During his daily coronavirus briefing Tuesday, Gov. Andy Beshear reminded Kentuckians how important it is to follow COVID-19 mandates and recommendations. Otherwise, he warned, the commonwealth could end up like Florida, Texas or other states with escalating cases.

On Tuesday, Florida set a single-day record for virus deaths: 186. Texas reported losing a person to COVID-19 every six minutes and 16 seconds.

“We are at a point in time where we have the ability to stop this before it gets anywhere close to what we’ve seen in these states,” Beshear told listeners.

However, he said, it will take every Kentuckian uniting behind the cause.

On Tuesday, he highlighted recent steps taken to curb virus cases in the commonwealth. On July 10, he mandated wearing face coverings in public.

Effective Tuesday, bars closed for a two-week period.

Restaurants must limit their indoor capacity to 25% during that time period, and social gatherings can’t include more than 10 people.

Last week, the governor recommended Kentuckians who travel to nine states with high positivity rates self-quarantine 14 days after returning home. Florida, a popular vacation destination for regional residents, was on that list.

On Tuesday, Beshear took that travel advisory one step further. He urged residents — but did not mandate — to cancel travel plans to Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Arizona, Idaho, Texas, Florida, Nevada or Mississippi. Those states have high virus positivity rates, and Kentuckians should not travel there, he said.

“We are at war,” Beshear said. “It’s going to take all of us, but I know we can win.”

The governor announced 532 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, which is close to the 522 reported Monday.

Also, the state’s positivity rate dropped for the first time in four days.

It’s too early to draw conclusions, Beshear said, but he hopes those numbers indicate the face covering mandate is starting to lower the daily number of cases and may be creating a new plateau.

The state continues to see an increasing number of children infected with the virus, he said. On Tuesday, 21 children under the age of 5 were on the list of new cases. The youngest was a 2-month-old infant.

“We can’t live under any illusion that kids don’t get the virus,” Beshear said.

He reported 10 deaths Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 719.

Long-term care facilities continue to be a concern, the governor said.

To date, 2,407 residents and 1,333 staff members in nursing homes have tested positive for the virus, leading to 474 deaths in 247 centers across the state. Four of those who died were staff members.

Green River District Health Department officials reported 34 new confirmed COVID-19 cases — nine in Daviess County, 10 in Henderson County, one in McLean County, 10 in Ohio County, one in Union County and three in Webster County.

The total number of reported COVID-19 cases in the seven-county district now stands at 1,483.

Currently, 25 patients with confirmed cases are hospitalized in GRDHD’s district. Eleven are admitted at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, according to the OH website.

Muhlenberg County Health Department reported no new cases Tuesday, leaving that county’s total at 610.

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

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