FRANKFORT, KY (WOWK) – Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says while the state’s overall positivity rate has gone down from yesterday, currently listed as 5.48%, a report from the White House shows higher rates in individual counties.
The governor says the report shows 20 counties in a “red zone,” meaning the positivity rate in those counties is 10% or higher. The report also lists 43 counties in a “yellow zone,” meaning they have a positivity rate of 5% to 10%.
The governor says this means just over 50% of the state’s 120 counties fall into these zones, and this report helps the state see where federal officials believe the highest areas of concern in the state are located.
“It shows you how quickly it can happen and that this is also spreading in rural Kentucky. This isn’t just an urban issue. COVID doesn’t care if you live in a city or you live in a more rural county; it will infect you just the same,” Beshear said again stressing the importance of slowing the positivity rate during his daily briefing.
Two counties in our region, Greenup and Johnson counties, are listed in the “yellow zone,” according to the White House report.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Commissioner for the Kentucky Department for Public Health Steven Stack say this data on community spread along with local data will help schools, parents and students make decisions on the best way to begin school Sept. 28.
Dr. Stack says the state can learn from what has and has not worked in other states to make sure all students and staff are safe once in-person learning resumes. The governor cited instances such as Mississippi where 71 of 82 counties are reporting COVID-19 outbreaks in schools.
According to Dr. Stack, if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the school is required to communicate with the Department for Public Health and to then notify the school community. The KDPH will also publish the case in its “school cases report.”
“The best plans don’t work if there is an aggressive community spread,” Beshear said referencing a statement from United States Surgeon General Jerome Adams. “And as of today, with only a couple of individual schools reopened, we know that one has already moved to virtual based on a COVID positive kiddo that we hope gets better, and we now have one superintendent that has tested positive.”
Stack says the information will be shared daily and in the governor’s press briefings.
The governor also says plans will be announced later this week to make sure all students have access to broadband connectivity. He says the state estimates broadband could be an issue for about 5% of Kentucky students.
The governor confirmed 627 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 additional deaths, bringing the state to 40,299 total cases and 830 deaths. The governor says 76 of the new cases are in patients 18-years-old or younger.
The state has conducted 770,382 tests for the virus and 9,233 Kentuckians have recovered from their illness.