Positivity rate up, fatality rate down, but Kentucky ‘not out of the woods’

Gov. Beshear provides Wednesday update on COVID-19 in Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Kentucky’s case report was something of a mixed bag Wednesday.

Gov. Andy Beshear reported:

  • 619 new cases (after Tuesday’s report of 522 and Monday’s of 532):
  • five new deaths (for a total of 724, of which 477 have occurred in long-term care facilities);
  • an increase in the positivity rate to 5.81 percent (up from Tuesday’s rate of 5.08 percent);
  • a decrease in the clinical fatality rate to 2.5 percent (down from mid-July’s rate of 3 percent and significantly below the WHO’s June estimate of 4.2 percent).

The case report comes as Kentucky looks to come down from a weeks-long escalation in the virus, during which daily case numbers spiked from their June nadir of around 150 to highs of 8-900.

Tuesday’s case report appeared to show early signs of a stabilization, and Wednesday’s numbers continue that trend, leading Beshear to say the state is “holding even” against the virus.

“As long as we can keep our numbers around this point,” the governor said, “hopefully we can plateau, and then, as we move forward, hopefully get back to a decline.”

Somewhat prophetically, Beshear said last week the effects of the statewide mask mandate should appear this week. Wednesday he credited mask use for the current stabilizing trend.

“If we plateau again, it’s because of the hard work and willingness of people to wear facial coverings,” he said.

Still, the governor urged Kentuckians not to abandon their efforts.

“We are nowhere near out of the woods, and we are not gonna be for the next couple weeks. That’s why we need to do these things,” Beshear added, referencing the state’s mask mandate, gathering limits, travel advisory and orders on bars and restaurants. “That’s why we need to be diligent.”

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky (Source: Kentucky Department of Public Health)

Unemployment “breach”

The governor also announced a security issue in the state’s unemployment portal. He said it was a “less significant” breach than one reported in April and even questioned the classification of it as a ‘breach’ at all.

The breach involved at most two individuals able to see individuals’ employer information and one line about individuals’ health. They were not able to see name, social security numbers or birthdays, the governor said.

“No one to our knowledge has been financially harmed whatsoever,” Beshear explained, adding there is no known threat to any claimant’s credit or financial information.

The unemployment office reported the breach and sent out notices to affected individuals within 24 hours of learning about it, Beshear added.

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