Seeing red: More than half of Ky. counties in virus danger zone

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Gov. Andy’s Beshear’s “Red Zone Recommendations” will go into effect Monday in more than half of Kentucky’s 120 counties as the surge in new cases of COVID-19 continued on Thursday.


“We have 68 red zone counties that fall into the school long-term care guidance into our red zone recommendations,” he said during a Thursday press briefing.


You can see the red, orange and yellow zone counties on the map that accompanies this story.  In addition to recommendations that schools go to virtual learning, others 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.


The governor has said these are recommendations, not mandates.


Also on Thursday afternoon, Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John D. Minton, Jr., issued guidance to the state court system in red zone counties, which have 25 or more cases per 100,000 population:


--All court proceedings should be conducted remotely.


--Jury trials should be postponed until the county returns to the yellow zone.


--Circuit court clerks should close their offices to in-person services.  All filings should be mailed, eFiled or conventionally filed using a drop box provided outside the judicial facility.  All payments for court costs, fines, fees and restitution should be made by money order mailed to the Office of Circuit Court Clerk or by cash or credit card by calling the office.


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Access to court facilities should be limited to attorneys and parties required to attend emergency, in-person hearings and individuals seeking emergency protective orders, interpersonal protective orders and emergency custody orders.


--Proper use of facial coverings and social distancing while in court facilities should be strictly enforced.


--All court employees who are able to telework, should be encouraged to do so.  


Gov. Beshear announced 1,821 new cases of the coronavirus were reported to state public health officials, the highest ever on a Thursday and the third highest single-day total.  This brings the pandemic total to 103,305.


In addition, there were 19 new deaths due to COVID-19.  They include: a 68-year-old man from Adair County; a 75-year-old man from Calloway County; a 93-year-old man from Casey County; an 81-year-old man from Daviess County; a 65-year-old man from Fayette County; two women, ages 83 and 88, and two men, ages 88 and 90, from Jefferson County; a 73-year-old man from Jessamine County; a 72-year-old man from Lee County; a 61-year-old woman from McLean County; an 80-year-old woman from Meade County; a 71-year-old man from Muhlenberg County; a 68-year-old woman from Rowan County; a 58-year-old man from Russell County; a 68-year-old woman from Shelby County; an 87-year-old woman from Warren County; and an 89-year-old woman from Whitley County.


“This is a type of outbreak where we can’t deny our way out of it, we can’t rationalize our way out of it, we can’t try to find excuses for not following the guidance,” Beshear said.


A total of 969 Kentuckians are currently hospitalized, with 234 in the ICU and 120 on a ventilator.  All represent increases from Wednesday, except the number of ICU patients is down by one.


The state’s positivity rate stood at 6.04%, which is a slight decrease from Wednesday’s 6.07%.


Another casualty of the COVID-19 surge is Halloween trick or treating for children at the Governor’s Mansion, a long-standing Frankfort tradition.


“My family just went through quarantine,” he said.  “And we are not going to hold an event that, at the very least, could put other families having to go through that quarantine.  We are going to try to set an example, even if it is a hard example.”


Beshear the first lady and their two children were quarantined at the mansion for two weeks after a member of his security detail tested positive for the coronavirus.  All Beshear family members repeatedly tested negative.


For more information on the coronavirus and the Beshear Administration’s response in Kentucky, you can go to kycovid19.ky.gov.


Gov. Beshear’s next scheduled press briefing is Monday afternoon at 4, although he will likely send out daily updates on COVID-19 numbers.

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