Monday, October 12, 2020

Kentucky has most Monday cases yet; Beshear says virus will be defeated not by mask enforcement, but by 'personal responsibility'

7-day rolling average of new cases, based on unadjusted daily reports (Ky. Health News graph)
By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Gov. Andy Beshear announced 643 new cases of the coronavirus Monday, bringing the state's unadjusted seven-day rolling average to 917, the second highest yet. The highest was six days ago, on Oct. 6, when it hit 920.

"So today, again, our escalations continue," Beshear said at his daily briefing. "Today is the largest number of cases we've ever had on a Monday," a day when numbers tend to be low because of limited testing and reporting on weekends. He said there has been a "steady increase" on recent Mondays, and "That means that we've got to do better."

Beshear again urged Kentuckians to wear masks, keep their hands washed and to spread out the number of contacts they have throughout the week. 

The share of people testing positive for the virus in the past seven days in Kentucky was 4.37%. 

Beshear reported 672 people are hospitalized in Kentucky with covid-19, 180 are in intensive care and 93 are on ventilators. "Please pray for them," he said.

Beshear gave his daily briefing from the governor's mansion because he and his family are in quarantine after possible exposure to the virus from a member of their security detail. Beshear said he and his family do not have any symptoms and that he will be tested on Tuesday. "We're doing great," he said. 

Health Commissioner Steven Stack explained that the reason for quarantine is to "break the chain of transmission" of the virus.

A question submitted in advance by Kentucky Health News asked Beshear what he is doing to encourage "local enforcement" of his mask mandate and what specific suggestions he has made of local officials.

Beshear read the question to say "local law enforcement" and said that he had not talked to those he would call "law enforcement" but did ask mayors and county judges last week to work with their local health departments for enforcement and to show leadership around this issue. 

"One of the things that I asked is that, they're out and about too, and if people see us, as leaders in a grocery store where people aren't wearing masks, we need to mention something to the manager, other stores as well," he said. "Now, if we can show that type of reaction, by pushing people to do the right thing, we can resolve a lot of this." 

He added, "And we really need from our businesses, a no-shirt, no-shoes, no-mask, no-service" policy. 

Pointing to large national companies that no longer require employees to ask customers to wear masks, he said, "Well, here in Kentucky, you have to. That's the way that we ultimately beat this virus." 

All that being said, Beshear concluded that it is ultimately individual responsibility that is needed to get more people to wear masks.  

"At the end of the day, we can't enforce our way into the practices we need to defeat covid-19," he said. "Team Kentucky needs to come together to do that. It's got to be self enforcement, personal responsibility." 

Asked if he would be implementing tougher enforcement, including fines, for those who break the mask mandate, Beshear said several groups, including ABC and the labor cabinet are helping in this area and have issued fines and closure orders. And again, he called on individuals to step up and do their part. 

Taylor Crites (Photo by Janelle Bardon)
Health Commissioner Steven Stack shared the story of Taylor Crites of Louisville, a Ballard High School junior who is in intensive care for complications related to covid-19. 

WLKY-TV reported that Crites's mother, Janelle Bardon, shared her story in a Facebook post as a warning to others that "children are not immune." She added, "Covid-19 is real. It is not over. And what our family is enduring is absolutely terrifying." 

The Facebook post says Crites tested positive for the virus in June and her family thought she had recovered. Since, she has suffered heart and inflammatory symptoms that have been linked to the virus. 

"This is a young, healthy, athletic person who started developing symptoms for the post-inflammatory problems that happen after covid-19,” Dr. Stack said. “So I would urge everybody, please, this is not the time to be dismissive about this disease or to be cavalier about it. It’s the time to double on our efforts and really make sure we minimize how much disease is in the community, and how much it spreads." 

Beshear announced three more deaths from covid-19 on Monday, bringing the state's death toll to 1,253: a 79-year-old man from Boyd County; a 67-year-old woman from Fayette County; and a 61-year-old man from Grayson County.

In other cov id-19 news Monday:

  • Fayette County led the list of those with new cases, with 119. Other counties with 10 or more were Jefferson, 93; Warren, 29; Laurel, 22; Calloway, 17; Christian, 17; Henderson, 16; Daviess, 14; Madison, 14; Knox, 13; Boone, 11; and Muhlenberg, 10.
  • Though Fayette County headed the list, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department said the county's cases had reached a plateau, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.
  • The daily long-term care report shows 37 new residents and 40 new staff have tested positive for the virus, with 776 active resident cases and 505 active staff cases. There have been 760 resident deaths and five staff deaths from covid-19.
  • The K-12 daily report shows 385  students and 190  staff tested positive for the virus in the last 14 days. 
  • The college and university report shows 532 students and four staff have tested positive for the virus in the past 14 days. 
  • Instead of a daily case count, both the K-12 and college report now reports the number of cases in the last 14 days and no longer reports active cases.  
  • Of today's new cases, 94 were children 18 and under, of which 18 were five and under. The youngest was 4 months old. 
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, asked by WNKY-TV of Bowling Green how Beshear and Kentuckians are doing against the virus, said: "I think everybody's doing the best they can, the governor and everybody else, but we’re experiencing another surge, like in other parts of the country, and I think the main message to take out of that is this virus is not gonna go away . . . until we get a vaccine, and it’s gonna be a little bit longer until we get a vaccine. In the meantime, everybody needs to do what we've been doing in the Senate: wear a mask, practice social distancing." Noting that Dr. Anthony Fauci said "We can't shut the economy down again," McConnell said, "We have to work through it safely."
  • Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman said more than $1 million has been donated to the Team Kentucky Fund, which provides money to Kentuckians in need during the pandemic. So far, 1,308 households have been helped by the fund, with the average assistance being $781. Nearly two-thirds of the grants, or $675,000, has helped Kentuckians pay rent or mortgage payments; more than $150,000 has helped pay for groceries; more than $132,000 for electric bills; more than $43,000 for water; and more than $20,000 for natural gas, sewage, propane and waste removal. Those in need can apply at Donate at

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