Thursday’s case report continues ’leveling’ trend; could Kentucky’s COVID-19 surge be ending?

Ky. Gov. Beshear provides Thursday COVID-19 update

FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Kentucky’s Thursday COVID-19 case report largely followed in step with previous reports this week, indicating a “leveling off or at least a significant decrease in the escalation of the virus,” according to Gov. Andy Beshear.

At the same time, Beshear cautioned any progress is “fragile” and that “we can’t stop, we can’t let up until we get that vaccine. We’ve got to do what it takes.”

The governor reported 659 newly confirmed cases Thursday after 619, 522 and 532 were reported over the previous three days.

Emphasizing the point that Kentucky’s July case surge could be over with the passing of the month, Beshear showed a graph (below) depicting COVID-19 cases reported by week in Kentucky going back to the beginning of the pandemic. The July surge is clear, as is the “leveling off” phenomenon that could preview an August decline.

As he did Wednesday, Beshear credited mask use and social distancing for the trend while encouraging Kentuckians not to travel to “hot spot” states, for which there is a travel advisory in effect and upon which the governor foisted blame for many of the state’s case clusters.

Kentucky COVID-19 new cases by week
Kentucky COVID-19 new cases by week (Source: Kentucky Department of Public Health)

Thursday’s case number comes on 11,217 tests. Beshear said Wednesday any testing number above 10,000 per day is encouraging.

Meanwhile, the state’s positivity rate fell to 5.66 percent, down from Wednesday’s 5.81 percent but still above the 5 percent threshold upon which the White House and Beshear have premised orders shutting down bars, imposing a travel advisory, limiting gatherings and requiring masks statewide.

The fatality rate remains at 2.5 percent after Health Commissioner Steven Stack, MD, announced it had fallen there from 3 percent in the middle of July. Stack said Thursday the rate will likely inch down towards 1.5 percent as more testing is performed and the pandemic progresses.

Seven new deaths were reported Thursday. Kentucky has yet to see a significant escalation in deaths from its July case surge, though death figures can lag onset dates and hospitalization dates by weeks.

The state’s reproduction rate, or R naught, is holding steady at 1.09, according to rt.live, an open source website that draws data from the COVID Tracking Project. The number indicates the virus is growing in Kentucky, as it is in 31 other states, but not quite as quickly as it had been in late June and early July.

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