Monday.

–staff

VACCINES: Hospital chains in Kentucky are making plans to distribute their first shipments of vaccines to staff.

Norton Healthcare expects 2,000 doses; UofL Health expects to receive 975 doses of the coronavirus vaccine early next week.

Dr. Jason Smith said Friday that UofL will be prioritizing employees: Nurses, doctors, support staff and anyone else assisting with caring for COVID-19 patients will be eligible. But it will be voluntary.

“If they do opt out we ask them to tell us why,” Smith said. “They may say that they’re not sure, they may say they’ve had the virus and want to wait till later or something along those lines. And then gives us an opportunity to understand, one, if there’s something we need to educate about and alleviate those fears they may have. And two, it gives us an idea so if we have a number of people not taking the vaccine, we can roll that over to other individuals as we work our way through the list.”

Smith says they have more staff needing the vaccine than doses in the first round, but that they’ll move on to the next highest priority patient if they have any remaining.

Dec. 10

NUMBERS: Gov. Andy Beshear announced a new daily case record on Thursday and the end of restaurant and bar closures as the state readies to start distributing vaccines.

Beshear announced 4,324 new daily COVID-19 cases, a new record, and 28 new deaths.

Despite the new record, Beshear believes numbers will soon fall.

“We’ve got to plateau before we can decrease,” he said. “When we talk about COVID being a fast-moving train, it doesn’t just immediately turn. You’ve got to slow it down, stop it, and turn it around.”

Beshear will let his restrictions on a variety of public venues, including bars and restaurants, gyms and event spaces, expire on Monday. Bars, restaurants and other affected spaces will return to 50% capacity indoors. John Boyle

VACCINES: The kits used to administer the coronavirus vaccine are being shipped out to locations around the nation Thursday from Louisville. UPS says the kits arrived for sorting at Worldport Wednesday night. Once the FDA grants approval for the vaccine, it will be sent out as well.

Dec. 9

Gov. Andy Beshear didn’t hold a live briefing on Wednesday, but he released the number of new cases, which remain high. He announced 3,481 new cases.

However, he cited a declining positivity rate as signs that restrictions on public gatherings are paying dividends.

Dec. 8

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear reported 3,114 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, a number he called high, but roughly 1,000 fewer cases than were reported the previous Tuesday.

“Growth in cases appears to be slowing and we hope that continues to be the case,” he said. Beshear also reported another 20 deaths due to coronavirus.

The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. That vaccine should arrive in Kentucky this month. In the meantime, Louisville health officials are monitoring arrival schedules, and are encouraged by the news of the vaccines’ efficacy

Beshear outlined a schedule in which the first doses of vaccine could arrive in Kentucky as early as next week.

Dec. 6

Kentucky has another 2,567 positive cases of coronavirus, Gov. Andy Beshear reported late Sunday afternoon. That brings the state’s total number of cases since mid-March to 200,632.

It’s a somber milestone to hit nine months to the day since the first reported case in the state, the governor said in a news release.

He also reported that 10 more Kentuckians have died from complications from COVID-19.

According to the release, 1,673 people are currently hospitalized due to the virus, with 401 in the intensive care unit and 214 people on ventilators.

Beshear asked for continued patience and diligence with the possibility of COVID-19 vaccines “just around the corner.”

Dec. 5

Gov. Beshear announced  3,892 new cases of coronavirus in Kentucky today, making last week a record-breaking week for new cases. 23 more Kentuckians have lost their lives to the virus, including a 38-year-old woman and a 41-year-old woman.

In a virtual town hall on Saturday morning, Mayor Greg Fischer said 372 people in Louisville are hospitalized with coronavirus.

Dr. Jon Klein, vice dean for research at the UofL School of Medicine, was also part of that event. He said the city’s major hospitals still have capacity, but looking at Jefferson County numbers alone can be misleading.

“Lots of rural hospitals are beginning to max out on their ICUs,” Klein said. “When they do that and they become completely full, they will want to send patients here.”

Nov. 26

We hope you and yours had a great Thanksgiving if you celebrate. The state didn’t release any new numbers today.

Nov. 25

STATE OF THE STATE OF EMERGENCY: When the Republican-led Kentucky legislature goes back into session in January, it will likely have the opportunity to end the coronavirus state of emergency declared by Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear.

That’s because earlier this year lawmakers passed—and Beshear signed—Senate Bill 150, which included language requiring the governor to set a date ending the state of emergency before the next session or the legislature would be free to decide whether to continue it. Capitol reporter Ryland Barton has this analysis.

EAT, DRINK AND BE CAREFUL: The Centers for Disease Control say no one should travel this year, and Thanksgiving celebrations should be limited to those who live in your household. Kentucky’s guidelines say no more than two households are allowed to get together.

Experts say there’s no real way to eliminate the risk of transmission in this setting. But you can mitigate the risk if you’ve chosen to get together with those outside your household. WFPL’s Kate Howard spoke with Neysa Ernst, the nurse manager at Johns Hopkins’ biocontainment unit for patients with contagious diseases, about her suggested precautions.

Nov. 24

Kentucky’s surge in coronavirus cases has caused some hospitals to reduce other health care services to accommodate the growing number of COVID-19 patients.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced 2,690 new positive coronavirus cases Tuesday and 1,658 COVID-19 hospitalizations — a sharp increase over the past two weeks.

Gov. Beshear said hospitals have already adjusted services to handle more COVID-19 patients. 

Nov. 23

At least one Kentucky public school is planning to hold in-person instruction next week, despite Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order closing all private and public schools to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Jess Clark has the story.

Nov. 22

Just a few days before Thanksgiving, state officials announced another record-high week of new coronavirus cases and the highest Sunday ever with 2,194 new cases.

Nov. 21

3,711 NEW CASES SATURDAY IN KY: Gov. Andy Beshear announced on Saturday 3,711 new cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky. That’s the second-highest daily total of new cases yet. The record was set on Friday.

Beshear announced 21 new deaths due to the new coronavirus. The positivity rate is 9.14%, meaning about one in every 11 people who get tested are positive. Beshear said 202 Kentuckians are currently on ventilators and 370 are in the ICU.

“We continue to be in exponential growth, which will threaten the health care capacity in this state,” Beshear said. “That’s why we’re taking action, and that’s why we’re fighting back.”

INDIANA’S SATURDAY NUMBERS: Indiana health officials reported 6,983 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, and 40 new deaths. 5,246 people have died in all since the pandemic reached the state.

State officials say 3,168 people are hospitalized with coronavirus in Indiana. That’s the largest number of patients since the state began releasing public reports in the spring. 

Nov. 19

HIGHEST DAILY TOTAL IN PANDEMIC HISTORY: 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.

Nov. 18

NEW RESTRICTIONS ANNOUNCED: Restaurants and bars will be closed to indoor dining starting Friday until December 13 due to the uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus.

Governor Andy Beshear announced the new restrictions during his daily briefing today. Indoor venues, event spaces and theaters can have no more than 25 people per room, and Beshear also limited gatherings to just your own household and one other, for a maximum of eight people.

The state is also launching a $40 million dollar fund to help restaurants and bars, which will be eligible for up to $10,000 each.

Beshear announced 2,753 new cases of coronavirus in Kentucky today. All of the five highest days have come in the last week.

He also ordered that all public and private schools move to remote learning on Monday.

Nov. 17

NEW STEPS TO SLOW SPREAD COMING WEDNESDAY

Kentucky recorded its highest daily death toll Tuesday: 33 new deaths from COVID-19. Gov. Beshear reported 2,931 new cases, including at least 325 children. Here’s the full report for the day.

At the governor’s 4 o’clock briefing, Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack showed data indicating exponential spread throughout the commonwealth. “This is terrifying,” Stack said.

Judy Mattingly, director of the Franklin County Health Department, said people who test positive there are now asked to do their own contact tracing, since the virus is spreading too quickly for workers to keep up (the same was announced for Louisville earlier in the day). If you test positive, you should notify anyone you had contact with — that means you were within six feet of each other for a total to 15 minutes or more, two days before your symptoms started (or if you’re an asymptomatic carrier, two days before you had a positive test).

Beshear said he’ll announce new steps the state is taking to slow the spread on Wednesday. He didn’t give details, but said they’ll be mandatory. “Asking nicely hasn’t gotten the results that we need,” he said.

LOUISVILLE LIMITING CONTRACT TRACING: The sharp increase of COVID-19 cases in Louisville over the past six weeks has forced the city’s health department to limit active contact tracing.

Louisville’s Metro Department of Health and Wellness tops out its contact tracing capacity at 25 cases per hundred-thousand individuals.  -Amina Elahi

Nov. 15

YUP, YOU GUESSED IT: Another record week.

“Unless Kentuckians come together, we will continue on this dangerous trajectory with disastrous consequences,” Dr. Stephen Stack said Sunday.

Nov. 14

Saturday brings yet another new daily high number of coronavirus cases in Kentucky with 3,303 new infections, Gov. Andy Beshear reported in a press release.

The announcement accompanied a grim set of statistics that Beshear said is “almost unimaginable compared to where we were months ago.”

Beshear warned that unless compliance with red zone county recommendations from the White House improves and cases begin declining, additional measures may be needed to control the virus.

Nov. 13

Kentucky Sets New Daily Records For New Covid-19 Cases, Deaths

Nov. 12

THE NUMBERS: Gov. Andy Beshear announced 2,342 new cases of coronavirus in Kentucky on Thursday, the third-highest daily total to date.

Beshear said the virus continues to spread at an alarming rate across the state and nation.

Despite the surge, Beshear says he’s still not at the point where he wants to impose new restrictions on businesses.

“Right now, we are not considering any full shut down of any industry. If we get to that point, it would certainly be limited in duration,” Beshear said. -Ryland Barton

SUPREME COURT OK’S EXECUTIVE ORDERS: The Kentucky Supreme Court has unanimously ruled in favor of Gov. Andy Beshear’s power to issue emergency orders during the coronavirus pandemic.

The ruling comes after several Northern Kentucky business owners sued Beshear in late June over his orders, which affected their reopening during the pandemic.

Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron joined the lawsuit and expanded it, asking the court to rule on whether Beshear had the power to issue any orders during the state of emergency. Justice Lisabeth Hughes wrote on behalf of the court, saying that the governor did have the power to issue emergency executive orders.

“The Governor’s orders were, and continue to be, necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of all Kentucky citizens,” Hughes wrote. -Ryland Barton

Nov. 11

IMG_20200712_213225Jeff Young | wfpl.org

A Kentucky home displays green lights.

On Nov. 11, veterans typically line the streets and ride in parades across the U.S. But this year Veterans Day won’t be the same for all of those who’ve served. For veterans who spend their golden years in long-term care centers, they now face a new concern: COVID-19.

Corinne Boyer of the Ohio Valley ReSource brings us a look at how the pandemic has affected veterans.

 

Nov. 10

Louisville health officials are urging people to begin planning for Thanksgiving this week.

The safest way to spend the holiday is to stay home, Chief Health Strategist Dr. Sarah Moyer said on Tuesday. Starting Wednesday, anyone planning to travel or be around others outside of their household should quarantine, she said. Travelers should get tested for COVID-19 two or three days before leaving.

Moyer reported a record-breaking 2,300 COVID-19 cases in Louisville over the past week. Hospitalizations are also reaching the highest levels of the pandemic. -John Boyle

Nov. 9, 2020

Gov. Andy Beshear announced 1,745 new cases COVID-19 on Monday. He said the number is the biggest number for a Monday since the pandemic began. He also reported 11 additional deaths. He noted that the state has also a set another grim record: 300 COVID patients are in intensive care units.

His briefing came on the day when the pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced a trial vaccine that appears to be 90% effective in stopping the coronavirus. Beshear called the news a “potential light at the end of the tunnel.” -staff

Nov. 8, 2020

AGAIN, RECORDS SHATTERED: Kentucky continues to be battered by COVID-19 as cases, hospitalizations and deaths rise to previously unimaginable heights. The commonwealth reported 1,177 new cases Sunday, bringing the state’s positivity rate to 7.24%.

Gov. Andy Beshear noted in a press release that this is the highest positivity rate in more than six months, and the highest number of cases in a week ever — by almost 500 cases.

Four more deaths were reported, including two 92-year-old men, a 77-year-old man and a 76-year-old man. More than 1,500 Kentuckians have died from coronavirus since March. -Eleanor Klibanoff

Nov. 7

Governor Andy Beshear announced 2,162 new cases of coronavirus in Kentucky on Saturday. That’s the highest Saturday total since the pandemic reached the commonwealth.

