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Beshear Announces New Record Daily Death Toll From COVID-19

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday that Kentucky shattered its record for daily deaths from COVID-19.

Thursday’s death toll was 54. It marked a nearly 50% increase from the previous record of 37, set earlier this month.

Beshear said the high figure is due to a surge in cases from a few weeks ago.

“It’s by far the most people that we’ve lost,” he said. “Remember, that’s a reflection of where this virus was about three weeks ago and where it was trending. Increases in deaths follow increases in cases.”

There were 3,349 new COVID-19 cases Thursday. More than 1,800 Kentuckians were in the hospital, 431 were in the ICU and 254 were on ventilators.

Because of the high numbers, Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack issued new guidelines for winter holidays. Stack said it’s important for Kentuckians to adjust plans and avoid high-risk situations during their celebrations.

Similar to the Thanksgiving guidelines, Stack said no more than eight people from two households should gather for the holidays. All traditional holiday parties and gatherings involving large numbers of people should be avoided.

“If you get together with people with whom you do not live, you should assume someone in that group is infected,” Stack said. “If you eat and drink and take your masks off, you should assume you’re at high risk for getting infected. The disease is that widespread at this time.”

Beshear announced midway through Thursday’s press briefing that the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s challenge to his executive order moving schools to virtual learning. Last month, all schools were ordered to shift to virtual classes until Jan. 4.

Cameron’s suit claimed the order infringed upon private schools’ religious freedoms.

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