Kentucky beating benchmarks on COVID testing even as cases increase

Gov. Beshear updates COVID-19 in Kentucky after mid-week uptick in cases

FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Gov. Andy Beshear announced another uptick in COVID-19 cases weeks after the state began to reopen businesses.

Kentucky has 295 newly reported cases of the disease for a total of 10,705, the governor said Thursday.

That increase comes on top of Wednesday’s 265 newly confirmed cases, representing a two-day surge Beshear called “elevated” and worth monitoring but still not cause for concern.

The state routinely added around 150 cases per day prior to Wednesday’s uptick.

Kentucky also reports eight new deaths for a total of 458.

Amid the increase in cases, Beshear and Kentucky Health Commissioner Steven Stack, MD, reported Kentucky is faring well on testing capacity.

Stack says ample testing capacity for COVID-19 is important because it allows states to find positive cases in the population and quickly contact trace them, thus containing outbreaks.

Without a COVID vaccine, a ‘new normal’ envisions states living with some small amount of the virus present in their populations, according to Stack. Testing, contact tracing, and outbreak containment are how states will contain the virus while allowing people to continue living their lives.

Testing everyone is infeasible, Stack says, but it also isn’t necessary. It’s enough for states to test a small percent of the general population.

The White House’s reopening roadmap puts that number at 2 percent per month. According to Beshear, just through its partnership with Covington-based Gravity Diagnostics, Kentucky is able to test almost 3 percent per week.

Kentucky's COVID-19 infection rate continues to decline.
Kentucky's COVID-19 infection rate continues to decline. (Source: Covidactnow.org)

Another figure important for containing the virus in the ‘new normal’ is positive testing rate or the number of tests that come back positive as a percent of total tests performed.

The World Health Organization recommends a positive test rate of less than 10 percent. The countries most successful in containing COVID have rates of 3 percent or less.

Kentucky is well on its way toward the latter, with a current positive testing rate of 3.2 percent, according to Covidactnow.org, which relies on state data and which Stack regularly endorses.

Kentucky's positive testing rate for the coronavirus.
Kentucky's positive testing rate for the coronavirus. (Source: Covidactnow.org)

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