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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Kentucky Surpasses 40,000 Coronavirus Cases, 830 Deaths

Stephanie Wolf
Ky. Gov. Andy Beshear

Originally published on August 18, 2020 6:41 pm
Gov. Andy Beshear announced 627 new cases of coronavirus in Kentucky on Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 40,299.

Though the state’s positivity rate for the virus has hovered around 5 or 6% (on Tuesday it was 5.48%) Beshear said over 20 counties had positivity rates exceeding 10% — what the White House has dubbed the “red zone.”

“This isn’t just an urban issue. COVID doesn’t care if you live in a city or if you live in a more rural county, it will infect you just the same,” Beshear said. “And if you have those preexisting conditions or you just have a bad reaction, it can kill you just the same.”

The counties with high positivity rates are: Barren, Bell, Bullitt, Calloway, Clay, Fulton, Green, Hardin, Henry, Hickman, Jefferson, Knox, Logan, Lewis, Powell, Scott, Shelby, Spencer, Warren and Wayne.

There are also more than 40 counties with positivity rates between 5% and 10%, known as the “yellow zone.”

Some of the counties with the highest positivity rates are planning to open schools to in-person classes later this month, despite Beshear’s recommendation against it.

Dr. Steven Stack, Kentucky’s public health commissioner, said schools across the state will be required to report new coronavirus cases to state health officials, and the local school community.

“Bringing kids back to school is not an issue where public health is in any disagreement with education. It’s not easily that we recommend that schools defer in-person class,” Stack said.

The Kentucky Department of Health will publish reports of coronavirus in schools, but names, ages and genders of people with positive tests will not be included.

Beshear announced 12 new deaths on Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 830.

Gov. Andy Beshear’s top adviser Rocky Adkins also announced that his 84 year-old father, Jess Adkins, has been in the hospital recovering from the coronavirus for more than two weeks.

Adkins said his father is scheduled to move into a rehab center in Lexington soon. He is from Sandy Hook in Elliott County.

“The cruel thing about this virus is that it separates people instead of bringing people together. I can’t see my dad. I haven’t been in the presence of my father in over three months,” he said.

Adkins said he shared his father’s story to encourage people to check on their neighbors and follow Beshear’s coronavirus orders and guidelines.

Adkins ran against Beshear during last year’s Democratic primary for governor.

Copyright 2020 89.3 WFPL News Louisville. To see more, visit 89.3 WFPL News Louisville.

Ryland Barton is WFPL's Managing Editor for Collaboratives.