FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear reported 1,864 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, the highest count on a Wednesday since the pandemic began. The governor also reported 14 new virus-related deaths, including two women from Kenton County.
Kentucky has now seen at least 101,494 total cases of COVID-19 and a total of 1,442 deaths since the pandemic began. Kentucky's positivity rate again rose to 6.07% Wednesday.
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.
"They are spreading this virus with a large number of cases linked to them. So with Halloween coming up, if you're having a Halloween party, the state believes you're spreading the virus. The federal government believes you're spreading the virus," Beshear said at his daily COVID-19 briefing Wednesday.
Coronavirus hospitalizations increased again on Wednesday, as 927 Kentuckians have been hospitalized for COVID-19, with 235 in intensive care units and 110 on ventilators.
So far, more than 18,165 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 5,975 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 1,436 active cases and 4,441 people who have recovered from coronavirus as of Wednesday.
"We're seeing a really good job being done in Northern Kentucky when you compare it with what's happening right over the river, but we need to keep that up, which requires testing," Beshear said.
'Red' county recommendations
Beshear released new recommendations to "combat the surge" of recent COVID-19 cases in counties where the spread is most severe. Those include 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 increases continue, if communities can't get these under control, we're not ruling out additional steps," Beshear said Tuesday.
Bracken County is currently the only county in Northern Kentucky 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.
For schools in "red" counties, Kentucky has previously 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 6.07% on Wednesday, Beshear said the current guidance for schools will remain through at least next week.
Additionally, long-term care facilities would restrict visitation in red counties.
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: