Gov. Andy Beshear on Saturday reported 206 new cases of the novel coronavirus in Kentucky, bringing the state’s total to at least 2,707.
Beshear said Kentucky’s number of cases has started to plateau, but that doesn’t mean a spike still couldn’t occur in the future. Saturday’s figure, he said, is the second highest that’s so far been reported.
Seven more Kentuckians have died from coronavirus complications, putting the death toll at 144. Those who died were from Jefferson, Butler, Kenton, Campbell, Pike, and Grayson counties. Three of the people who died were nursing home residents, Beshear said.
Saturday’s new confirmed cases of COVID-19 include 40 more residents and six staff members of long-term care facilities. The Green River Correctional Complex in Western Kentucky also confirmed another five cases. Increased spread of the coronavirus at congregate living facilities “continues to be a great concern,” Beshear said.
Of the more than 2,000 people who’ve contracted the virus, about 46 percent, or 1,174, have recovered.
In total, 32,225 people have been tested.
Earlier this week, Kentucky partnered with six midwestern states — Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin — to coordinate a gradual reopening of their economies.
Beshear on Friday introduced seven benchmarks Kentucky must meet before its economy can begin reopening in phases, which he said hopefully can start to happen “in some very small ways leading up to May.” Likely the first areas reopened will be in the health care sector, the governor said.
Based on guidance from the White House, those metrics include much more widespread testing for COVID-19 than the state currently has capacity for, more personal protective equipment, greater ability to protect the state’s at-risk populations such as nursing home residents, and health care preparedness to accommodate a future surge in cases.
There will also have to be a clear drop in the number of new cases for at least 14 consecutive days before restrictions can be eased.
Even during the first phase of eased restrictions, no groups larger than 10 would be able to gather, schools would remain closed, social distancing would still be mandated across the board, and those workplaces that reopen would still need to screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms. Even when restrictions begin to ease, anyone who contracts the virus would still be mandated to quarantine for 14 days.
“Let’s remember, it’s going to be gradual, it’s going to be phased, and it’s going to be a new normal,” Beshear said Saturday.
Visit Kentucky’s coronavirus website, kycovid19.ky.gov, for more guidance about the disease.