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Kentucky has record-breaking COVID week; Jessamine has second-highest week for new cases

During a record-breaking week for Kentucky COVID-19 cases and one in which it was announced that the president had contracted the virus, Jessamine County reported its second-highest number of weekly cases.

During the week beginning Oct. 4, the Jessamine County Health Department reported 56 news cases of the virus, just four cases shy of the county’s record-high of 60 new cases in a single week, which were reported the week beginning Aug. 2.

Already this week, there had been 29 new cases as of Wednesday’s COVID-19 report.

As of Wednesday, there had been 687 cases in the community. Of those, 72 were active and 615 had recovered. As of Wednesday, 12 local patients were hospitalized with complications of the potentially deadly virus.

The majority of local cases remained among the 20 to 29 age range, with the fewest among the 80 or older range.

As of Monday’s JCHD drive-through testing report, there have been 5,032 tests performed locally, with an overall positivity rate of 2.4 percent.

Of those testing positive locally, 62 percent have been asymptomatic.

The Health Department continues to offer drive-through testing by appointment. To schedule an appointment, call 859-885-4149.

Last week, Kentucky broke virus records almost across the board.

In Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear reported a record number of single-day new cases Saturday, Oct. 3, with 1,275 cases. The previous record was set Aug. 12 with 1,163 cases.

Last week also brought the most new cases in a single week, with 6,158.

Sunday, Oct. 2, there were 616 new cases reported, the second most reported on a Sunday, which is typically a lower reporting day because many testing facilities are not active or reporting on weekends.

The highest number of Sunday cases was reported July 19 with 979 new cases. That surge came two weeks after the July 4 holiday weekend, which state health officials predicted would prompt an increase in cases because of holiday gatherings.

Additionally, the seven-day rolling average for new cases reported was 900 last week, higher than it has been in any week thus far. Kentucky Health News Reported Sunday that two months ago, the seven-day average was less than 600.

On Monday, Beshear reported 543 new case, bringing the state’s total to 73,158.

Sixty-nine of the newly reported cases were from children ages 18 and younger, of which nine were children ages 5 and under. The youngest was only 1 month old.

“I believe that is the highest Monday, certainly in the last four weeks and by an appreciable amount,” Beshear said.

The recent high numbers continue a trend in escalation of cases since Labor Day weekend, which state officials predicted would reflect trends following the July 4 holiday.

Beshear has called this trend in heightened cases the “third escalation,” and made a plea to Kentuckians during his Sunday press conference.

“I normally don’t provide an update on Sunday, but … we have shattered the previous weekly record, which we set just last week,” Beshear said. “We have to do better. Please, everyone, wear your mask, engage in social distancing and follow those top ten rules that we have on kycovid.ky.gov.”

Those rules include things like wearing a mask, social distancing, washing hands and surfaces, limiting crowds and gatherings, staying home if you are sick, getting tested and limiting travel.

As of Monday, there have been at least 1,539,707 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate was 4.69 percent, and at least 12,445 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.

The majority of case have involved those in the 20 to 49 age range, with the fewest cases in the 9 and younger or 80 and older range.

There have been 1,214 deaths in Kentucky attributed to COVID.

Half of all deaths in the state (600) have involved those in the 80 or older range, though, and about a fourth have involved those in the 70 to 79 age range.

“More cases equal more death,” Beshear said. “If we are more casual, as opposed to more urgent, we will lose more of our family and friends. It’s hard because you can’t see it, but it happens. If we aren’t strong, other people typically pay for it. Let’s be strong.”

Nearly a fourth (23 percent) of all cases in the state have been reported in Jefferson County, which includes Louisville. Almost 10 percent of all statewide cases (9.71 percent) have been reported in neighboring Fayette County.

Beshear said the rising number of cases is going to spark a response from government unless and until Kentuckians get the growth under control.

“We cannot have repeats of last week. Last week was our single highest week in terms of positive cases,” he said. “The week before had been the highest week, and we shattered that record.”

Health Commissioner Steven Stack echoed Beshear’s concerns.

“This has not been a good week,” Stack said in a press release. “The president of our nation, his wife and others in the White House – one of the most secure places in the entire world – have tested positive.”

President Donald Trump announced Friday that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive, and since then, other key members of Trump’s staff or close circle have also tested positive, including his aide, Hope Hicks; White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany; his assistant, Nicholas Luna; Republican U.S. Sens. Mike Lee, Thom Tillis and Ron Johnson; Kellyanne Conway, former counselor to the president; Republican National Convention Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel; former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager.

Trump’s opponent on the November ballot, Joe Biden, who met face-to-face with the president for a debate last week, announced that he and his wife had tested negative, as has Vice President Mike Pence.