FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear reported 700 new COVID-19 cases and seven virus-related deaths for a total of 32,197 total positive cases and 751 virus-related deaths on Tuesday.
“While today we have a higher number than we did at this time last week, we believe there is a general leveling off though today there are more cases than last week," the governor said at his daily press briefing Tuesday.
Kentucky's positivity rate had fallen slightly to 5.18% by Monday, and it rose again to 5.24% on Tuesday, an amount Beshear said is not a significant bump.
Still, he warned that with the rising case numbers last month, state and health officials expect numbers of virus-related deaths to increase within several weeks to a month.
"It's probably going to be a really hard August," Beshear said.
But since the state required Kentuckians to mask up on July 10, case growth has slowed from 52% from July 13-19 to 5% from July 27 - Aug. 2. Beshear said Kentuckians can expect that mask mandate, slated to last 30 days, to be extended.
“Before we can have a full plateau, before we can start seeing case numbers go down, you have to slow the growth that is out there," Beshear said.
In her first appearance during the governor's press conference, Kentucky First Lady Britainy Beshear called on Kentuckians to donate face masks for students, educators and staff returning to school later this month through the launch of the new Coverings for Kids program.
“It’s more important than ever that we are proactive in preparing our schools for a safe return when that day eventually comes,” she said Tuesday.
Starting Aug. 11, people can drop off purchased or handmade masks at district donation centers. For more information on donating face masks, click here.
Free testing in NKY this week
In Northern Kentucky, St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Covington's Gravity Diagnostics will offer free, appointment-only drive-thru testing at 25 Atlantic Ave in Erlanger starting Thursday. The site, the former Toyota HQ building off Mineola Pike, will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Additionally, appointment-only drive-up testing will be available through St. E at 7200 Alexandria Pike, Alexandria starting Tuesday, Aug. 11. The free testing site will be 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.
Kentucky has administered 650,093 COVID-19 tests so far. To find all coronavirus testing locations near you, click here.
More Ky. case numbers
NKY Health reported that 2,878 people in Boone, Campbell, Kenton and Grant counties have tested positive for coronavirus since March, with 833 active virus cases. As of Tuesday, 81 people have died of the virus and 1,964 people have recovered. Gov. Beshear reported that a 50-year-old man in Kenton County died of coronavirus on Tuesday.
In 248 of Kentucky's long-term care facilities, 2,635 residents (444 active cases) and 1,454 staff (213 active cases) have tested positive for the virus; 478 residents and four staff members have reportedly died of the virus as of Tuesday.
In 110 Kentucky childcare centers, 84 staff and 75 children have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday.
Restaurants reduce capacity, travel advisory updated
To prevent statewide shutdowns and case surges seen in other states, Beshear ordered restaurants to reduce indoor dining capacity to 25% and maximize outdoor seating when possible. On Tuesday, Beshear said he would look into a possibly capacity increases when Kentucky's positivity rate dips back under 5%.
The governor announced a travel advisory earlier this month, asking Kentuckians to avoid traveling to states with high COVID-19 positivity rates, and if they do travel to hard-hit areas to quarantine for two weeks.
On Monday, the list of states on the travel advisory included Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Nevada and South Carolina. Ahead of events in Louisville, including the 51st Street Rod Nationals this weekend, Beshear encouraged people attending from out-of-state to be responsible and get tested.
Beshear also recently enacted a 10-person limit on social gatherings, a delay of school start dates to the third week of August and a two-week shutdown for all bars.
Watch a replay of the briefing in the player below: