FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - The number of new cases of the coronavirus in Kentucky saw a big drop on Thursday from Wednesday’s record high and Gov. Andy Beshear said he remains optimistic that this will end up being a much better week overall.
Still, a total of 785 new cases were reported to state health officials Thursday, and while it is still a high number, it was down from the 1,163 the previous day.
“I still believe, by the end of the week, we are going to see that we are not in that exponential increase that we were seeing until a couple of weeks ago,” Beshear said during a press briefing at the Capitol.
“It means that wearing a facial covering is working,” he continued. “Other steps are working. But we need you to stick with it, and we cannot make decisions that are ultimately going to cause a significant spread right now because that’s going to make everything we want to do that much harder.”
There were also six new deaths reported, bringing to 796 the number of Kentuckians who have lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.
They include an 82-year-old and an 89-year-old woman, along with a 92-year-old man from Jefferson County; a 74-year-old man from Taylor County, a 56-year-old man from Carter County, and an 80-year- old man from Fayette County.
A total of 658 people is hospitalized across the state due to the coronavirus with 140 of them in the ICU, with 97 on a ventilator.
A total of 730,362 tests have been administered, while the positivity rating rose 0.05 percent on Thursday to 5.62 percent. The number of Kentuckians who have fully recovered are now at least 8,965, although Beshear says he believes that number is vastly underreported.
State Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said while there is no effective vaccine for COVID-19 on the horizon, it is getting time for everyone to get a flu shot.
“While there’s never a good time to get sick, It is particularly not a good time to get influenza in the middle of a global pandemic, when the symptoms for influenza look very much like the symptoms for COVID-19,” he said. “When you get COVID-19, it’s not just stay at home and have chicken noodle soup, with COVID-19, you get quarantined, you have to stay home for a period of time. If you get COVID-19 and you’re in a high-risk category, it’s not just the flu, the statistics for your outcome are much worse than for influenza.”
He said in a bad year for the flu the hospitals are strained from just keeping up with patients and can put hospitals at or beyond capacity. “If you take that and COVID-19 on top of it, you run into a really bad recipe for the hospitals not having enough capacity, to take care of folks, and for health care providers trying to sort who has the flu.”
Beshear said he plans to hold his next press briefing at 4 p.m., ET on Monday.
On Friday, he plans to head to Pikeville, where he will attend the groundbreaking for Pikeville Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital and a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Appalachian Valley Autism Center.
This will be his first such trip since the pandemic hit in March, he said.