FRANKFORT, Ky. — Starting Tuesday, Kentucky will allow bars and restaurants an extra hour to serve patrons, with last call moving from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., Gov. Andy Beshear announced.
Beshear said the request for an extra hour came from those in the restaurant industry with the return of some sports games which may last beyond the current curfew times. Facilities will be required to close by midnight.
"We thought it was reasonable, but again let’s make sure that whether you’re in that industry or in any other that has some rules and regulations that you’re trying to do it right and not trying to find a way to get around it. That not only hurts you and your facility and the people that come to it, but it hurts everybody around you as well,” the governor said at his Tuesday press briefing.
COVID-19 positivity rate dips below 4%
Beshear reported Kentucky's coronavirus positivity rate dropped to 3.97% on Tuesday, due in part to an increase in coronavirus testing. Kentucky has now administered more than 1 million coronavirus tests since the pandemic began.
The governor also reported 745 new cases of COVID-19, including 96 cases in children under age 18. Beshear also announced nine virus-related deaths, among them a 93-year-old woman from Kenton County.
Kentucky has seen at least 58,000 total cases of COVID-19 and 1,074 total deaths as of Tuesday.
"Again, we are going to see higher numbers as we see a higher number of cases," Beshear said.
So far, more than 10,962 people who had the virus have reportedly recovered.
New guidance for schools
On Monday, Kentucky unveiled a new color-coded guidance system for K-12 schools based on the spread of COVID-19 county-by-county.
When Kentucky's positivity rate is less than 6%, the state will assign a color to counties each week based on the number of people per 100,000 who are infected with coronavirus there, Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said at Gov. Andy Beshear's daily coronavirus briefing.
In "green" and "yellow counties," Kentucky recommends schools follow the Department of Education's Healthy At School protocol while holding in-person instruction.
For orange counties, the state recommends schools consider switching to virtual or blended learning models.
In "red" counties, where the spread of coronavirus is most severe, Kentucky recommends suspending all in-person learning and school sports competition for at least two weeks. Schools in red counties must see their county drop down to yellow before resuming in-person activities.
Stack also announced a new regulation requiring Kentucky parents and guardians to report if their child has tested positive for COVID-19 to their school district within 24 hours. Schools, both public and private, are also required to report the number of positive student and staff tests to the state, as well as the number of people quarantining due to possible exposure to the virus.
Using this information, Stack said health officials will create an online, searchable dashboard that parents and administrators can use to track coronavirus cases in schools. That dashboard will be available soon on the Kentucky Department of Public Health and Department of Education websites, Stack said.
COVID-19 cases in schools
NKY Health reported that 4,132 people across Boone, Kenton, Campbell and Grant counties have tested positive for COVID-19, and 92 people have reportedly died of the virus. The health department reports 715 active cases and 3,325 people who have recovered from coronavirus as of Tuesday.
In Northern Kentucky schools on Tuesday, Beechwood Elementary School (Beechwood Independent Schools) reported a new active case of COVID-19. Campbell Ridge Elementary School (Campbell Co. Schools) reported one staffer tested positive for COVID-19, and Ft. Wright Elementary School (Kenton Co. Schools) also reported one staff case.
There are now four total active cases out of Diocese of Covington schools, including two students at Covington Catholic, one case at St. Paul Catholic School and one at St. Mary Catholic School.
Lindeman Elementary School, part of the Erlanger-Elsmere Independent School District, reported one COVID-19 case in a staff member. Bracken County High School has also reported one active case in a staff member.
Northern Kentucky University reports five active COVID-19 cases in students as of the most recent report on Tuesday. The university has not reported any staff cases of COVID-19. Thomas More University also reported two active student cases and zero staff cases. Gateway Community & Technical College reports one active staff case.
Where to find free COVID-19 tests
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.
Schedule an appointment at those sites online at www.stelizabeth.com/covid-testing.
To find all coronavirus testing locations near you, click here.
Watch a replay of the briefing in the player below: