Kentucky surpasses 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky surpassed 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday, six months after the first case was reported in the Commonwealth.

Gov. Andy Beshear reported 667 additional reported cases of COVID-19 and 16 more deaths on Wednesday. He said the milestone was “painful news.”

“Over 1,000 Kentuckians are no longer with us, because of a virus that had its first case in Kentucky just six months ago,” Beshear said during his daily news briefing.

Beshear said, however, that it was the state's second day in a row where the positivity rate was below 4%. The positivity rate is a rolling figure that reflects the average number of tests coming back positive for the virus.

The governor said he would give a special address on Thursday to honor the victims of the virus. He ordered flags at all state office buildings be flown at half-staff for a week beginning on Thursday.

The first case of COVID-19 in Kentucky was reported on March 6.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness and be fatal.