FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky's coronavirus outbreak surpassed 1,000 cases in the past month as Gov. Andy Beshear reported 54 new statewide cases Monday and 14 more virus-related deaths from the pandemic.
The latest cases were about half the daily totals from last week, but the governor cautioned against concluding that it signals a trend in the fight to contain the virus.
“Fifty-four, that’s a lot less than we expected at this point, and the last two days are certainly less than the days before,” he said at his daily briefing. “Let’s not read anything into it until we see the following days. We think we are still escalating. But let me tell you, if you want to take something positive from this number, it’s that what you are doing is working.”
He has constantly preached the need to follow social-distancing guidelines and avoid gatherings.
Total statewide cases reached 1,008, the governor said. The state's first coronavirus case was reported a month ago, and since then schools have closed statewide and many businesses have been temporarily shuttered to try to slow the virus's spread.
Beshear reported 14 more virus-related deaths. Those who died ranged from 56 to 96 years old.
“Fourteen is hard," the governor said, his voice choked with emotion. “It’s 14 Kentuckians loved by their families and their friends that we have lost to this virus.”
The latest deaths raise the state's death toll from the virus to 59.
Nearly 20,000 people in Kentucky have been tested for the virus, Beshear said, adding that the actual number is probably higher.
Meanwhile, cabins at state parks will be used to house first responders who are placed in quarantine, the governor announced. The cabins will be used by responders who haven’t tested positive for the virus but need to be quarantined as a precaution.
“It’s a good use of those state parks,” Beshear said.
State park lodges could eventually be used to house some coronavirus patients, he said.
Most people who contract COVID-19 have mild or moderate symptoms, which can include fever and cough but also milder cases of pneumonia, sometimes requiring hospitalization. The risk of death is greater for older adults and people with other health problems.