FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear reported 1,330 new cases of COVID-19, the fourth-highest number of Kentucky cases reported in a single day. The governor also announced 17 virus-related deaths Thursday.
"The difference between now and in March is we know how to stop this virus ... the question is how we increase our compliance across Kentucky because that's how we can have the most effectiveness," Beshear said.
Kentucky has seen at least 92,299 total cases of COVID-19 and 1,380 total deaths since the pandemic began. Kentucky's coronavirus positivity rate rose to 5.3% Thursday, the highest it's been since Aug. 19.
"Family gatherings right now is where we're seeing a lot of spread, where family and friends come together and let their guard down," Beshear said, adding that colleges and universities are also seeing high rates of COVID-19 spread.
Because of a recent escalation in coronavirus cases, Beshear announced earlier this week that Kentucky has begun "surge preparations," among them limiting capacity in hospitals as it did at the beginning of the pandemic.
Those preparations also include examining possible hotel options, using state parks and looking at operational plans in place to set up a field hospital, if necessary.
As of Thursday, 800 Kentuckians have been hospitalized for COVID-19, with 214 in intensive care units and 105 on ventilators.
So far, more than 17,627 people who had the virus have reportedly recovered from COVID-19, and the state has now administered more than 1.8 million coronavirus tests since the pandemic began.
NKY Health reported that 5,506 people across Boone, Kenton, Campbell and Grant counties have tested positive for COVID-19, and 96 people have reportedly died of the virus. The health department reports 1,484 active cases and 3,926 people who have recovered from coronavirus as of Thursday.
Beshear and his family are now in their second week in quarantine after they came in contact with a security detail who tested positive for COVID-19. Beshear and the first family continued to test negative for COVID-19 on Thursday, and Beshear said he plans to be at a live press briefing Monday.
Kentucky guidelines for safe Halloween
With Halloween approaching as coronavirus cases rise in Kentucky, Beshear called on Kentuckians to make safe, responsible plans for trick-or-treating and other Halloween activities.
“You need a plan because our kids are excited,” the governor said. “They want to have some way to celebrate Halloween, and now’s the time to make the plan and to explain your plan to them on how to do it safely.”
That plan should include wearing face coverings, sanitizing hands often, going out in family groups only and wiping down candy wrappers, the governor said.
For those giving out treats, state health officials recommend setting candy on tables or on driveways instead of handing candy to kids directly or setting treats out in bowls.
“The CDC doesn’t think we oughta be trick-or-treating at all. I know people are going to do it. I know how excited our kids are doing it. So please, make your plan on how you’re going to follow these steps,” Beshear said.
For more information and the full list of suggested Halloween best practices, click here.
Free COVID-19 testing in NKY
In Northern Kentucky, St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Covington's Gravity Diagnostics offer free, appointment-only drive-thru testing at 25 Atlantic Ave in Erlanger, the former Toyota HQ building off Mineola Pike.
The site is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. You will be able to collect your own sample without leaving your vehicle and receive results within three to five days.
Additionally, appointment-only drive-up testing is available through St. E at 7200 Alexandria Pike, Alexandria. The free testing site is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Watch both parts of Thursday's briefing below: