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Monday, July 20, 2020

Gov. Beshear: informal social gatherings moving from 50 back to 10

Governor Andy Beshear continued his in-person press conference today and started with some misconceptions about testing and the amount of positive cases going up.

He noted that Kentucky's increase in cases isn't about an increase in testing, because the positivity rate is going up.

"A fact is a fact. Twitter can't change that. The amount of cases are going up because the virus is spreading," he said.

"Sunday was a wake up call. It was a shot across the bow. If we don't intervene, we will have the same fate that other states are going through now. Wearing a mask can control this pandemic enough until we have a vaccine," said Dr. Steven Stack, Director of Public Health."

He outlined a call with the White House Covid-19 task force and indicated three recommendations that came from that call to deal with the surge:

1) Mandatory facial coverings
2) Reduce restaurant capacity to 25%
3) Close Bars

Beshear said that he's hopeful that he will not have to implement part two and three of the White House response, and that Kentucky was "ahead of the game" for many states as it related to mandatory face coverings.

He also issued a travel advisory. "We are asking anyone that goes to a state with a positivity rate with over 15% to quarantine for 14 days." 

Those states include: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas and Mississippi.

Beshear said that this is a recommendation and not a mandate.

“Avoid going to these areas, if you are able,” Dr. Stack said. “If plans can’t be changed, self-quarantine after getting back to Kentucky.”

He also moved the informal social gatherings mandate from 50 back down to ten. He noted this would not affect businesses, weddings, or places that have established health guidelines in place.

On June 29, the original guidance was eased to allow for gatherings of 50 or fewer people. Today’s order returns the guidance to allow only for such gatherings of 10 or fewer people. The guidance went into effect today at 5 p.m.

Much of the other guidance on mass gatherings remains intact, including mandates on barring sick people, requiring face coverings and social distance, and a ban on sharing food and drinks. People hosting such gatherings also are encouraged to host the events outdoors when possible, sanitize high-touch surfaces and follow other Healthy at Home suggestions.

"The business owners have a shared responsibility in helping to foster the kind of environment we need to stay healthy. Conversely, we are most likely to let our guard down an informal gatherings. That's the difference here," said Dr. Stack. "We need to step backwards in our phases to try and get this under control."  

"We just can't ignore this," said Beshear. "We’re seeing clusters created by our backyard barbeques, our block parties, and it’s because we let our guard down. We have a lot of friends over and we know them. We figure they’re probably doing everything right.

We take off our masks, we relax, we get too close, we stand around while people are grilling and we’re seeing some very difficult outcomes because of it. So much depends on us trying to stop this thing before it gets out of control.”

He did note that "backyard weddings" may have to follow similar guidelines that weddings venues have to follow.

With regard to home quarantine, these steps are how to do that correctly:

- Remain at home and avoid all in-person activities. This includes work, grocery stores and pharmacies, public events and public places.
- Do not have visitors in your home.
- If you live in a home with other people, stay in a separate room. If this is not possible, wear a face mask when you are in the same room and stay at least six feet away from others.
- Wash your hands and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer often. Do not share personal items such as dishes, cups, forks, spoons and towels.
- Do not leave home except to seek medical care. If you need to see a provider for reasons other than a medical emergency, please call in advance and discuss the care you need.
- In the event of a medical emergency, call 9-1-1. Indicate that you are in home quarantine for novel coronavirus exposure. Keep a face mask on until you are asked by a health care provider to remove it.
- Do not use public transportation or ride-share services.
- Check yourself for fever twice a day and record it in a log or piece of paper.
- Contact your local health department for additional help, including arranging for food and other essential deliveries if you are in need.

MONDAY 7/20/20 - SUMMARY UPDATE from Governor Andy Beshear:

> NEW CASES: 258 new cases, 980 yesterday. Many labs are closed Sundays and the Governor expects that number to increase this week. (Total number in Ky: 23,414). 8 children under 5 have tested positive.

Boone Co. - data coming
Kenton Co. - data coming
Campbell Co. - data coming
Grant Co. - data coming

- Over 533,143 tests completed to date in Kentucky.

- Total Patients Currently in Hospital: 542.
- Still Currently in ICU: 114.
- Recovered Patients: 6,876.

Overall positivity rate: 4.52% (7-day rolling average)

Total Death Toll: 671

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