FRANKFORT, Ky. — After Kentucky broke its record for the highest number of cases reported in one week, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday that capacity limits may be reinstated for Kentucky businesses if the trend isn't reversed in the coming weeks.
“In seeing our escalation, if we can’t stop here in the next couple weeks ... then the White House is going to recommend changes in capacity for various businesses, and we’re going to have to take a very serious look at it," the governor said.
Kentucky reported 6,126 total cases last week, with its highest ever number of new coronavirus cases reported on Saturday at 1,275.
“We cannot have repeats of last week. Last week was our single highest week in terms of positive cases. The week before had been the highest week, and we shattered that record,” Beshear said Monday.
While Kentucky's coronavirus mortality rate is down slightly, Beshear called the rise in cases "concerning" due to the projected number of deaths that follow increases in new cases.
“We are in an escalation, and what does an escalation do? It threatens the health of our friends and neighbors,” Beshear said.
To reverse the trend, Beshear again asked Kentuckians to continue wearing masks in public, limiting social gatherings, getting tested for the virus and to staying home and away from others if you're feeling sick. If that does not happen, the governor said Kentucky may have to reinstate capacity restrictions on businesses, bars, restaurants and schools.
"The schools are going to happen automatically -- if we keep seeing escalation, more counties in red -- less kids getting in-person instruction. So, we’re going to be put in a situation we don’t want to if we don’t step up and do what it takes to get the numbers down," Beshear said.
Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack agreed, saying that Kentucky and the rest of the United States must take measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as countries like Canada, Germany and New Zealand have been able to limit new cases.
“We’ve gotta get our act together, folks, as a country,” Stack said. “This is not just Team Kentucky, but obviously Team Kentucky plays a role, because now we’re a leading contributor to our new cases.”
On Monday, Beshear reported 543 new cases of COVID-19, higher than the previous Monday when Kentucky saw record-breaking numbers of new cases, as well as five new virus-related deaths.
Kentucky has seen at least 73,158 total cases of COVID-19 and 1,214 total deaths, and Kentucky's coronavirus positivity rate has risen slightly 4.69%, mainly due to a ramp-up of testing.
So far, more than 12,445 people who had the virus have reportedly recovered from COVID-19, and the state has now administered more than 1.5 million coronavirus tests since the pandemic began.
NKY Health reported that 4,783 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 771 active cases and 3,916 people who have recovered from coronavirus as of Monday.
Kynect online healthcare portal returns
On Monday, Beshear announced the relaunch of Kynect, an online portal where Kentuckians can register for healthcare modeled after the program of the same name that launched during the Obama administration.
The online portal connects to the federal healthcare exchange for Medicaid now and will connect to the state-based healthcare exchange in January 2022.
The site also connects to food assistance, foster care resources, substance abuse program information and more social services brought under “one umbrella,” the governor said.
“I think it’s going to make it so much easier to get the help that we need. I think it’s going to make it seamless, and our goal is for it to operate as well as any app that might be out there that you regularly use,” Beshear said.
Find free COVID-19 testing in NKY
In Northern Kentucky, St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Covington's Gravity Diagnostics offers 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 a replay of the briefing in the player below: