Gov. Beshear reports 659 COVID-19 cases Thursday, 7 deaths
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WBKO) - Gov. Andy Beshear provides the latest update on COVID-19 in Kentucky.
“Remember, we as a commonwealth, as a country and as planet Earth are in this war against this 1-in-100-year pandemic,” said Gov. Beshear. “It means we’ve got to show up every day to protect the health and lives of those around us, protect our economy and do everything we can to get our kids back in school.”
Beshear reported 659 cases of COVID-19 Thursday bringing the total to 29,386. The positivity rate was 5.66 percent, down from Wednesday. The governor reported seven deaths. Among the deaths were an 81-year-old woman from Ohio County, a 63-year-old woman from Simpson County and a 70-year-old woman from Warren County.
“Our cases are a little up from yesterday, but our positivity rate is down because we’ve had more tests,” said Gov. Beshear. “Once we get the virus under control, we have to keep it under control. We can’t stop. We can’t let up. Until we have that vaccine, we’ve got to do what it takes.”
The governor said among the new cases were 22 children under the age of five. There were 587 Kentuckians currently in the hospital with 110 in the ICU.
Among the counties with double digit new cases to report were Warren with 22 and Barren with 12.
As of Thursday, there have been at least 621,206 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. At least 7,590 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.
Mark Carter, executive policy advisor at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, updated Kentuckians on contact tracing and tracking across the commonwealth, an effort that Carter leads.
There are now 631 contact tracers in Kentucky and 63 more will be added Aug. 4. In addition, there are 190 disease investigators, 54 regional team members and 11 social support connectors.
He announced that the program has already seen notable successes. In addition to their work preventing COVID-19 from spreading, contact tracers are able to offer reassurance, help monitor symptoms and connect Kentuckians to food and medical support during quarantine and isolation. Also, local health departments report that many residents are well-prepared and take the time to write down their contacts before they are contacted by contact tracers.
“Overwhelmingly once the health department is able to reach people, they are being cooperative. They want to protect their health, they want to protect their loved ones,” said Carter.
Carter said his team’s greatest challenge is that some residents still do not understand the seriousness of COVID-19. People believe they do not have the disease and refuse to name their contacts, contributing to more positive cases and the loss of information.
“I feel like the progress is good, we’re in good shape. But we all worry about what might happen with the spread of the virus and what it might mean for our public health response,” said Carter.
Dr. Steven Stack discussed some long-term effects of COVID-19 that have been observed. Children could experience multi-system inflammatory disorder, rash, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, low blood pressure/shock and heart damage. He said one in five young adults still have symptoms 14-21 days after a COVID diagnosis. With severe cases, recovery can take six weeks or longer. There were blood clotting disorders reported such as stroke and pulmonary embolisms, etc.
Adults 50 years of age and older were twice as likely to still have symptoms 14-21 days after diagnosis. Ninety-seven percent of COVID-19 related deaths in Kentucky are in this age group.
Dr. Stack said lung damage can occur at any age with severe pneumonia, irreversible damage and scarring.
“There’s a lot we don’t know, and so I’m not trying to fear-monger, I’m just trying to tell you, there’s a lot we don’t know,” said Dr. Stack.
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