FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear reported 906 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the third-highest daily count the state has seen so far.
Of them, 124 cases are in children under 18, for a total of 50,885 coronavirus cases in Kentucky. Of the state's 120 counties, 95 of them had at least one new case on Thursday.
"Don't be fooled - it's in your community. Make sure you do what it takes to protect yourself, protect your family and ultimately protect people you don't even know so that you're not spreading this, Beshear said.
Beshear reported 10 new deaths Thursday, raising the total virus-related deaths in the last four days to 46 and the statewide total since the pandemic began to 976. Beshear said it would be one of the deadliest weeks in regards to coronavirus since March.
The state's seven-day positivity rate dropped to 4.53% on Thursday.
Kentucky has administered more than 902,446 coronavirus tests so far, and more than 10,463 people who had the virus have reportedly recovered.
"We are still at least holding steady most of the time at a significant testing threshold. So, with the positivity rate as it is, we're doing a better job at finding a lot of those asymptomatic cases, too," Beshear said.
With news that the CDC may prepare to roll out a COVID-19 vaccine in the fall, Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack expressed doubt that a useful vaccine would be ready to distribute to the public by the end of the calendar year.
"Vaccines are incredibly safe, they are one of the modern miracles of medical science, and it is imperative that they continue to be safe. So we have to finish those trials. There are no shortcuts, and so we have to see where we are at each step along the way before we're going to recommend and then deploy those on Kentuckians," he said.
Stack reiterated that while the state's case numbers haven't reached exponential growth, which would signal that the virus is spreading out of control, Kentucky is "on track" to see another record week of new cases and deaths, especially with the holiday weekend approaching.
"This is exactly when we take our eye off the ball, this is when we get together for parties in our backyards and family from out of town comes together ... and they forget about the key things we have to do in the middle of a global pandemic. So please, watch your distance, wear your mask and wash your hands," Stack said.
With Kentucky Derby and Labor Day celebrations this weekend, Beshear urged Kentuckians to limit any gatherings to ten people or less and use precautions like masks and social distancing while celebrating.
"Please, let's not look back and see something as special as what this weekend can be turned into a time when this virus got out of control," Beshear said.
More virus numbers, cases in schools
NKY Health reported that 3,878 people across Boone, Kenton, Campbell and Grant counties have tested positive for COVID-19, and 91 people have reportedly died of the virus. The health department reports 800 active cases and 2,987 people who have recovered from coronavirus as of Thursday.
In Northern Kentucky schools on Thursday, Beechwood Elementary School (Beechwood Independent Schools) reported a new active case of COVID-19 to the state.
Campbell Ridge Elementary School (Campbell Co. Schools) reported one staffer tested positive for COVID-19, and Ft. Wright Elementary School (Kenton Co. Schools) also reported one staff case as of Thursday.
There are now four total active cases out of Diocese of Covington schools, including two students at Covington Catholic, one case at St. Paul Catholic School and one at St. Mary Catholic School.
Lindeman Elementary School, part of the Erlanger-Elsmere Independent School District, reported one COVID-19 case in a staff member Wednesday. Bracken County High School has also reported one active case in staff as of Thursday.
Northern Kentucky University reports three active COVID-19 cases in students as of Thursday's report. The university has not reported any staff who tested positive for COVID-19.
NKY counties in COVID-19 'yellow zone'
Several Northern Kentucky counties, including Boone and Kenton counties, have positivity rates between 5% and 10%, according to the latest White House report.
That puts them in the White House's "yellow" zone, a step below the "red" zone denoting a 10% or greater positivity rate. Now, 14 counties of Kentucky's 120 counties are currently in the red zone, down from 16.
White House data shows most Northern Kentucky counties are in the "yellow zone" with coronavirus positivity rates between 5% and 10%. Beshear has said the Trump administration's rating system may determine future actions in different counties, possibly including another recommended delay for in-person schooling in red counties.
Where to find free COVID-19 tests
In Northern Kentucky, St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Covington's Gravity Diagnostics now offers free, appointment-only drive-thru testing at 25 Atlantic Ave in Erlanger.
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. 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 will be available through St. E at 7200 Alexandria Pike, Alexandria. 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.
To find all coronavirus testing locations near you, click here.
Watch a replay of the briefing in the player below: