FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear announced 1,346 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the highest number of cases reported in Kentucky in a single day.
“What this means is that for a couple weeks, we’ve probably been a little casual or a little lax, and while I see people out there stepping it up -- it takes a little time to catch up -- but again, today oughta be one of those things that jolts us into action,” Beshear said.
Wednesday's COVID-19 report breaks the single-day record set on Oct. 3 with 1,275 new cases, part of what the governor characterized as a "third major escalation" since the pandemic began in March.
The governor also reported seven new virus-related deaths Wednesday.
"Think about it this way: If we do the right things -- if we protect one another -- we knock down the case numbers, which knocks down the hospitalization numbers, which knocks down the ICU numbers, which knocks down the ventilator numbers, which saves people's lives," Beshear said. "I know we can do it, and I know we will do it."
Kentucky has seen at least 83,013 total cases of COVID-19 and 1,276 total deaths, and Kentucky's coronavirus positivity rate had risen again to 4.72% on Wednesday. Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Stack also announced that beginning next week, Kentucky will change the way it calculates the positivity rate, using COVID-19 PCR tests that are sent in electronically to make the calculation.
“PCR tests are the gold standard – those are the most reliable – for finding active disease in currently infected people,” Stack said Tuesday.
So far, more than 16,756 people who had the virus have reportedly recovered from COVID-19, and the state has now administered more than 1.7 million coronavirus tests since the pandemic began.
NKY Health reported that 5,148 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 1,135 active cases and 3,917 people who have recovered from coronavirus as of Wednesday.
White House: Kentucky in COVID-19 'red zone'
Per the latest report from the federal COVID-19 task force this week, Kentucky is in the White House's “red zone,” indicating 101 or more new cases per 100,000 people.
Additionally, 63% of all Kentucky counties have moderate or high levels of community transmission, according to the White House.
Stack said that higher spread is happening in the state's rural counties. In Northern Kentucky, Boone and Campbell counties are in the orange zone while Kenton County remains yellow, indicating lower spread of COVID-19 in that area.
“We have to keep up our efforts, and keep up our work to prevent the spread of this disease to avoid the harms this causes,” Stack said.
Stack renewed his call for Kentuckians to mask up in public to protect themselves and others.
“This is not a disease you want to get. People who get it can often get pretty sick, particularly if you're older and have chronic medical problems. So I encourage you strongly, I ask you strongly, please wear a mask,” Stack said.
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 a replay of the briefing in the player below: