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Gov. Beshear urges caution for Thanksgiving as Kentucky reports record-high week of COVID-19 cases

Gov. Andy Beshear confirmed another 2,194 positive cases, making it the highest number ever reported on a Sunday. It beat the 1,462 cases reported on Oct. 25.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — This is a weekly blog with daily updates on COVID-19 numbers and other related content in Kentucky for the week of November 16, 2020. Governor Andy Beshear is scheduled to give live updates Monday through Thursday at 4 p.m.

Sunday, November 22

3:30 p.m. 

The highest week ever. Sunday marked another unwanted milestone as Kentucky continues to battle the escalation of COVID-19 cases.

The week of Nov. 16 through Nov. 22 surpassed the previous record week by 3,766 cases.

Gov. Andy Beshear confirmed another 2,194 positive cases, making it the highest number ever reported on a Sunday. It beat the 1,462 cases reported on Oct. 25.

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, Beshear is reminding people to be cautious, especially those who are in “red zones.”

“If we have a major surge of COVID-19 cases after Thanksgiving, our hospitals will simply not have the capacity to give everyone the care they need. Nothing is worth that risk,” he said.

Jefferson County was among four other counties with the most positive cases reported on Sunday with more than 100 new cases each.

Four new deaths were reported on Sunday, bringing the total to 1,787 lost to the virus.

The positivity rate is 9.19%.

Limited data is available on Sunday, more of that will be available on Monday.

Saturday, November 21

5:45 p.m.

Kentucky marked its second-highest day of COVID-19 cases as Gov. Andy Beshear reported 3,711 new cases.

Beshear is continuing to press the public to take the latest round of restrictions seriously to stop the spread of the virus.

“We continue to be in exponential growth, which will threaten the health care capacity in this state. That’s why we’re taking action and that's why we’re fighting back,” he said.

Officials also reported 21 new deaths including 5 people from Jefferson County. A 43-year-old man was reported as one of the deaths in the report. This brings the total deaths to 1,783 statewide.

Counties with the highest number of cases on Saturday include Jefferson (573), Fayette (268) and Warren (86). The counties seeing the greatest number of new cases are Jefferson, Fayette, Oldham (171), Boyd (159), Kenton (118) and Hardin (139).

Kentucky’s positivity rate is 9.14%

Overall, the state has reported 155,908 positive cases and 2,604,549 tested since the pandemic began.

So far, 26,156 have recovered from the virus.

Friday, November 20

Gov. Andy Beshear is reporting the state’s highest ever number of new daily cases at 3,825. He also said the state record 20 new deaths.

“This is exponential growth. It is shattering records over and over until we stop it. That’s why we are taking action – we have to,” said Gov. Beshear. “We’ve got more than 10,000 students quarantined right now just based on the last two weeks alone. We’ve got to do so much better.

Thursday, November 19

Kentucky reported the highest ever daily case total with 3,649 new cases. This brings the overall total to 148,390.

All of the top five highest daily totals have been reported in the last seven days. The governor said Kentucky's COVID-19 cases are in exponential growth.

The number of Kentucky counties in the 'red zone' is now up to 112 and the test positivity rate is up to 9.18%.

Thirty more Kentuckians have died from the virus, bringing the total number of deaths to 1,742.

In an effort to help displaced service industry workers following the latest COVID-19 restrictions, UPS announced they will be hiring 1,000+ people across Kentucky. Visit upsjobs.com to apply now.

Governor Beshear said the need for blood donations is high and encouraged Kentuckians to donate blood via the Red Cross or Kentucky Blood Center.

Beshear said during a regular call with the Kentucky Council of Churches, which happens about every two weeks, he recommended that houses of worship move to virtual services during the same three week period the new restrictions will run, November 20- December 13.

Wednesday, November 18

Governor Andy Beshear announced 2,753 new cases of COVID-19. This brings the overall total statewide to 144,753.

Kentucky's test positivity rate is 9.13%.

There are currently 1,553 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, 359 in intensive care and 176 on ventilators.

Fifteen more Kentuckians have died from the virus, including a 15-year-old girl from Ballard County. 

"We can and we should take the actions necessary to save thousands of lives," Beshear said during his briefing.

The governor announced significant steps to reduce transmission of the virus.

  • The number of people at indoor private gatherings should be limited to 8 or less and no more than two households. This will be in effect from Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. through Dec. 13 at 11:59 p.m.
  • The number of people attending indoor venues, event spaces or theatres should be limited to 25 people per room. This includes events such as weddings and funerals and will be in effect from Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. through Dec. 13 at 11:59 p.m. 
  • Restaurants and bars will be closed to indoor dining. Delivery, to-go and outdoor service may continue. This will be in effect from Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. through Dec. 13 at 11:59 p.m. 
  • Gyms, fitness centers and pools must reduce capacity to 33%, group fitness classes are prohibited, masks must be worn and people must stay 6 ft. apart. This will be in effect from Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. through Dec. 13 at 11:59 p.m. 
  • All K-12 public and private schools must cease in-person classes starting Nov. 23. Middle and high schools must remain remote until Jan. 4, 2021. Elementary schools may reopen on December 7 if they are not in a 'red zone' county and Healthy at School guidance is followed.
  • Office based businesses are limited to 33% capacity. All employees who are able to work from home must do so and all businesses able to close to the public must do so.This will be in effect from Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. through Dec. 13 at 11:59 p.m.  

"When addressing COVID-19, action is unpopular but inaction is deadly," Beshear said.

 The governor announced a $40 million in CARES Act funding will go to help restaurants and bars impacted by the new restrictions. To qualify, businesses must be operating as a restaurant or bar and will be required to certify that are in compliance with all COVID-19 orders. Businesses with 50% drive-thru sales and publicly traded companies are not eligible. Applications for assistance will open Nov. 30. and will be processed in the order they are received.

RELATED: Here are Kentucky's new COVID-19 restrictions

RELATED: Kentucky high school basketball to start in January, KHSAA decides

Tuesday, November 17

4:30 p.m.

"Tomorrow, we will be announcing new steps for the Commonwealth. It is time to control this beast. I refuse to stand by and watch avoidable loss around us," Governor Beshear said.

It's unclear what the new steps will be but the surge of COVID-19 cases in Kentucky has drawn great concern from state government officials.

"Asking nicely hasn't got the results we need," he said sharply during a question and answer session following his news conference. 

Beshear announced 2,931 new positive cases of the virus, bringing the statewide total to 142,008.

Jefferson County had its third highest day with 330 new cases with Fayette County (Lexington) coming in with 233.

Thirty-three more people have died from the virus.

The positivity rate now stands a 9.1%

Cases throughout Kentucky schools have also raised an alarm. Beshear announced 989 students and 523 staff have tested positive. An estimated 6,370 students and 1,086 staff have been quarantine.

Monday, November 16

Kentucky announced 1,514 new cases of COVID-19. This is the second highest daily total reported on a Monday and brings the overall total to 139,097.

The state's test positivity rate is 8.98%. 

Three more Kentuckians have died from the virus. Nearly 1,700 had died from the virus in the state.

"We, right now, are suffering from avoidable loss, meaning we are losing loved ones that we could prevent," Beshear said in his daily briefing.

The governor said Kentucky is seeing it's highest ever number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital and intensive care. There are currently 1,442 people in the hospital, 360 in ICU and 128 on ventilators.

Sec. Eric Friedlander, of the Cabinet of Health and Family Services, said with growing community spread, Kentucky is seeing more outbreaks in long-term care facilities. Visitation at these facilities will be limited during the upcoming holidays to prevent further spread.

"We are asking you, please think about sacrificing getting together for the holidays so we are not sacrificing our parents and grandparents," Friedlander said.

Officials are urging those in Kentucky's 103 'red zone' counties to follow the Red Zone Reduction Recommendations Nov. 16-Nov. 22.

"Do actions to protect people around you," Beshear said.

The governor said if the state does not begin to see a turnaround in the growing case numbers, additional steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 will be discussed. He said those steps would not look like the measures taken in March and April when PPE was in limited supply and little was known about the spread; further steps would be more targeted.

"We know too much about the virus now. We don't have to go to those lengths," Beshear said.

RELATED: Downtown Louisville business asks Gov. Beshear for a shutdown of bars, restaurants as COVID-19 cases spike

RELATED: Hospitals in Lexington to update visitor restrictions in response to COVID-19 community spread

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