FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky remained on a record-setting trajectory with another day of more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases reported, Gov. Andy Beshear said Saturday as he urged people to “buckle down" and do their part to contain the outbreak.
The state reported 1,002 more COVID-19 cases, sending total statewide cases past 79,400 since the pandemic began, Beshear said. Seven more virus-related deaths — among people ranging in age from 58 to 93 — were announced Saturday, raising Kentucky's death toll to 1,249.
Beshear has warned Kentucky is on pace to set another weekly record for virus cases.
“The number of positive cases is increasing at a troubling pace," the Democratic governor said Saturday. “We’ve had multiple week-over-week increases and we are at an all-time high here in Kentucky. Don’t fool around with this virus."
He continued urging people to wear masks, practice social distancing and wash hands frequently to combat the virus's spread. Beshear recently extended his mask mandate for another 30 days and promised stricter enforcement as the state struggles with surging virus cases.
“It’s past time for us to get back to the behaviors that we know curb the spread of this virus,” he said. “It’s time to buckle down and treat this thing like the deadly disease that it is.”
The state’s closely watched positivity rate — a seven-day rolling figure reflecting the average number of tests coming back positive for the virus — was 4.16%, down slightly.
Dr. Steven Stack, Kentucky’s public health commissioner, warned that 20% to 40% of people contracting COVID-19 might not know they have it.
“This is a real danger with this virus since this large proportion of people without symptoms can be contagious and spread it to vulnerable people who get very sick,” he said.
He warned that it's crucial for all Kentuckians to understand the risks.
“Not only is it deadly, especially among older people and those with health conditions, but increasingly, there’s evidence of lingering effects including prolonged loss of smell, difficulty breathing, fatigue, ‘brain fog’ and other issues," Stack said.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal. The vast majority of people recover.
Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.