Kentucky reached its second-highest day of COVID-19 cases on Tuesday with 674.
Gov. Andy Beshear and Kentucky Department for Public Health Commissioner Steven Stack took time during a press briefing Tuesday to drive the point home that we are in a critical juncture in the “ongoing war” against COVID-19, and that accusations of “fear mongering” on the part of the administration are unfounded.
“Our mortality rate of 3% is lower than the national average, but it is alarming,” Beshear said. “The flu is 0.01%, so this is serious. We know how to beat it and if we are committed to what needs to be done, we can. The concern is, if we have a huge escalation and we eat up our beds, our hospitals and our ventilators, then that mortality rate skyrockets due to a lack of care. We aren’t there and we don’t want to be there. I hope that when we see these numbers we know that we have to do better and we are seeing that out there.”
While Beshear said he hopes he doesn’t have to add new restrictions, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman announced new measures for the state’s “Healthy at School Initiative,” and urged Congress and our national leaders to “meet this moment.”
“I wrote a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and our state delegation with support from my colleagues around the country and asked for additional CARES funding, a majority of which will be used for education. The future of our economy is in our classrooms today and every parent and child has adapted to this pandemic and our funding must be adaptable as well. If we have some schools go to a fully digital model, then they should have the funding to do so. If we have schools that choose to adopt a hybrid in-person model, then they should have additional (funding) for PPE, additional bus routes and whatever they need. The funding for P20 education is vital. Today I urge Congress and our national leaders to meet this moment so we can provide for our communities.”
To aid superintendents and educational leaders in their reopening strategies, Coleman announced that non-traditional instruction (NTI) days would be unlimited, the daily average attendance requirement for funding would be removed, and there will be unlimited COVID-related emergency days for faculty and staff that may be forced to quarantine.
Coleman also said that programs are in the works to provide internet access to the more rural families of the state, and hopes to announce that they’re in full swing in the coming days. The new programs are meant to provide more flexibility, which is key to schools reopening, she said.
“We need them to be flexible to keep our students, teachers and families safe,” she said. “At the heart of every reopening should be the health and safety of every adult and student in the building. As a parent, I recognize that these measures can complicate things for parents. I ask that you extend grace to our superintendents and school staff that are making these decisions. I feel the concern of my fellow educators who are where the rubber meets the road in classrooms. Their voices have to be heard and elevated in every plan.
“We will constantly review how responses are being made and my plea to you is to stay with us and together. As circumstances continue to change, we must all be adaptable.”
Locally, the Green River District Health Department reported on Tuesday 21 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases in its district. Nine are in Daviess County, nine in Henderson County, one in Union County, and two in Webster County.
McLean has had 37 confirmed cases thus far with 29 of those cases having recovered, leaving 8 active cases in the county.
The total number of reported COVID-19 cases in the district is 1,307. Twenty-two reported confirmed cases are currently hospitalized.
Of the 1,307 confirmed cases in the district, 121 have required hospitalization.
The district-wide total of recovered cases is now 1,051.
Free COVID-19 testing will be available at the McLean County Health Center Tuesday, July 28 from 2-3 p.m. by appointment only. Appointments can be scheduled online at the health department’s website, healthdepartment.org
Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, email@example.com