FRANKFORT, Ky. — Based on recommendations from the latest White House COVID-19 report for Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear said he would re-up a July executive order requiring people to wear masks in public for an additional 30 days.
"We have seen ... what happens and where we would be without a mask mandate in terms of additional cases and additional deaths," Beshear said.
At his regular coronavirus briefing, Beshear reported 1,635 new coronavirus cases and 11 virus-related deaths Wednesday.
Kentucky has now seen at least 113,009 total cases of COVID-19 and a total of 1,514 deaths since the pandemic began. The state's positivity rate rose slightly to 6.30% Wednesday.
Hospitalizations also continue to increase; 1,066 Kentuckians have been hospitalized for COVID-19, with 286 in intensive care units and 125 on ventilators.
“One of the concerns we have related to hospitals is not that we will first run out of bed space but that we may not have enough health care workers to staff all those beds,” said Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack on Wednesday.
As in other states, where public health officials have attributed rising case totals to “COVID fatigue” — people breaking quarantine out of emotional exhaustion — and relaxed social gatherings, Beshear said most new cases have emerged from unsafe interactions between small groups of family and friends.
On Tuesday, Boone County joined Campbell and Kenton counties in the "red" zone on Kentucky's incidence rate map, indicating "critical" case spread. In those counties, the state recommends moving schooling online and asks Kentuckians living there to limit their contacts to stop the spread of COVID-19.
So far, more than 19,043 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 6,554 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 2,015 active cases and 4,441 people who have recovered from coronavirus as of Wednesday.
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: