Health

Bookmark this page for the latest news related to the coronavirus and its ramifications in our region. It’ll be updated as the news happens, every day.

 

Visit our COVID tracker for positivity rates, hospitalization rates and more.

Nov. 20

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 PANDMIC 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.

Screenshot

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.