The positivity rate continues to climb. It’s now 7.17%, up from 6.77% the day before.

In an email release, Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said Kentucky is in an “alarming and deeply concerning situation.” -Laura Ellis

Nov. 6

THE NUMBERS: It’s another day when COVID-19 cases topped 2,000 across Kentucky.

Today, the number reached 2,302, according to Gov. Andy Beshear. He also reported 10 additional deaths, bringing total coronavirus fatalities to 1,544.

Beshear described the state’s COVID-19 situation as “frightening”.

“…You have to understand this is the most dangerous COVID-19 has ever been in the commonwealth and it is leading to more of our fellow Kentuckians becoming sick, being hospitalized and dying. We can only get back to normal if we address it head on and that is why I am urging all of you, especially those in red counties, to follow recommendations for reducing the spread in your community.”

Jefferson, Fayette, Kenton, Hardin, Warren, Campbell and Bullitt had the most cases, according to the governor.

Earlier today, Jefferson County Public Schools announced football playoffs will be played.

staff

 

Nov. 5, 2020

TODAY’S NUMBERSGov. Andy Beshear announced more than 2,000 daily COVID-19 cases in Kentucky on Thursday, for just the second time during the pandemic.

The 2,318 cases fell just short of the Oct. 7 record of 2,398. The latter, however, was due to a backlog of cases in Fayette County, Beshear said.

“There’s no backlog in this one,” he said. “We’re not only over 2,000, we went way over 2,000. This is far, far too many cases.” -John Boyle

 

Cheryl Gerber

Janssen Covid-19 vaccine, which is entering phase 3 trials

VACCINE TRIAL: The University of Kentucky and Baptist Health in Lexington and Norton Healthcare in Louisville were chosen as testing locations for a coronavirus vaccine now in its phase three trial.

Infectious disease specialist and system epidemiologist Dr. Paul Schulz said this stage of the trial means the vaccine has been through testing making it safer for broader use.  

The study needs 2,000 local participants. 

 

ANTIBODY TESTS: The University of Louisville is seeking more participants in its COVID-19 antibody testing program. 

U of L’s Co-Immunity Project is trying to discover the true prevalence of COVID-19 infection and learn how many people may have had the virus previously, so volunteers get both a nasal swab test for active infections and a finger-stick blood test to detect antibodies. Testing is free and no insurance is required.

Any Jefferson County resident who’s at least 18 years old can make an appointment at http://bit.ly/uoflcovid or call 1-833-313-0502. -Kate Howard

Nov. 4

MASK MANDATE EXTENDED: Gov. Andy Beshear has extended Kentucky’s mask mandate another 30 days.

Because of the ongoing uptick in cases, the state’s mask mandate will now extend into December. Beshear said a new poll reported by the New York Times showed 71% of Kentucky voters “strongly or somewhat strongly” support mask requirements for public interactions.

Beshear announced 1,635 new cases Wednesday, bringing Kentucky’s total to more than 113,000. Though the total did not break any records for daily cases – something that has happened repeatedly over the past several weeks – he said it is “way too many.”

BALANCED STATE BUDGET FOR FY2021: At Wednesday’s coronavirus briefing, Governor Andy Beshear said despite earlier concerns, Kentucky will complete the 2021 fiscal year with a balanced budget, and with no additional cuts to state agencies or the Road Fund. He says that’s based on a recent report from the Office of the State Budget Director. At the end of the fiscal year, Behear says there will be around $460 million in the Budget Reserve Trust Fund (known as the state’s “rainy day fund”) — the highest that fund has ever been.

NEW PPE PRODUCTION IN KENTUCKY: A Kentucky manufacturing facility has announced plans to create nearly 200 jobs to produce medical gloves.

U.S. Medical Glove Co. LLC will hire 192 workers at a Paris plant to manufacture the equipment. Retired Maj. Gen. Michael Davidson, who is the company’s CEO, said they will focus their recruitment efforts on hiring veterans.

“This plant is part of returning critical product manufacturing to the United States,” he said in a press release issued by the governor’s office. “Our hiring of veterans is a big part of that.”

Gov. Andy Beshear said in the release that the plan will benefit Kentucky’s fight against coronavirus and its economy.

“Personal protective equipment is in high demand throughout the world, and this new company can help meet that need,” Beshear said.

The facility will undergo a $32.5 million renovation to support the operation, which is expected to begin next year. The company is eligible to receive up to $2.5 million in tax incentives as part of a 10-year agreement with the state under the Kentucky Business Investment program, and another program through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act could earn the company an additional $50,000 in tax incentives. –John Boyle

Nov. 3

‘A GRIM MILESTONE’: On Election Day, Kentucky reported its 6th highest day of COVID-19 cases, which included 255 positive cases among kids under 18.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced 1,795 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. The commonwealth’s positivity rate is now above 6 percent with 1,037 people hospitalized. Beshear says 11 more people have died from the virus, pushing the total deaths to 1,503.

“Over 1,500 Kentuckians that we’ve lost — that is a grim milestone and it appears that we are going to lose a significant number of additional Kentuckians unless we pick it up, unless we do better,” Beshear said. Read more here. -Corinne Boyer

 

LOUISVILLE CASES STILL SKYROCKETING: Louisville’s average daily incident rate has doubled since October, and nearly the entire county is considered to be in a red zone for community spread.

Kate Howard | wfpl.org

During a briefing Tuesday morning, Dr. Sarah Moyer, the director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, said the city is experiencing exponential increases of coronavirus infections. While the positivity rate is relatively stable because testing is increasing, the incident rate is skyrocketing.

“This is not going to slow unless our activities start changing,” Moyer said.

Connie Mendel, deputy director of Louisville Public Health, said the agency is transitioning back to COVID enforcement only, and no longer conducting routine inspections. “We will also be reaching out to businesses, private and others, that are not following [the governor’s] recommendations for the red level, and working with them to try to get them to comply with those,” Mendel said.

Businesses in violation of current rules will be cited and fined, Mendel said. But a crowded Butchertown Halloween party has highlighted one gap in enforcement: Mendel said that, although they have heard about the crowded warehouse party without masks or social distancing, they haven’t issued any citations, because inspectors didn’t witness the violations personally. -Kate Howard

Nov. 2

ANOTHER WEEK, ANOTHER HIGH: Reported cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky are the highest they’ve been as new red zone recommendations went into effect in more than half of the state’s 120 counties Monday.

Two weeks ago the state hit a weekly pandemic high of 9,335 cases. Last week the state shattered that record with 11,700 reported cases —a 25% increase week over week.

“Our actions or inactions are resulting in the type of loss that in my life is inconceivable and is going to exceed most every major war in the standpoint of loss of Kentuckians,” Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday.

The state again reported its highest daily total for a Monday with 1,032 cases on a day when labs ordinarily report fewer cases due to scheduling.

  • 1,032 new cases (109,670 total cases since pandemic started)
  • 988 people hospitalized
  • 270 in ICU 142 on ventilators
  • 6.25% positivity rate
  • 3 more people have died (1,470 total)

Monday was also the first day 68 counties around the state were supposed to begin following the state’s “Red-Zone Reduction Recommendations.

-Ryan Van Velzer

Nov. 1

THE NUMBERS: Kentucky recorded another 1,423 cases of COVID 19 on Sunday, according to Gov. Andy Beshear.

Numbers reported on Sunday are often revised upward on Monday. Even so, that number brings the state’s total number of cases to 108,642.

Beshear also reported Sunday that another four people have died from COVID 19. The number of fatalities now stands at 1,493.

In a statement, Beshear said the top counties for cases are Jefferson, Fayette, Kenton, Johnson and McCracken.

Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Department for Public Health, said in the statement that the situation in Kentucky has now reached a critical stage.

“The spread of COVID-19 is accelerating at a dangerous pace,” Stack said.

Last week, the state surpassed its weekly record cases by nearly a thousand confirmed infections.

-staff

Oct. 30

SPOOKY: Gov. Andy Beshear has called on adults to cancel any in-person Halloween celebrations and issued safety guidelines for trick-or-treaters this weekend.

Health officials have been discouraging trick-or-treating, but Beshear said if families are going to go out, they should follow these guidelines:

Image

Oct. 29

TODAY’S NUMBERS: Sixty-eight of 120 Kentucky counties are now in the red zone.

  • 1,821 new cases (103,305 total cases since pandemic started)
  • 227 of the new cases are children
  • 969 people hospitalized
  • 234 in ICU 120 on ventilators
  • 6.04% positivity rate
  • 19 more people have died

As cases are escalating, Beshear’s administration is seeking a federal waiver to stop collecting “overpayment” debt from Kentuckians who received unemployment benefits.

Courtesy Of Baxter Avenue Morgue

Baxter Avenue Morgue and other Louisville haunted houses have had a steady stream of business despite rises in COVID-19 cases.

A COVID-19 SPOOKY SEASON: Not all of the Louisville area’s haunted attractions moved forward with the 2020 season, but at least 10 opened to the public. Many aspects of the season are no different than in years past. Haunted houses that opened are still offering all the traditional scares, creepy clowns and chainsaw chases that thrill seekers have grown accustomed to. -John Boyle

Oct. 28

TODAY’S NUMBERS: Again, Gov. Andy Beshear on Wednesday announced another record day for confirmed COVID-19 cases.

  • 1,864 new cases of COVID-19 in KY.
  • 14 deaths
  • 927 people hospitalized
  • 235 in ICU
  • 110 on ventilators
  • 6.07% positivity rate

Kentucky pushed past 100,000 cases, and 65 counties are in the “red zone” for spread.

NTI ATTENDANCE: Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) says it has a 91.3% participation rate for the first six weeks of nontraditional instruction (NTI). But rates are lower for Black and Latinx students, students with disabilities and students learning English. -Jess Clark

 

RESTAURANTS AREN’T LOVING NEW RECOMMENDATIONS: Kentucky restaurants say they can expect to see an immediate loss in customers following the latest round of coronavirus recommendations from Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, according to the Kentucky Restaurant Association.

Restaurant Association President Stacy Roof she’s disheartened the governor’s office has singled out the restaurant industry in recommending takeout instead of dining in. It’s not necessarily good for the restaurant business, but Kentucky’s recommendations are in step with guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which consider on-site dining to be the highest risk for restaurant-goers. -Ryan Van Velzer

Oct. 27

TODAY’S NUMBERS: Gov. Andy Beshear on Tuesday announced another record day for confirmed COVID-19 cases:

  • 1,786 new cases of coronavirus in KY today.
  • 18 new deaths
  • 913 people hospitalized with COVID
  • 233 in ICU
  • 115 on ventilators
  • 5.97% positivity rate

Read more on yet another record-breaking day.

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MAYOR ON COVID: Louisville officials are asking residents to follow the new COVID-19 recommendations Gov. Andy Beshear issued Monday.

Mayor Greg Fischer described the new recommendations as “solid,” during a Tuesday morning news briefing. He did not say Louisville would break with the state in terms of recommendations or restrictions.

“Where we’re at right now as the city, is just to make sure that we continue to communicate, encourage people to wear their mask and just think first and foremost about more compliance, personal compliance,” Fischer said.

He is encouraging Louisville residents to follow the recommendations, which include working from home when possible, not dining in at restaurants and bars and not attending or hosting gatherings of any size.Amina Elahi

 

UK HOSPITALS PREP FOR SURGE: As Kentucky continues to post record high numbers of coronavirus cases, University of Kentucky HealthCare hospitals revealed plans to accommodate an expected spike of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

UK’s Albert B. Chandler Hospital in Lexington treats COVID-19 patients from the city and some coronavirus patients have been transferred from other Kentucky hospitals.

Over the last two weeks, the hospitals have seen a sharp increase of 20 to 25 additional COVID-19 patients. Despite the rise, the hospitals have not reached bed capacity.   –Corinne Boyer

Oct. 26

NEW RECOMMENDATIONS: More than half of Kentucky’s hospital beds are occupied and the state has not yet felt the full impact of last week’s record numbers of COVID-19.

“Folks, right now if a hospital accepts you as a COVID-19 patient…  you are really sick,” Gov. Andy Beshear said. “So when you see this chart it means a lot of people are getting a lot sicker.”

In lieu of restrictions, Beshear adopted a new list of recommendations for “red zone” counties where cases are greater than 25 per 100,000 residents.

The Commonwealth was one of the first states in the country to implement a mask mandate, and an 11 p.m. curfew remains in effect for bars and restaurants. Employers are limited to 50% capacity, gatherings of 10 or less are restricted, and long-term care sites continue to test and restrict visitation, among other measures.