FRANKFORT, Ky. — With a new "travel advisory" Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear is asking Kentuckians who travel to states with high rates of coronavirus to quarantine for two weeks.
Those states, which have seen or are approaching a 15% COVID-19 positivity rate or greater, include Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina and Texas. Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, was also included in the advisory.
On Monday, the governor also asked Kentuckians to once again limit social gatherings like backyard barbeques and block parties to 10 people or fewer after the state had previously relaxed restrictions on home gatherings. The rollback does not apply to events like weddings held at professional venues.
The recommendations come after Beshear reported a record 979 new coronavirus cases for a total of 23,161 cases and 670 virus-related deaths on Sunday.
“The virus is spreading out there, it’s spreading significantly," Beshear said. "We must make sure that we take the steps to keep ourselves safe, our families safe and each other safe."
Kentucky’s Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack warned that the state could see a “vertical climb” in numbers similar to situations in Texas and Florida without new action.
“All the indications are that we are in that accelerated phase,” Stack said Monday.
He said case spikes there are due to loosening coronavirus restrictions too soon and relaxing requirements for masks, gatherings and social distancing.
“When we get to our informal gatherings, which are typically with our friends and family, those are the very places where we’re most likely to let our guard down,” Stack said.
Beshear also presented three White House recommendations for "surge response" in states seeing spikes of COVID-19. These include closing bars, reducing restaurant capacity back to 25% and mandating face masks in public.
Beshear said Kentucky isn't seeing a surge just yet, but the state is taking action with the travel advisory and limit on social gatherings so these recommendations don't become reality in Kentucky.
Ky. case numbers
On Monday, Beshear reported 258 new cases and one new virus-related death, leading to a total of 23,414 cases and 671 deaths. Because most testing centers are not open on Sundays, Beshear expects numbers to rise on Tuesday.
Since the pandemic began, Kentucky administered 533,143 coronavirus tests. Roughly 6,600 people have recovered from the virus.
Beshear also noted that Kentucky's coronavirus positivity rate, a seven-day average of positive cases out of total tests, sits now at 4.52%. That figure has roughly doubled since mid-March, Beshear said.
“Any concept that there’s just more testing out there and that the virus is still in the same place is absolutely and categorically false … Twitter can’t change that,” Beshear said Monday.
NKY Health reports that 2,138 people in Boone, Campbell, Kenton and Grant counties have tested positive for coronavirus since March, and 79 people have died of the virus as of Monday.
Additionally, there have been 21 daycare staff members and 23 children who have tested positive for COVID-19 connected to 23 facilities across the state.
In 233 of Kentucky's long-term care facilities, 2,238 residents and 1,197 staff have tested positive for the virus, and 440 residents and three staff members have reportedly died of the virus as of Thursday.
This week, Kroger Health COVID-19 testing will continue at Summit View Academy, 5006 Madison Pike, Independence from July 21, 22 and 23. Click here to schedule an appointment.
Watch a replay of the briefing in the player below: