State data show nearly 200 children under age 5 in Kentucky have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in just over a week.
“We can’t live under any illusion that kids don’t get the virus,” Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday in Frankfort.
The governor said at least 187 kids under 5 years old statewide have contracted the virus since July 19.
“I think that part of it is that we didn’t test as many kids under 5” previously, he said. “But I also, at this point, think that we have more young children getting the virus than we did before.”
An 11-month-old baby is the youngest Kentuckian to date who is included in deaths that the state considers virus-related and is the only person under age 29 counted in that category.
Asked where children are getting infected, Beshear said the state does not “have enough data on that yet,” but travel may be a factor.
“We know one driving cause is people going on vacation and taking their kids to places they shouldn’t be taking them, and then coming back, and then their kids interact with other kids,” he said.
“There is some question, depending on age, as to how much they spread the virus. But the more contacts that children have, the more likely they are to get the virus.”
Beshear recommended Monday that schools delay the resumption of in-person instruction until the third week of August.
While it’s still “too early to tell,” Beshear said the 532 new cases reported Tuesday “gives us hope” that the virus is in a “new plateau or stabilization.”
“(In) the last 10 days, that is below our average,” he said. Until recently, under 500 new daily cases was the norm.
Asked what would constitute a plateau, Beshear said a decrease in the case positivity rate and the number of new cases would be part of it.
In regard to a question about his decision to shut down bars and reduce indoor restaurant capacity to 25%, Beshear said 17% of the known clusters statewide are “related” to restaurants.
“Everybody from the top down in public health … believe that these are the steps that we have to take. We got it in writing from the White House, we got it from Dr. (Deborah) Birx herself, (and) I heard it again from (Vice President Mike Pence) roughly an hour ago,” he said.
A reporter also asked about Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams’ post on Twitter about his preference for the upcoming November election to “decrease” mail-in voting and “increase” in-person voting.
Beshear said there should be what’s known as “no excuse” absentee voting, early voting and multiple poll sites. He said the virus is “more dangerous” now than it was during the June primary, which was predominantly mail-in.
“We should look back at the primary and say it was one of the most successful elections that we had,” he said. “And if that’s the case … why would we back off of it?”
Asked about the proposed HEALS Act in Congress, Beshear said if it doesn’t include “stabilization funds” for state and local governments, the economy will not “rebound the way we need it to.”
Beshear announced 28,126 total coronavirus cases statewide Tuesday and said 1,470 are probable.
At least 599,251 tests have reportedly been performed, and the positivity rate is 5.08%.
At least 7,470 people have recovered and 584 are currently hospitalized, 115 of whom are in intensive care.
The Barren River Area Development District’s COVID-19 Dashboard, which uses state health department data, showed 3,730 confirmed cases, including 2,261 in Warren, 293 in Logan, 287 in Butler, 276 in Barren, 212 in Allen, 126 in Simpson, 87 in Edmonson, 83 in Monroe, 72 in Hart and 33 in Metcalfe.
The Barren River District Health Department announced 3,425 total cases in its area, including 2,243 in Warren, 299 in Logan, 282 in Butler, 268 in Barren, 128 in Simpson, 88 in Edmonson, 83 in Hart and 34 in Metcalfe. Of the 3,425 cases, 2,636 have reportedly recovered. The department has reported 79 deaths to date, including 22 in Logan, 21 in Warren, 15 in Butler, 12 in Edmonson, five in Simpson and two in both Barren and Metcalfe.
There are at least 211 confirmed cases in Allen County, according to an update from the Allen County Health Department, which is not part of the Barren River district.
Some daily totals may shift because of data being reported incorrectly. Additionally, numbers often differ between the state and local sources because of different reporting methods.