Beshear: 659 new COVID-19 cases; 7 deaths Thursday

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday updated Kentuckians on the state’s continuing efforts to fight the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).

“Remember, we as a commonwealth, as a country and as planet Earth are in this war against this 1-in-100-year pandemic,” said Beshear. “It means we’ve got to show up every day to protect the health and lives of those around us, protect our economy and do everything we can to get our kids back in school.”

Case Information
As of 4 p.m. July 30, Beshear said there were at least 29,386 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 659 of which were newly reported Thursday. Twenty-two of the newly reported cases were from children ages 5 and younger.

“Our cases are a little up from yesterday, but our positivity rate is down because we’ve had more tests,” said Beshear. “Once we get the virus under control, we have to keep it under control. We can’t stop. We can’t let up. Until we have that vaccine, we’ve got to do what it takes.”

Beshear reported seven new deaths Thursday, raising the total to 731 Kentuckians lost to the virus.

The deaths reported Thursday include a 75-year-old man from Casey County; a 65-year-old man from Christian County; a 92-year-old woman from Green County; an 82-year-old man from Greenup County; an 81-year-old woman from Ohio County; a 63-year-old woman from Simpson County; and a 70-year-old woman from Warren County.

“More and more people in their 60s,” said Beshear. “We know we are in this battle – and that now is a critical time to fight.”

As of Thursday, there have been at least 621,206 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate currently stands at 5.66%. At least 7,590 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.

For additional information, including up-to-date lists of positive cases and deaths, as well as breakdowns of coronavirus infections by county, race and ethnicity, click here.

Contact Tracing Update
Mark Carter, executive policy advisor at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, updated Kentuckians on contact tracing and tracking across the commonwealth, an effort that Carter leads.

There are now 631 contact tracers in Kentucky and 63 more will be added Aug. 4. In addition, there are 190 disease investigators, 54 regional team members and 11 social support connectors.

He announced that the program has already seen notable successes. In addition to their work preventing COVID-19 from spreading, contact tracers are able to offer reassurance, help monitor symptoms and connect Kentuckians to food and medical support during quarantine and isolation. Also, local health departments report that many residents are well-prepared and take the time to write down their contacts before they are contacted by contact tracers.

“Overwhelmingly once the health department is able to reach people, they are being cooperative. They want to protect their health, they want to protect their loved ones,” said Carter.

Carter said his team’s greatest challenge is that some residents still do not understand the seriousness of COVID-19. People believe they do not have the disease and refuse to name their contacts, contributing to more positive cases and the loss of information.

“I feel like the progress is good, we’re in good shape. But we all worry about what might happen with the spread of the virus and what it might mean for our public health response,” said Carter.

COVID-19 Long-Term Side Effects Update
Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Department for Public Health, provided an update on the known long-term side effects of COVID-19.

“People in high-risk categories are relying on the rest of us to behave responsibly,” said Stack. “I may not be at high-risk, but other people are and I have an obligation to not recklessly endanger them.”

In children, COVID-19 can cause multisystem inflammatory disorder, rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, low blood pressure, shock and heart damage.

In young adults, COVID-19 can cause blood clotting disorders, including strokes and pulmonary embolisms. One in five young adults still have symptoms 14 to 21 days after being diagnosed with COVID-19. In severe cases, recovery can take six weeks or more.

Adults 50 years old or older are twice as likely as young adults to have symptoms 14 to 21 days after diagnosis.

Finally, COVID-19 survivors of any age may have long-term, irreversible lung damage.

Stack emphasized that some side effects of this new virus may still be unknown, and its side effects that we already know about highlight why our fight against COVID-19 is so important.

“There’s a lot we don’t know, and so I’m not trying to fear-monger, I’m just trying to tell you, there’s a lot we don’t know,” said Stack.