FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Kentucky reported 643 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 Monday, the highest Monday case report since the onset of the pandemic, according to Gov. Andy Beshear.
Reports are typically lower on Sundays and Mondays due to some labs closing over the weekend.
The state also reported three new deaths. Its positivity rate stands at 4.37 percent.
Monday’s case report comes after three consecutive record weekly case tallies in the commonwealth, leading both Beshear and Health Commissioner Steven Stack, MD, to affirm Kentucky’s position in an escalation phase of its pandemic curve.
“We have 200 cases per million per day, which is substantially elevated," Stack said Monday. “If we continue to escalate from here, we could get up to the levels where we start to see substantially increased hospitalizations.”
Each of Kentucky’s two previous escalation phases (spring and midsummer) proceeded gradually, but Stack continued to warn Monday of the dangers should the virus hit a phase of exponential growth. He noted avoiding that level of growth falls each Kentuckian’s ability to influence by wearing masks, socially distancing, practicing good hygiene and staying home if you feel sick.
“We’ve got to do better," Beshear said. "We’ve got to make sure we’re following these safety practices and we’ve got to spread out the number of contacts we have in any given day and any given week.”
Compliance with the statewide mask mandate has been one of Beshear’s focuses over the last month. He said last week he would step up enforcement of the mandate in businesses across the commonwealth, including fines and closures ordered by Alcohol Beverage Control Board agents as well as increased efforts from the Labor Cabinet. But asked if he’s spoken to Kentucky’s law enforcement officials about the mandate, the governor said Monday he has not.
“At the end of the day, we can’t enforce our way into the practices we need to defeat COVID-19,” he conceded. “Team Kentucky needs to come together to do that. It’s got to be self-enforcement, personal responsibility.”
Later he added: “We need folks not to try to come up with reasons to be an exception, but to try to be part of the solution.”
Beshear announced Sunday he and his family are quarantining after potentially being exposed to a person with COVID-19 the previous day. Monday he explained the contact was a member of his security detail who is currently experiencing mild symptoms.
“We’re doing great. I’m feeling great, my family feels great. We are trying to be really positive about this situation,” the governor said. “We want to thank everybody who has sent their well wishes, not just for my health but also for the member of my security detail who tested positive. We’re all trying to do our best to get through this together.”
Beshear noted he will be tested multiple times over the next several days, explaining the virus’s incubation phase can delay the return of a positive test in an infected person. He added he will quarantine until Stack and the Department of Public Health tell him it is safe not to.
“We’re going to do it right,” he said.