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As coronavirus cases in Kentucky continue to surge, Gov. Andy Beshear said again that he expects to take additional steps to curb its spread next week if the cases don't stabilize, all while reminding Kentuckians that it's not too late to control it. 
 
 “Yesterday, there were more than 74,000 new cases and more than 1,000 deaths reported across the country,” Beshear said in a news release.. “We know how to control this virus. We’ve seen states like New York – which had hospitals overflowing with sick patients in March and April – now reporting a positivity rate of 1 percent or less. If they can do it, we can do it. But we have to work together, stay smart and wear face coverings.” 
 
Beshear announced 836 new cases of the virus Saturday, raising the seven-day rolling average to 668, which is 37 higher than yesterday and 75 higher than Thursday. Today's number is the second highest daily count of new cases, with the highest daily total reported last Saturday, 979. Beshear said today's new cases included 22 children ages 5 and under. 
 
The governor also reported that 5.41 percent of Kentuckians who were tested for the virus last week tested positive, which is the highest rate reported  in the last few months and a sign that the disease is spreading more actively, says the release. 
 
The states recent surge of new cases has pushed Kentucky into the "red zone" of the White House Coronaviurs Task Force, which is used to suggest appropriate activity limits related to the level of community spread. States are placed in the red zone if their seven-day average is more than 100 weekly cases per 100,000 population, or 1,000 cases per million. Kentucky reached that threshold on Friday when its seven-day total hit 4,951. 
 
Beshear said Friday he is hopeful that the surge will abate over the weekend due to the mask mandate he imposed two weeks ago, but if not he will impose more restrictions. Two steps that the task force has recommended, but have not yet been adopted, are closing bars and reducing restaurant capacity to 25% from 50%. 
 
Dr. Steven Stack, the state's public health commissioner, said Kentucky can still avoid the crisis confronting other states, referring to states that are running out of intensive care beds and seeing increasing deaths due to the virus. 
 
 “Our personal choices, right now and every day, will directly determine Kentucky’s situation in early August," he said in the release. "Small acts of kindness and personal sacrifice will make a big difference. We can choose to delay a party or picnic. We can shop for groceries or go to the pharmacy when it’s less crowded. We can opt for an online or drive-up worship service. We can wear a face mask. Every one of us has a role to play in determining Team Kentucky’s future.” 
 
The daily report shows 595 Kentuckians are hospitalized for covid-19, and 132 of them are in intensive care.  
 
The governor reported five new deaths, raising the state's death toll to 696 from the virus. The fatalities were a 79-year-old man from Casey County; an 80-year-old man from Christian County; two women, ages 68 and 93, from Fayette County; and a 66-year-old man from Ohio County. 
 
“This is the part that never gets easier and never will,” said Beshear. “Every day that we do the right thing, we are protecting each other from the worst pain imaginable. My heart is with these families every waking moment.” 
 

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