Despite Kentucky’s declining COVID cases, Thursday’s report included a record number of deaths. Governor Andy Beshear reported 3,718 new cases, the lowest total for a Thursday in more than four weeks. The positivity rate dropped to 11.05%, but 58 additional Kentuckians lost their lives to the virus.
Beshear stated that the high number of fatalities is due to the recent spike in cases following the holidays. A ceremony on Friday at the Capitol will honor the 3,301 Kentuckians who died from the virus. An individual flag will be placed to honor each victim.
A few Kentucky counties moved out of the “red” on Thursday, with 116 counties now classified as having a dangerously high positivity rate. Beshear noted this is the first time in a while that counties have trended in the opposite direction and changed to “orange.”
Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman announced a statewide effort to identify Kentucky’s internet capability. Many Kentucky schools moved to online instruction, and a lot of businesses now require employees to work from home. Coleman noted that pandemic requirements have only highlighted internet connectivity problems in several Kentucky communities.
The program, called “Speed Test Kentucky,” aims to measure internet speeds across the state. State officials are encouraging people to perform a speed test and ask others to do so as well. Coleman stressed the need for widespread participation. “We’re asking every Kentuckian, no matter where you live, to help.”
Coleman said the data will help build a statewide map of the strongest and weakest coverage areas. The speed test is free, anonymous and quick. You can access the website that conducts the test here.
Governor Leading National COVID Task Force
Governor Beshear will chair a bipartisan task force on the nation’s pandemic recovery. The National Governors Association (NGA) selected Beshear to cochair the Economic Recovery and Revitalization Task Force along with South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster.
The group will help states handle issues such as infrastructure, stabilization, energy and taxes. Additionally, the task force will advocate for states at the federal level.