COVID-19 Sunday report gives state largest one-week total

Health commissioner urges safe behavior Derby weekend

By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

The state reported 462 new cases of infection by the novel coronavirus Sunday, making its Monday-to-Sunday weekly total the largest ever: 4,503. The previous high was 4,333, two weeks ago.

“That means we have to do better,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a press release. “With this number of cases we see more people hospitalized, we see sadly more people being lost. So please wear your mask, please make good decisions. This is a time when this virus is spreading aggressively.”

Reports on Sundays, unlike other days, do not give hospitalizations or the percentage of Kentuckians who have tested positive for the virus in the past seven days. Saturday’s number was 4.59%, concluding a week in which only one day saw a number larger than 5%, the level that prompts public-health officials to recommend restrictions on activity.

“Do your best,” Beshear said. “We can’t be tired, we can’t give up. We have to bring it every week, because this virus is going to continue to take people we love. So, mask up, Kentucky. Let’s beat covid-19.”

Beshear’s press release said 79 of the new cases were in Kentuckians 18 and younger. “That’s a lot of school-age kids, so please be careful,” said the governor, who has recommended that schools delay in-person instruction until Sept. 28. About 30 of the state’s 171 school districts have started in-person classes, and some of the remainder have authorization from their local school boards to start before Sept. 28, depending on local conditions.

Thirteen of Sunday’s new cases are in children 5 and under, down to two months old, the release said. Case reports on Sundays and Mondays are usually the lowest of a week due to limited weekend work at testing laboratories.

Beshear reported nine more COVID-19 deaths, raising the state’s total to 930. The fatalities were a 75-year-old man and an 87-year-old woman from Casey County; an 82-year-old man and a 90-year-old woman from Fayette County; an 82-year-old man from Lincoln County; a 66-year-old woman from Russell County; a 71-year-old man from Green County; an 80-year-old woman from Calloway County; and an 83-year-old man from Harlan County.

Health Commissioner Steven Stack doubled down on his warning for next weekend, noting that the state’s two biggest horse races will coincide with the last holiday weekend of the summer.

“What might be considered in Kentucky a ‘trifecta of holidays’ begins this coming Friday,” said Stack, a physician. “Enjoy watching the fillies on Oaks Day this Friday. Watch the Kentucky Derby, the 146th Run for the Roses, on Saturday. And, enjoy the entire Labor Day weekend. Just do it in ways that keep you and others safe. Stay healthy at home as much as you can. When you go out in public, please practice social distancing, wear a mask whenever you are near others, and wash your hands often. If we all do these things, we have a much better chance for safer, healthier fall and winter holidays with family and friends. These changes to our routines make an immense difference and save lives. Together, Team Kentucky can get through this.”

Counties with five or more new cases are Jefferson, 131; Fayette, 77; Madison, 35; Boone, 10; Bullitt, 10; Clay and Warren, 9 each; Campbell, 8; Caldwell, Green, Jackson and McCracken, 7 each; Boyle, Franklin, Jessamine, Kenton Pulaski and Scott, 6 each; and Boyd, Calloway and Graves, 5 each.

In other COVID-19 news Sunday:

  • The CovidActNow website estimates high virus-transmission rates for several Kentucky counties: Todd, 1.73; Rowan, 1.47; Jackson, 1.34; Green, 1.28; Warren, 1.21; and Madison, 1.13. A rate of 1.13 means that every 100 infected people will inflect 113 other people, and those 113 will infect 128 (1.13 x 1.13), and so on. McCreary and Monroe counties also appear in red on the CAN map but the site says their transmission rates are unknown. The site estimates Jefferson County’s rate to be 0.90 and Fayette County’s to be 1.01.
  • President Trump hyped the Food and Drug Administration‘s approval of convalescent plasma as a covid-19 treatment beyond what the FDA was planning to say about it, after pressuring the agency to make the move, The Washington Post reports. Then FDA Administrator Stephen Hahn grossly overstated plasma’s likely effectiveness, adding up to “a stunning debacle for the FDA, shaking its professional staff to the core and undermining its credibility as it approaches one of the most important and fraught decisions in its history amid a divisive presidential election — deciding when a covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective.” Hahn promised Sunday that the vaccine review “will be transparent to the public, with any clearance by the agency driven by data alone,” Bloomberg reports.
  • Getting kids to wear a mask is hard,” writes Rachel Buchholz, kids-and-family editor at National Geographic. “Getting kids to keep their shirts and shoes on is hard enough—how do you convince them to wear a restrictive covering for hours, especially when you’re not there to enforce the rules? One idea is to appeal to a child’s natural sense of kindness and fairness, says psychotherapist and parenting coach Alyson Schafer . . . ‘Say things like, “We wear masks and stay six feet apart because we don’t want to spread our germs to others who may not be as healthy. We wear our masks because we want to help everyone, not just ourselves.” (Superhero-style masks help reinforce that thinking.) Other ideas: outings for treats like ice cream where they have to follow the safety rules in order to get their frozen reward, and rehearsed retorts when confronted with non-mask-wearing peers. … And of course, figuring out which mask looks best on them. After all, you might as well look cool while you’re saving the world.”

Kentucky Health News is a service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

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