An eighth person diagnosed with the coronavirus in Warren County has died, according to an update Tuesday from the Barren River District Health Department.
The last reported virus-related death in Warren County was June 2. There has been at least one death in the county each week since May 21.
The health department also announced a second death in Barren County, bringing the total in its eight-county district to 45, including 13 in Butler, 11 in Edmonson, six in Logan, three in Simpson and two in Metcalfe.
Overall coronavirus cases in the district rose to 1,803, including 1,174 in Warren, 236 in Butler, 178 in Logan, 67 in Edmonson, 56 in Simpson, 54 in Barren, 31 in Hart and seven in Metcalfe. Of those, 1,160 people have reportedly recovered.
The Barren River Area Development District’s COVID-19 Dashboard, which uses state health department data, showed 1,920 total cases Tuesday in its 10-county region, including 1,157 in Warren, 239 in Butler, 173 in Logan, 116 in Allen, 62 in Edmonson, 56 in both Barren and Simpson, 27 in both Monroe and Hart, and seven in Metcalfe.
There are at least 118 coronavirus cases in Allen County, according to the Allen County Health Department, which isn’t part of the Barren River district.
In his daily briefing in Frankfort, Gov. Andy Beshear announced 11,708 total coronavirus cases statewide, 289 of which are probable and 245 are newly confirmed.
At least 3,365 people have recovered, 525 are hospitalized and 75 are in intensive care. At least 287,597 total people have been tested statewide, which is about 6.5 percent of the state’s 4.4 million population.
Beshear also announced five additional virus-related deaths, bringing the total statewide to 477, two of which are considered probable.
Numbers often differ between the state and local sources because of different reporting methods.
Beshear also announced that businesses operating at limited capacity may increase to 50 percent after one month of being open at 33 percent capacity.
He also said the Kentucky State Fair will be allowed to take place Aug. 20-30 but that it will “look very different.” A portion of the Kentucky Expo Center being used as a makeshift hospital for potential patients with the coronavirus will remain intact. The fair will also largely take place outdoors, including any concerts, and there will be fewer activities overall.
Beshear also followed up on his announcement Monday of his goal to provide health care coverage for every black Kentuckian. He said an estimated 18,000 to 20,000 black people statewide don’t have any form of coverage, and the goal is to reach out and get them signed up through Medicaid, expanded Medicaid or the private market.
“That doesn’t exclude anybody else, we want to sign them up, too. But my commitment is that we are going to sign up every single individual in (the black) community for some form of health care,” he said.
Beshear also responded to a lawsuit filed against him by Republican lawmakers over there being one polling place per county in the June 23 primary election. He said he is not involved in deciding the number of locations, and that expanded absentee ballot voting could be the “easiest way to vote we’ve ever had in our lifetimes.”
Additionally, he was questioned about being tested for the coronavirus after attending a protest Friday against police-involved deaths of black Americans. Beshear said he’s getting tested “regularly.”
The governor said he has tried to “avoid crowds” and “model certain behavior” amid the pandemic, “but when 1,500 primarily young people marched ... demanding a better world – that required more than just an exception. ...
“This is a moment in history that I wanted to make sure they knew that I was with them,” he said.
In regard to surveillance and privacy concerns posed by the state’s seven-month contact tracing initiative, Beshear said, “I don’t see a concern.” He said that when a person is contacted after being near somebody with the virus, the identification process does not reveal the name of the infected person.
Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack also answered a question regarding a statement made Monday by the World Health Organization claiming spread of the virus by asymptomatic people is “very rare.”
Stack called the statement premature. He noted the organization “walked back” its comments Tuesday when a WHO official said scientists have yet to determine the frequency of spreading the virus by asymptomatic people.
Kentucky Executive Cabinet Deputy Secretary Michael Brown also gave an update on the death investigation of David McAtee. The 43-year-old Louisville business owner was fatally shot June 1 when local police officers and Kentucky National Guard members were attempting to break up a large crowd.
Brown said the FBI is assisting the Kentucky State Police on the investigation, and it has been determined that at least 18, possibly 19, shots were fired by authorities. Nine or 10 came from two Guard members, and nine from two Louisville Metro Police Department officers.
The gunshot that struck McAtee in the chest and killed him reportedly came from one of the two Guard members who fired their weapon during the incident.
“We don’t have the capability of determining – because of the damage to the fragments – which rifle it came from,” he said.
The LMPD officers involved in the shooting have been removed from active duty, and the Guard members are not currently activated.
Brown said McAtee tested positive for gunshot residue and that he believes “McAtee fired the first shot, paused and came back up ... and then fired again” in the direction of the LMPD and Guard members.
He said authorities who fired their guns appeared to be “returning fire which is part of ... what any law enforcement officer would do with that case.”
– Follow multimedia journalist Emily Zantow on Twitter @EmilyZantowNews or visit bgdailynews.com.