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COVID-19 questions: With numbers on the rise once again in Kentucky, here's what you need to know.

Vice Dean for Research at UofL School medicine gives the latest information on the deadly virus just days after Kentucky mask mandate

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It's like bad déjà vu

Kentucky is seeing a rise in positive COVID-19 cases for another day in a row.

 As of 4 p.m. on July 11th, Governor Andy Beshear said there were at least 19,121 coronavirus cases in the state, 453 which were newly reported. 

“We have another day of really high numbers of COVID-19 cases,” Governor Beshear said. “This is another day where it shows that we are no longer in a plateau but cases are increasing. We must act now.”

Dr. Steven Stack, the commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Public Health, say Saturday's numbers show just how important careful we need to be.

“Today’s numbers confirm that we will need to continue to take this pandemic seriously,” Stack said.

Even though we are seeing more cases than we have been here in Kentucky, we aren't yet close to states like Florida and Texas.

"We have a chance to get it right before things get out of control," said Dr. Jon Klein, the Vice Dean for Research at UofL School of Medicine.

Klein says while the numbers aren't terrible yet, we shouldn't take our low percentages for granted. In just two weeks Kentucky's positivity rate went from 2.5% to 4.8%.

"You have to look at small changes in numbers that might fly under the radar," Klein said.

That percentage could normally seem low, but the problem is how fast the numbers are changing.

Credit: WHAS-TV
Dr. Jon Klein

Klein says in early June, Texas was at 4.5%, right near where Kentucky is now. Now 16% to 18% of people tested are positive, just about a month later.

“So this is a sneaky progression and it explodes suddenly so you can’t wait until we’re above ten percent of the tests being positive, you have to act when it’s still less than five percent," Klein said.

Neglecting basic public health practices is part of what leads to these spikes, which is why Klein says wearing your mask, social distancing and hand washing can truly make all the difference, regardless of how tired you are of hearing it. It's been shown to work in countries who are seeing the best success of a decline.

"If everyone wears a mask, it will help interrupt the transmission of the virus," Klein said.

Just this week, the world health organization states that airborne transmission of COVID-19 can't be ruled out, but is not definite.

With how new and unknown the virus is, Klein says new guidance and information constantly changes.

"We're doing something that's never been done in human history. We are watching science develop in real time," Klein said.

Some question protests fighting for racial justice contributed to the higher numbers. Klein says in most cities with large protests, there has not been a surge. Many are annoyed results from tests are taking days, if not weeks to get back and he couldn't agree more.

"It is frustrating to me as a physician," Klein said.

It's going to take a long time to fully understand what this deadly virus is and what the right actions are. Klein says all we've got right now are preemptive measures that are not medicines or vaccines.

"Above all wear your mask, keep your distance and wash your hands," Klein said.

Contact reporter Jessie Cohen at JCohen@whas11.com and follow her on TwitterFacebook or Instagram 

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