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Beshear, NKY Health warn of ‘dangerous time’; offer Thanksgiving guidance, warn of big gatherings

Gov. Andy Beshear encouraged Kentucky families to be safe this Thanksgiving, especially in light of the newest federal report for the Commonwealth that emphasizes the risks of gathering with people from other households. He also encouraged Kentuckians to keep getting tested for COVID-19 and announced that the state ranks sixth in the country for daily COVID-19 tests per million residents, according to Kaiser Health News.

“Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times during the year. It is a special time for my family which is normally spent with a lot of extended family,” said Gov. Beshear. “But this year those larger gatherings can be very dangerous. We are seeing COVID-19 spread and the resulting loss happening more at family and social gatherings than anywhere else right now. This, right now, is the most dangerous time we’ve had with this virus.”
Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving earlier in the fall (the second Monday of October) and both provincial and federal officials have pointed to the holiday as one cause for a recent spike in COVID-19 cases across their country.

“As you make your plans for the holidays, I urge you, please – 2020 has been a mess for all of us – but we’ve got to hang in there just a little bit longer,” said Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH). “We are very optimistic in the first signs for the first vaccine to report information from its major trial. It suggests that our scientists have been able to figure out ways to get us back to life more like we used to know it, but we have to stay the course this Thanksgiving.”

Case Information

Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:

• New cases today: 2,120
• New deaths today: 14
• Positivity rate: 7.68%
• Total deaths: 1,590
• Currently hospitalized: 1,189
• Currently in ICU: 286
• Currently on ventilator: 139

Top counties with the most positive cases today are: Jefferson, Fayette, Warren, Hardin, Madison and Laurel.

Those reported lost to the virus today include an 80-year-old woman and a 69-year-old man from Bracken County; an 84-year-old man from Bullitt County; a 91-year-old woman from Daviess County; an 86-year-old man from Hopkins County; five men, ages 76, 84, 86, 87 and 89, from Jessamine County; an 87-year-old man from Marshall County; a 92-year-old woman from McLean County; a 68-year-old man from Muhlenberg County; and a 76-year-old man from Shelby County.

All five men from Jessamine County were residents at Thomson-Hood Veterans Center.

NKY Health

NKY Health’s Dr. Lynne Saddler reported 309 new cases of COVID, a new record in the region.

“The rate at which COVID-19 is continuing to spread in Northern Kentucky is extremely concerning,” said Dr. Lynne Saddler, District Director of Health for the Northern Kentucky Health Department, “With this continued rapid escalation of cases and all four of our counties continuing in the red zone, now is absolutely the time for every one of us in our communities – individuals, schools, workplaces, organizations and others – to take action. Moreover, these actions will become even more critical as we begin planning for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

“Thanksgiving needs to be different this year. As Northern Kentuckians, let’s all commit to doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect our family, friends and loved ones.”

Travel advisory

KDPH recommends a 14-day self-quarantine for travelers who are returning from any of these states reporting a COVID-19 test positivity rate of 15% or higher: South Dakota (53.97%), Iowa (48.29%), Kansas (41.27%), Idaho (38.64%), Wyoming (34.50%), Missouri (20.97%), Alabama (19.77%), Montana (18.14%), Utah (17.98%), North Dakota (16.11%), Pennsylvania (15.99%) and Wisconsin (15.39%).

Community leaders, schools, businesses and families in red zone counties should continue to follow reduction recommendations (school-specific recommendations here). Kentuckians should also follow KDPH’s Thanksgiving guidance, which includes:

Kentuckians can choose creative, safer ways to celebrate, including:

• Shopping online and/or at less crowded small businesses.
• Enjoying hiking, hunting or other outdoor activities during the holiday weekend.
• Supporting fellow Kentuckians by buying Kentucky Proud ingredients or ordering take-out from local restaurants for a Thanksgiving meal with their household.
• Hosting a virtual dinner where they can share recipes with extended family and friends and spend time together remotely.

Gov. Beshear highlighted that this morning he joined Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Lt. Col. (Retired) Keith Jackson and Humana executives virtually to announce that over the next four years, the health care company is committed to hiring 600 veterans and 150 military spouses in Kentucky. Gov. Beshear said Humana’s commitment to hire veterans and military spouses by the end of 2024 is a welcome addition to state’s goal of being the most military and veteran-friendly state in America.

The Governor also announced that the state has expanded life-saving crisis services for Kentuckians at risk of suicide. An additional Community Mental Health Center, Pathways, Inc., has been added to the list of accredited agencies serving as National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call centers within the state. Pathways, Inc. serves Bath, Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Greenup, Lawrence, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan and Rowan counties.

Kentuckians can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

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