Gov. Beshear reports highest COVID-19 positivity rate since Aug. 25, calls Tuesday’s report ‘grim’

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 3:42 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Governor Andy Beshear called Tuesday’s COVID-19 update “grim” and “worrisome," and says the state must be ready for anything-- even if that’s another surge.

“We are now going back to our plans about capacity in hospitals, looking at we have to at hotel options, and the use of state parks, insuring that we have the operational plans to stand up the field hospital if necessary,” Gov. Beshear said.

Gov. Beshear reported 1,312 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the state total to 89,544 cases. The governor says the state is seeing a 5.08 percent positivity rate. That’s the highest since Aug. 25. Of Tuesday’s new cases, 144 are in kids 18 or younger.

Central Kentucky is no stranger to a field hospital. In April, Nutter Field House at UK was transformed into a 400-bed overflow facility. It never saw a patient.

During that time the state was also worried about a shortage of PPE for hospital staff. The governor said today the state has plenty and can support a surge for 120 days. Meanwhile, the state reports ICU stays are up, COVID units are filling and more people are on ventilators.

Tuesday’s cases mark the highest ever reported on a Tuesday, and the fourth-highest day since the pandemic started.

There were 16 reported COVID-19 related deaths on Tuesday. The state death total is now 1,342

The deaths reported Tuesday include a 56-year-old woman from Bell County; a 73-year-old man from Boyd County; an 86-year-old woman from Daviess County; two women, ages 96 and 97, from Fayette County; an 82-year-old woman from Hopkins County; four women, ages 67, 74, 76 and 80, from Jefferson County; a 92-year-old woman and three men, ages 64, 94 and 96, from Jessamine County; an 89-year-old man from Marshall County; and a 78-year-old man from Muhlenberg County.

As of Tuesday, 776 people are hospitalized for COVID-19 related reasons, 202 are in the ICU, and 96 are on ventilators. At least 17,402 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.

“If we can’t get everybody’s buy-in, we can’t get more people doing the right thing, each and every day, my concern is that we are going to experience a real surge that we must avoid, but if we’re going to face it, I want you to know that we are spending our time getting prepared,” Gov. Beshear said.

During the last surge we also saw schools shut down and heavy restrictions on Kentucky’s food industry. As of now, no new recommendations or mandates have come from the capitol.

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