Friday, October 9, 2020

Third-highest number of cases in one day signals third straight record-breaking week; local enforcement uneven, CJ says

State health department map, relabeled by Kentucky Health News; for a larger version, click it.
By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Gov. Andy Beshear announced 1,059 new cases of the coronavirus Friday, the third-highest day yet, signaling the third consecutive record-breaking week. 

“This is the highest Friday in the last four weeks, and this will be our highest week ever when we finish it,” Beshear said in a news release. 

Already, the state is up to 5,938 cases in its reporting week, which has two days to go because it runs from Monday to Sunday. That number includes a backlog of cases that were added from Fayette County Oct. 7. Excluding the backlog, the state has had 4,466 cases this week. 

The unadjusted seven-day rolling average of daily new cases is 908. The seven-day average broke 900 on Sunday and has remained above it, peaking at 920 on Tuesday.

Beshear continued to implore Kentuckians to wear a face mask, a proven way to decrease the spread of the virus. 

“These are just far too many cases. We have to do better. Folks, we really need you to wear your mask,” he said. “We’ve talked a lot about enforcement this week, but the best enforcement is you, making sure that you and your family are wearing them every time you go out. If everybody takes on that enforcement, we will stop this third escalation.”

Deborah Yetter and Grace Schneider of the Louisville Courier Journal looked at how several localities are following Beshear's appeal to help enforcing his mask mandate. They report that "buy-in appears uneven across the state. Enforcement, when carried out, generally has been left to underfunded and overworked health departments. In some communities, leaders report that business owners feel conflicted over confronting customers who ignore the mask edict when their enterprises badly need customers."

Beshear announced eight more deaths from covid-19, bringing the state's toll to 1,242. The fatalities were a 90-year-old woman from Boyd County; a 73-year-old woman from Daviess County; a 76-year-old man from Harrison County; two women, 70 and 74, from Henderson County; an 87-year-old man from Jefferson County; a 48-year-old woman from Logan County; and a 54-year-old woman from McCracken County. 

“We continue to see higher months of cases and higher months of deaths,” Beshear said. “We need your help. Be a good part of Team Kentucky.”

Long-term-care facilities continue to be hit hard, with 42 more residents and 62 more staff reported positive Friday. The long-term care daily report shows 726 residents and 455 staff have active cases. 

The share of people testing positive for the virus in Kentucky in the past seven days continues to be under 5%. Today it was 4.32%.

Hospitalizations for the disease in Kentucky remain high, with 679 covid-19 patients, including 172 in intensive care.  

In other covid-19 news Friday: 
  • Counties with more than 10 new cases of the virus were Jefferson, 264; Fayette, 80; Hopkins, 36; Laurel, 29; Boone and Christian, 25 each; Warren, 23; Jessamine and Shelby, 21 each; Boyd and Whitley, 20 each; Knox, 19; Daviess, Hardin, and Kenton, 18 each; Henderson, 17; Bullitt, 15; McCracken and Oldham, 14 each; Pike and Pulaski, 13 each; Madison, 12; Adair, Calloway, Campbell and Webster, 11 each; and Barren, Clark and Scott, 10 each. 
  • Of today's cases, 114 were Kentuckians 18 and under, with 23 of them 5 and under. 
  • In Bullitt County Friday morning, Sen. Mitch McConnell "said one last rescue package is in the works that would include liability protection, and more money for healthcare providers and schools -- but he doesn't hold out hope that it will be passed until after the election," Gina Glaros of WDRB reports,  
  • University of Kentucky students will be required to get a flu shot, or prove they have received one, by Nov. 1. "We are strongly encouraging all of our faculty and staff to do so as well," UK President Eli Capilouto said in a campus-wide email. A UK spokesman said the move was made mainly to make sure its resources aren't overburdened by flu patients at a time when there is still no vaccine for covid-19. It said students whose insurance doesn't cover vaccines would be vaccinated free of charge.
  • A study in Japan, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, found that the novel coronavirus can survive on human skin for up to nine hours, while the influenza A virus can survive just under two hours, "suggesting that hand washing remains a vital tool in the fight against the pandemic," reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.  Both viruses were killed within 15 seconds upon contact with hand sanitizer. That said, while it is possible to get the novel coronavirus by touching a surface and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the White House held a "superspreader event," apparently referring to the ceremony in the Rose Garden where Trump announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court. Many attendees later tested positive for the virus. USA Today reports, "Fauci made the remark after being asked in a CBS News radio interview what the recent coronavirus outbreak at the White House said about the importance of wearing masks to prevent the spread of covid-19. Fauci said, "I think the data speak for themselves. We had a superspreader event in the White House, and it was in a situation where people were crowded together, were not wearing masks."

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