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Gov. Beshear reports 647 new COVID-19 cases, 9 deaths

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Posted at 3:55 PM, Oct 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-19 19:20:48-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear reported 647 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, the highest number of cases reported on a Monday through the pandemic. Monday numbers are typically lower than other daily reports due to lab reporting schedules, Beshear said at his remote briefing.

"Now, we are in a third escalation," the governor said. "My concern about this one is it's not just regional -- it is all over the country, and it's moving into the fall and into the winter."

With the escalation, Beshear also expressed concern that high case numbers will lead to higher hospitalization and death rates. As of Monday, 764 Kentuckians have been hospitalized for COVID-19, with 190 in intensive care units and 89 on ventilators.

"We never want to be in a spot like we have seen New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, Arizona -- where our morgues run out of space and we have to have those freezer trucks come up," Beshear said.

Beshear reported nine new virus-related deaths on Monday.

Kentucky has seen at least 88,247 total cases of COVID-19 and 1,326 total deaths since the pandemic began. Kentucky's coronavirus positivity rate also rose again to 4.97% Monday.

So far, more than 17,229 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 5,362 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 1,340 active cases and 3,926 people who have recovered from coronavirus as of Monday.

Beshear and his family enter their second week in quarantine after they came in contact with a security detail who tested positive for COVID-19. Beshear said he and the first family have tested COVID-19 negative for the second time at the end of last week.

"We're feeling good physically, we're also feeling good spiritually and emotionally, and a lot of that is based on a lot of really nice cards and support and messages from people out there," the governor said.

Coleman: More schools submitting COVID-19 data

Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman said while more school districts have started submitting case and quarantine data to the state’s K-12 COVID-19 dashboard, 162 school districts across the commonwealth still have not.

On Monday, 1,570 districts had reported data for at least one day since Sept. 28, with 41 new schools reporting data since Coleman’s last update.

“I want to say thank you to all of our education leaders across the state for doing the right thing. Our Kentucky families need that kind of effort and commitment from every education leader on a normal day, but certainly during the middle of a global health pandemic,” Coleman said.

You can find the dashboard, including case and quarantine data from your local schools, here.

Utility disconnection moratorium ending

The statewide moratorium on utility disconnections for nonpayment will end Nov. 6, Beshear announced Monday.

However, a new executive order designates $15 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds for the Healthy at Home Utility Relief Fund, designed to provide relief for those at risk of having their gas, water, wastewater or electric service disconnected.

The order also requires utilities to create payment plans for residential customers, which run no less than six months. The state will continue to waive late fees on utility bills for residential customers through Dec. 31.

“Customers will apply through Community Action of Kentucky, but the funds will go directly to the utility. Community Action administers the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program or LIHEAP and is accustomed to assisting Kentuckians in paying their utility bills,” Beshear said. “While this is a difficult time for many Kentuckians, this is another resource for our families.”

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.

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 viewer below: