'Red zone recommendations' to take effect Monday after record week


FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) -- Kentucky saw the most new cases of the coronavirus over the past seven days than for any week since the pandemic began.

“If you’re not alarmed by these record numbers of COVID-19 cases, you should be,” Gov. Beshear said on Sunday. “I know we’re tired, but if we do not get the spread of this disease under control, we risk a darker, more deadly period this winter than we ever experienced in the spring.”

There were 1,423 new cases reported on Sunday, bringing the total to 108,642 since the first one was reported in Kentucky on March 6.

The ten counties which had the highest number of new cases reported on Sunday were Jefferson 301, Fayette 163, Kenton 60, Johnson 50, McCracken 47, Bell 42, Warren 38, Bullitt 36, Hardin 35, and Barren 33.

There were also four new deaths reported to state public health officials, raising to 1,489 the number of Kentuckians lost to COVID-19. They include a 72-year-old man from Bullitt County, a 64-year-old man from Jefferson County, a 74-year-old man from Jessamine County, and a 64-year-old woman from Madison County.

Kentuckians hospitalized due to the coronavirus also saw an increase on Sunday to 994, compared with 964 on Saturday. A record 250 patients are in the ICU, an increase from 236 on Saturday; and 136 are currently on a ventilator, compared to Saturday’s 117.

State Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said indicators are “telling us what we’d hoped to avoid: Kentucky is in a critical situation. The spread of COVID-19 is accelerating at a dangerous pace,” with the coronavirus having spiked for a third time.

He noted several contiguous counties in Eastern Kentucky entered the red zone last week, at the same time these same counties reported flu cases. Though the flu can happen at any time during the year, it is more active in fall and winter.

“Having multiple viruses actively circulating at the same time makes the situation even more difficult, but we have effective defenses that work for these and other viruses,” Stack stated. “Avoid gatherings. If you’re around people, remain at least six feet apart from those not in your household. Wear a face mask. Wash your hands thoroughly. Avoid touching your eyes and mouth. And clean surfaces with sanitizing wipes or a chlorine bleach solution. It’s a highly effective killer of germs of all sorts.”

Monday is when red zone recommendations are to be observed in 68 counties. In addition to schools going to virtual instruction during that time for the upcoming week, the recommendations include:

  • Asking employers to allow their employees to work from home when possible.

  • Non-critical state government offices will operate virtually.

  • Reduce in-person shopping. Order online for curbside pickup.

  • Order take-out. Avoid dining in restaurants or bars.

  • Prioritize shopping at businesses that follow and enforce the mask mandate and other guidance.

  • Reschedule, postpone, or cancel public and private events.

  • Do not host or attend gatherings of any kind.

  • Avoid non-essential activities outside your home.

  • Reduce overall activity and contacts and follow existing guidance to defeat COVID-19.

While the positivity rate has risen to 6.14%, other numbers are not available on Sundays. They include the number of tests performed, as well as how many Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.

Taking a wider view of the pandemic, Johns Hopkins University reports shows 46,382,791 confirmed cases and 1,198,717 deaths worldwide. In the United States, there have been 9,187,062 confirmed cases and 230,865 deaths.

To view the full daily report, incidence rate map, testing locations, long term-care and other congregate facilities updates, school reports, the White House Coronavirus Task Force reports for Kentucky and other key guidance visit, kycovid19.ky.gov.

Gov. Beshear’s next press briefing is scheduled for Monday afternoon at 4.


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