Virus

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Kentucky reported a new daily record of 3,649 coronavirus cases Thursday amid warnings by Gov. Andy Beshear that the situation for many of the state’s hospitals and healthcare centers could become far more deadly because of the surge.

Brushing aside criticism of his heightened restrictions to fight the pandemic, Beshear noted that more than 1,300 health care workers have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two weeks. He said restrictions are needed to prevent more deaths.

“It’s going to be hard, it’s going to continue to harm our lives ... we will not simply let people around us die without putting up a fight against this virus,” the Democratic governor said at a virtual news briefing. He encouraged Kentuckians to forgo Thanksgiving travel, practice social distancing and wear masks.

The Bluegrass state’s highest daily totals since the beginning of the pandemic have all been in the past week. Beshear also announced 30 new virus-related deaths, Kentucky's second-highest daily death toll.

All told, 427 school-aged children have tested positive, and more than 10,000 students are quarantined.

Roughly 1,550 virus patients are hospitalized in Kentucky, including 358 in intensive care. The statewide rate for positive tests continued to climb, reaching 9.18%. The test positivity rate is an indicator of the extent of the spread of the virus, according to the World Health Organization. If the rate is less than 5% for two weeks and testing is widespread, the virus is considered under control.

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.

Hudspeth Blackburn is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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