New guidelines coming, as Eastern Ky. surges into red

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky is currently seeing its largest coronavirus surge yet, with more than 3,000 cases reported over the weekend.

Gov. Andy Beshear says the latest numbers should be “frightening” to Kentuckians.

“Since March 6, Kentuckians have been fighting COVID-19, yet we are facing the highest number of cases ever reported on a Sunday, and the highest week of new cases,” Gov. Beshear said. “We must do better. We all know the steps we need to take to stop the spread of this virus – wear a facial covering, wash your hands, stay six feet apart and limit gatherings and travel – let’s all do these simple things to protect each other.”

The governor now plans to provide new guidance to so-called red counties during today’s 4 o’clock briefing. That now includes most of Eastern Kentucky, as Pike and Floyd counties entered the red zone over the weekend. Counties in the red are considered to have the highest rates of transmission, with an average of more than 25 cases per 100,000 population reported over the previous seven days.

Schools in the Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Magoffin, Martin and Perry county school districts are holding class remotely this week.

Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack says as October draws to a close and people begin spending more time indoors, it is critically important to do simple things like wearing masks and social distancing to reduce the spread of the virus.

“We’re all tired of COVID-19 and the problems it has brought,” Dr. Stack said. “People are hurting, whether from the virus itself or the impact it has had on the rest of our lives. It’s all worse, though, when we don’t do simple things like wearing masks and socially distancing. As October comes to a close, please be kind to each other and remember that we help each other, and ourselves, when we focus on defeating the virus rather than arguing with each other.”

The weekend saw 3,200 cases of COVID-19 reported, bringing the total to nearly 97,000.

Eleven more people died over the weekend, raising the death toll to 1,407.

840 people are currently hospitalized, with 208 in intensive care and 107 on a ventilator.