In Kentucky, new rules go into effect as virus cases surge

FILE-In this Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020 file photo, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaks a rally held by Fairness Campaign, in the Rotunda at the State Capitol, Frankfort, Ky. Kentucky’s Supreme Court on Thursday, Nov. 12, upheld the governor’s authority to issue coronavirus-related orders putting restrictions on businesses and individuals to try to the contain spread of COVID-19. The ruling delivered a victory for Beshear in a legal fight with the state’s Republican attorney general, Daniel Cameron, over the breadth of the governor’s emergency powers.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky reported 3,825 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 20 more virus-related deaths Friday, as new restrictions went into effect aiming to slow the virus's spread.

"Remember, your decisions are going to be what determines how many people live or die. Do your part,” Gov. Andy Beshear said, urging Kentuckians to follow the new requirements.

Starting Friday, private indoor gatherings are limited to two households, with a maximum of eight people. For roughly three weeks, bars and restaurants must close indoor dining, though they are permitted to continue curbside pickup, delivery and outdoor dining services.

Event venue capacity is limited to 25 people. Gym capacity is lowered to 33%, and group classes, team practices and competitions are prohibited. Beshear has also encouraged houses of worship to refrain from in-person services.

About 1,550 virus patients are hospitalized in Kentucky, including 366 in intensive care. The statewide rate for positive tests is 9.15%, roughly double what is recommended by public health experts. The test positivity rate is an indicator of the extent of coronavirus spread, 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.

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

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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.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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