FRANKFORT, Ky. — New recommendations will go into effect Monday for Campbell and Kenton counties, which were designated as "red" on Kentucky's incidence rate map on Thursday.
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.
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.
That guidance is in effect when Kentucky's positivity rate is less than 6%. Despite Kentucky's positivity rate reaching 6.04% on Thursday, Beshear said the current guidance for schools will remain through at least next week.
Additionally, long-term care facilities are asked to restrict visitation in red counties.
"Now is the time for community leaders, business leaders, school system, government -- if you're in a red county, make your plans for next week. This is our shot -- seven days -- to get out of the red," Beshear said.
Campbell and Kenton counties in Northern Kentucky were designated "red," indicating a "critical" spread of 25 cases or more per 100,000 people. Bracken County, which was designated "red" last week, has since moved into the "orange," one step below "red" indicating spread of 10-25 cases per 100,000 residents.
Kentucky's incidence rate map is updated on Thursdays, and recommendations will be in place for red counties for the following week.
COVID-19 in Kentucky
Beshear reported 1,821 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, the third-highest daily count since the pandemic began. The governor also reported 19 new virus-related deaths.
Kentucky has now seen at least 103,305 total cases of COVID-19 and a total of 1,461 deaths since the pandemic began. Kentucky's positivity rate again rose to 6.04% Thursday.
According to the latest White House COVID-19 report, small home gatherings have contributed to the latest escalation in cases, as "seemingly uninfected" people who are asymptomatic may inadvertently spread the virus to loved ones.
Coronavirus hospitalizations continue to rise, as 969 Kentuckians have been hospitalized for COVID-19, with 234 in intensive care units and 120 on ventilators as of Thursday.
So far, more than 18,277 people who had the virus have reportedly recovered from COVID-19, and the state has now administered nearly 2 million coronavirus tests since the pandemic began.
NKY Health reported that 6,084 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 1,545 active cases and 4,441 people who have recovered from coronavirus as of Thursday.
"Northern Kentucky is actually doing really well if you look at what's happening right across the river in Hamilton County and Cincinnati," Beshear said Thursday.
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: