At first glance, Tuesday seemed like a tough day in Kentucky’s coronavirus fight. Gov. Andy Beshear reported seven more deaths and 147 new cases.

That’s the highest one-day tally for new cases to date, bringing the total to 1,149.

The state’s total number of deaths grew to 65.

But Beshear said state officials felt the past couple days had artificially low numbers of new cases because some labs did not report test results over the weekend. Taking that into consideration, he said, the three-day average stands at about 80 new cases.

“While that is a large number, we still don’t see the numbers going the same way in Kentucky as we see in so many other places,” Beshear said.

The state’s three-day trend is lower than its previous three-day trend, he said, and not many states can say that.

Going into Easter weekend, he urged residents to stay on course.

“What we are doing right now will determine where this virus is two weeks from now,” Beshear said.

He asked families and faith leaders to resist the temptation of gathering on Easter. He said state officials knew of a couple dozen churches that planned to host Easter services against state orders.

“We’re going to make sure we don’t have 200 people coming to one place in one building,” Beshear said.

In other news, Josh Benton, deputy secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, said his office has hired and trained up to 1,200 employees to take phone calls. That number is up from 12 before the coronavirus.

“If we need more, we’ll add more,” Benton said during Beshear’s press conference.

Benton reported some residents received denial letters for unemployment benefits by mistake. State officials stopped as many letters as possible, but some made it into the mail.

Some of those residents may receive their first unemployment payment before their approval letter arrives, Benton said.

Regionally, Green River District Health Department officials reported six new cases of the coronavirus Tuesday, bringing the district’s total to 101 cases. Five of the new cases were in Daviess County and one was in Henderson County.

The Muhlenberg County Health Department reported two more cases on Tuesday, taking that county’s total to 29.

Owensboro Health Regional Hospital officials reported 10 patients with COVID-19 on Tuesday afternoon. Four of those were being treated in the critical care unit.

“In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see more new cases and an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations,” said Clay Horton, public health director. “We all play a part in this effort, and it is crucial we do everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19. Stay home, avoid crowds, wash your hands and practice physical social distancing — staying at least 6 feet away from others. The lab confirmed cases are only a portion of what is in the community.”

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

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

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