Governor says wearing masks remain critical; 477 new cases


FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Another high number of new cases of the coronavirus was reported to state health officials on Wednesday but was nearly 100 less than Tuesday’s near-record total.

Gov. Andy Beshear said there have now been at least 20,677 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 477 of which were newly reported Wednesday, down from the previous day’s 576.

The Governor emphasized that the continuing high case numbers show the need for everyone to wear a face covering in public, or in close quarters with non-immediate family members, as required by his mandate issued n July 9, and which took effect the following day.

“It shows you how critical this facial covering requirement is,” he said. “And we have to end the silliness. Challenges to this mean the loss of lives and could send us the way of Arizona or Florida, and we don’t want that.”

State Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack continues urging Kentuckians to remain on guard and resilient in the face of rising coronavirus cases in the commonwealth.

“The climbing number of positive cases is tough news,” said Dr. Stack. “This crisis remains an overwhelming challenge for all of us. The size of the impact on our lives and potential loss of human lives, however, is not outside our influence. Wear a face mask. Keep a social distance of at least six feet. Thoroughly wash your hands. Answer the call if a contact tracer reaches out to you. These steps will save lives and reduce further spread of this dangerous disease that has so terribly disrupted our lives.”

There were also 10 new deaths announced on Wednesday, which raises the total to 645 Kentuckians lost to the virus.

The latest deaths include a 73-year-old man and a 94-year-old woman from Casey County; a 90-year-old woman and a 96-year-old man from Fayette County; a 67-year-old man from Hardin County; two men, ages 70 and 73, and a 67-year-old woman from Jefferson County; an 88-year-old man from Laurel County; and a 71-year-old woman from Logan County.

“We care about each other. We have risen to the challenge of this virus before and we’re ready to do it again,” Beshear stated. “So, I need everybody’s best. Remember: Everybody’s counting on you. Their life, it may well be in your hands.”

As of Wednesday, there have been at least 498,179 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate currently stands at 4.62%. At least 5,475 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.

The Governor noted, “I think about this journey that we’ve been on, going back to our first case reported on March the 6.  I remember us taking very aggressive action, and while our actions were working watching what happened in New York, with devastating loss and hospitals overrun. I remember how our story wasn’t that story, because we bought in, we accepted the actions that I had to take – not that I wanted to take – but that we had to take to protect human life. And together, we flattened that curve.”

He added, “But now what we see is that same thing that was happening in New York happening in areas like Florida and Arizona, with ICUs filled up, and Arizona is ordering freezer trucks because their morgues are full. And here in Kentucky we are in a new time of escalating cases.”

Gov. Beshear plans his next briefing on COVID-19 Thursday at 4 p.m., EDT.


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