Beshear may take further action to stop rapid spread of COVID-19

Gov. Andy Beshear warned Monday that if cases continued to surge in the next couple of days, his administration will have to take additional steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“We just need more people day in and day out, trying to do the very best for those around them,” he said. “I don’t want the state to ever see a refrigeration truck coming in because we need it for our lost loved ones.”

The governor added that the specific type of action would not be similar to what occurred in March and April.

“We know too much about the virus now; we won’t have to go to those lengths,” he said at a virtual news briefing.

Kentucky reported 1,514 new confirmed coronavirus cases Monday, the highest number of cases on a Monday for the state since the pandemic began. There have also been three additional virus-related deaths in the state, raising the total to 1,664. One hundred seventy-three school-aged children have tested positive.

A majority of counties in the commonwealth, 109, are classified in the “red zone” — the most serious category for COVID-19 incidence rates. This is an increase of nearly 30 counties from last Monday.

People in red zone counties are asked to follow stricter recommended guidelines to contain the virus. Schools are urged to hold only virtual classes because of high coronavirus transmission rates in their communities, and residents are encouraged to avoid hosting or attending gatherings of any size.

Kentucky’s test positivity rate is 8.98 percent, up 1.5 percentage points from last week. Beshear maintained that though testing is more widely available than in March, the elevated positivity rate is still a cause for concern.

“Our positivity rate is showing us that the virus is more prevalent in our communities right now and it’s spreading faster than any time before,” he said.

The positivity rate is an indicator of the extent of the spread of the virus, according to the World Health Organization. If the rate is less than 5% for two weeks and testing is widespread, the virus is considered under control.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal. The vast majority of people recover.

The Associated Press