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Coronavirus cases up again at 295; 8 more deaths reported

Another big spike in cases of the coronavirus in Kentucky was reported Thursday at Gov. Andy Beshear’s daily press briefing.

A total of 295 new cases were reported to state health officials, making the pandemic total 10,705. Cases have now been reported in 119 of Kentucky’s 120 counties, Robertson County being the only one without a confirmed case.

Beshear said “295 cases is not enough data to say I have a high level of concern. We have a lot of testing being done. We have more asymptomatic people than ever. Our ICU beds are currently really low. As we test more and, as there are more contacts people have, we’re going to have more positive tests. I hope they’re lower than this, but we’re going to have more.”

Eight more deaths were also reported, bringing that overall number to 458. Three of the victims were from Jefferson County and one each from Boone, Franklin, Grayson, Kenton, and Metcalfe counties.

Breaking it down by race, 79.49 percent of the deaths were white, 16.91 percent African-American, 1.69 percent Asian, and 1.93 percent multi-racial.

With Kentucky’s African-American population at just under eight percent, Beshear said this shows the racial disparity in healthcare, among other things.

“For this and so many other reasons, you’re going to see this administration fully committed to trying to create equality in our healthcare opportunities, whether that is access, whether it is coverage, it is more than time,” Beshear said. “For a governor who believes healthcare is a basic human right, it’s time for me to step up and prove it. It’s time for this administration to not only believe in it but act upon it.”

Beshear announced an agreement has been reached with NASCAR to hold four races at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, July 9-12, but will be conducted without fans.

“I would like to thank Governor Andy Beshear, Senior Advisor Rocky Adkins and Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack for working in collaboration with NASCAR and Kentucky Speedway to assure this year’s race weekend takes place in a way that protects the safety of participants and the community,” said Mark Simendinger, the track’s executive vice president and general manager. “We are excited to take our turn as NASCAR leads the sports world back to live events. And what a turn we have by showcasing four races in four days.”

NASCAR and Kentucky Speedway have developed a comprehensive plan that has been reviewed and discussed with state and local health agencies to protect the safety and well-being of the competitors, crew members, employees and broadcast crews that will produce the live racing action. The plan includes limiting overall personnel, pre-event screening, social distancing on site, using personal protection equipment and sanitizing areas of the facility both before, during and after the event.

Given the racial violence of late, Beshear said the statue of Jefferson Davis should be removed from the Capitol Rotunda. “I believe the Jefferson Davis statue is a symbol that divides us, and even if there are those who think it is a part of history, there should be a better place to put it in historic context,” he said.

The governor said the next press briefing will be Monday.

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