FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear reported 576 new cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky on Tuesday, the second-highest daily case count since the pandemic started in March. Tuesday's count breaks the second-highest case count record Kentucky set just four days ago with 426 new cases.
The highest daily case count came on May 5, when 625 people tested positive, 390 of whom came out of Green River Correctional Complex.
“These are not just numbers, these are mothers, fathers, grandparents and friends, and there are only a few individuals that COVID-19 has taken from us … I hope the importance of preventing this loss is the most important thing to us," he said.
Beshear also reported Tuesday a total of 20,223 COVID-19 cases and 494,344 tests administered since the pandemic began.
Kentucky reports 635 total coronavirus-related deaths out of 20,223 virus cases since the beginning of the pandemic in March. More than 5,300 people have recovered from the virus.
NKY Health reports that 1,963 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 Tuesday.
“This sustained increase in cases among people in Northern Kentucky is of great concern,” said Dr. Lynne Saddler, District Director of Health, in a news release Tuesday. “Wearing a face covering whenever you go out in public is a simple act to prevent the spread of COVID-19, save lives, and keep businesses and activities moving forward with reopening. The alternative is that we become like the tragedies that we are seeing in other states.”
Additionally, there have been 18 daycare staff members and 12 children who have tested positive for COVID-19. In long-term care facilities, 2,229 residents and 1,102 staff have tested positive for the virus, and 404 residents and three staff members have reportedly died of the virus as of Tuesday.
Beshear also announced that a pop-up Kroger Health testing site will open July 14 through July 16 at Summit View Academy, 5006 Madison Pike, Independence. Sign up online for a testing slot here.
Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack reported that Kentucky’s case curve is going up, though masks would be able to prevent the trend continuing. Stack, using a CDC case study, showed how two hairdressers in Springfield, Missouri who later tested positive for COVID-19 saw a total of 139 clients for 15 minutes each. None of those clients tested positive as they and the hairdressers were wearing cloth face coverings.
“The evidence is growing day by day: (wearing masks) helps keep people safer, it allows people to return to work, it allows people to return to the activities we need to do for personal and economic reasons," Stack said Tuesday.
Mask order in effect
On Monday, Beshear said that getting a "critical mass" of Kentuckians covering their faces would help curb the spread of COVID-19 and protect the state's three goals of health and safety, keeping the economy open and reopening schools in the fall.
Last week, an executive order went into effect requiring Kentuckians to wear masks in most public spaces. The order also requires restaurants, bars and businesses to enforce a "no mask, no service" rule.
“It creates a clear bright line that each of our businesses need to be following,” Beshear said Monday.
Beshear said local health department officials have been checking on grocery stores and large retail stores for compliance, adding that law enforcement can respond if someone “refuses” to leave a place of business where they were denied service for not wearing a mask. Read more about that order and its exceptions here.
Beshear said wearing a mask is the best way to make sure that events like fall sports and school reopenings can happen in Kentucky, even as many states are having to "significantly roll back their reopenings."
"I don't want that to be us, and I hope you don't either," Beshear said.
To report non-compliance with coronavirus orders like the latest one on masks in public, you can call 833-KY SAFER (833-597-2337) from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. or file a complaint online here.
Watch a replay of the briefing in the player below: