Beshear reports more than 1,700 hospitalized due to COVID

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Gov. Andy Beshear reported the highest one-day total of new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.  There were 4,151 new cases reported to state public health officials on Tuesday. It is the first time Kentucky has seen more than 4,000 cases in a single day.

"Today is the very worst day we have had for reporting on the spread of the coronavirus, and it's the deadliest day we have had."

The total number of cases now stands at 183,168 since March 6.

In addition to new cases, the governor reported there were 1,777 people hospitalized due to COVID-19. He said there were 441 people in ICU and 241 on a ventilator.

"With the way it is spreading, we need to continue to get people tested regularly," he said. "Right now, we have more testing locations than ever before, so there's no excuse not to get out there and regularly get tested.  There are 358 locations across the Commonwealth."

Thirty-five additional deaths were reported on Tuesday, with 13 in Jefferson County alone. The deceased's ages ranged from a 96-year-old woman in Daviess County to a 59-year-old man in McCracken County. The COVID-related death toll now stands at 1,943. 

"This is exponential growth," Beshear said. "If we don't all do our part, if we try to be the exception, then slowing down this thing won't work, and we will lose a lot more Kentuckians we love and care about."

Mark Carter, the head of the state's contact tracing program, shared details about the program. He emphasized the need for greater cooperation from the public and renewed federal funding.

"The public health strategy for contact tracing depended on broad public participation: cooperating with the local health departments when a tracer calls, wearing masks, social distancing and testing," Carter said. "We simply haven't had enough participation from the public and the resulting surge has overwhelmed contact tracing capacity."

Carter said a contact tracing staff of 1,600 have completed 215,000 daily check-ins with COVID-19-positive Kentuckians to monitor symptoms and provide support. He said they have contacted more than 47,000 people who were potentially exposed to the virus. 

Carter said all states must use all of the CARES Act funding by Dec. 30.

To view the full daily report, new statewide requirements, testing locations, a long-term-care and other congregate facilities update, school reports and guidance, red zone counties and red zone recommendations, the White House Coronavirus Task Force reports for Kentucky and additional guidance visit kycovid19.ky.gov.

The next virtual press briefing is scheduled for Wednesday  at 4 p.m. It will be available on Beshear's YouTube and Facebook pages.

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