Virus

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky posted a record daily high Wednesday for new coronavirus cases as the governor implored people to wear masks to counter the accelerating outbreak.

Gov. Andy Beshear reported 2,700 more virus cases and 14 additional virus-related deaths. Hospitalizations continued to rise and the statewide rate for positive tests surged.

“This entire state is in danger," he said in a social media video. “It is absolutely everywhere.”

The Democratic governor continued to implore Kentuckians to wear masks when in public and to follow other health guidelines aimed at curbing the virus’s spread.

“So please, for your values, for your faith, for the fact that you should care about your neighbor, put on a mask, follow the recommendations,” Beshear said.

Eighty of Kentucky’s 120 counties are reported to be in the red zone — the most serious category for COVID-19 incidence rates. People in those counties are asked to follow stricter recommended guidelines to contain the virus.

Schools in red-zone counties are urged to hold only virtual classes because of high coronavirus transmission rates in their communities.

People in red-zone counties are urged to avoid hosting or attending gatherings of any size. Employers should allow employees to work from home when possible, and noncritical government offices should operate virtually. In-person shopping should be reduced, and people can opt to order online for pickup. People are urged to avoid nonessential activities outside their home.

The governor has stressed that the steps are recommendations — not new mandates — while emphasizing the importance of following them to help tamp down the virus.

“It is a must if you want to lessen this impact in your community," Beshear said Wednesday. “Open your eyes and your ears and your heart, and you will see all of the pain and loss around you.”

With the record daily cases reported Wednesday, total COVID-19 cases across Kentucky surpassed 127,000 since the pandemic began. The state has reported at least 1,604 virus-related deaths.

Beshear said more than 1,270 virus patients are hospitalized in Kentucky, including nearly 300 in intensive care. He also said the statewide rate for positive tests continued to climb, reaching 8.12%.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal. The vast majority of people recover.

Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/virus-outbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

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