Gov. Andy Beshear announced 785 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in Kentucky to 42,625. He also announced 8 new deaths, increasing the state’s total to 864.

“It’s going to be a hard month,” Beshear said in a news release. “Let’s make sure we don’t do things that are going to spread this virus because ultimately, they do take a real human toll.”

Beshear has announced 54 deaths since Sunday, putting this week on track to have one of the highest death tolls of any week since the pandemic began. COVID-19 deaths typically come a few weeks after a surge in cases.

Kentucky surpassed 800,000 COVID-19 tests since the beginning of the pandemic, which is the equivalent of 17.98 percent of the population (though some Kentuckians have been tested more than once). The state’s seven-day positivity rate is 5.18 percent.

Around 10 percent of the people who have tested positive for the virus have been hospitalized and 3 percent have been in the intensive care unit. There are currently 590 Kentuckians in the hospital with COVID-19, a drop of around 50 people since Thursday, but there are 166 people in intensive care, the highest since May 19.

While the state says 9,448 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus, data collected by the Herald-Leader from Kentucky’s 61 local health departments shows that at least 32,231 people have recovered.

Over the course of August, the number of COVID-19 cases in Kentucky has plateaued. But an accelerating number of cases in Louisville caused Churchill Downs to announce Friday that the Kentucky Derby will be run on September 5 without fans.

According to Beshear, there have been more than 2,300 cases in Louisville this week and data released by the city shows that Kentucky’s largest city has surpassed 10,775 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, 4,471 of which are considered active.

Black Kentuckians continue to be disproportionately affected by the pandemic. While around 8.5 percent of Kentucky is Black, 12.73 percent of cases are among Black Kentuckians and 14.04 percent of coronavirus-related deaths have been Kentuckians who are Black.

The virus has also hit nursing homes hard. There are at least 436 active cases of the virus among residents of long-term care facilities and 513 nursing home residents have died from the virus. There are 309 active cases of COVID-19 among nursing home staff members.

Daniel Desrochers has been the political reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader since 2016. He previously worked for the Charleston Gazette-Mail in Charleston, West Virginia.
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