FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear reported 1,032 new COVID-19 cases Monday, the highest case count for a Monday since COVID-19 first arrived in Kentucky in March. The governor also announced three virus-related deaths at his remote press briefing.
Kentucky has now seen at least 109,670 total cases of COVID-19 and a total of 1,492 deaths since the pandemic began. The state's positivity rate again rose to 6.25% Monday, the highest rate seen since June 1.
Currently, 988 Kentuckians have been hospitalized for COVID-19, with 270 in intensive care units and 142 on ventilators.
So far, more than 18,516 people who had the virus have reportedly recovered from COVID-19, and the state has now administered more than 2 million coronavirus tests since the pandemic began.
NKY Health reported that 6,438 people across Boone, Kenton, Campbell and Grant counties have tested positive for COVID-19, and 98 people have reportedly died of the virus. The health department reports 1,899 active cases and 4,441 people who have recovered from coronavirus as of Monday.
Kenton, Campbell counties turn 'red'
New recommendations went into effect Monday for Campbell and Kenton counties, which were designated as "red" on Kentucky's incidence rate map last week.
Beshear released those new recommendations to "combat the surge" of recent COVID-19 cases in counties where the spread is most severe. That includes reducing in-person shopping and using curbside pickup when possible, avoiding all informal gatherings, ordering take-out from restaurants instead of dining in, employers allowing people to work from home if possible, and operating "non-critical" government offices virtually.
"If you're in a red zone county, we need everybody following these recommendations, otherwise this escalation continues to increase. It takes all of us working together -- businesses, government, school system and individuals," the governor said Monday.
For schools in "red" counties, Kentucky has recommended switching to virtual learning and canceling extracurricular activities including sports for at least two weeks and until the county returns to "yellow" status.
Campbell and Kenton counties in Northern Kentucky were designated "red," indicating a "critical" spread of 25 cases or more per 100,000 people.
Kentucky's incidence rate map is updated on Thursdays, and recommendations will be in place for red counties for the following week.
Gov. calls for unity ahead of election
In the wake of a "divisive" election cycle, Beshear called for unity before Election Day.
"I know that there are a lot of strong feelings by people about who they want to win on Tuesday night, and whether or not we know Tuesday night or not who the various winners are, on Wednesday, we're still all Americans and we're still all members of this commonwealth," the governor said.
Beshear also urged Kentuckians who have not yet turned in their absentee/mail-in ballot to place them in election drop boxes to ensure they arrive in time.
For those who will vote Tuesday, the governor advised making a plan to bring masks and prepare for potentially long lines at the polls.
"This is our opportunity to be a model for the rest of the county about what a little bipartisanship can mean, and when we make voting easier, more people than ever vote -- and that's good for democracy," Beshear 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: