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814 new KY COVID-19 cases. Positivity rate dips below 5%.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear reported 814 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, of which 93 were school-aged children and 17 were 5 and younger.

That brought the statewide total to at least 43,066 novel coronavirus cases so far this year, Beshear said. He also reported eight new deaths, taking the state’s death toll to 872.

The positive test rate, based on a seven-day rolling average, dipped to 4.84 percent, it’s lowest point in several weeks.

“We are seeing our positivity rate go down, which means if we’re patient, we can find the right time to do things safely and that’s what I want us to be able to do,” Beshear said. “Now is the time when we determine if we can open schools safely, if we can get back to doing so many things we care about, so do your part.”

The deaths reported Saturday included a 60-year-old man from Perry County; two 73-year-old women, one from Bell County and one from Garrard County; a 78-year-old woman from Oldham County; a 64-year-old man and an 84-year-old woman from Lewis County; an 81-year-old man from Scott County; and an 88-year-old woman from Jefferson County.

“That’s eight additional families who are suffering during this time,” Beshear said in a prepared statement.

As of Saturday, at least 819,265 tests had been administered in Kentucky.

There were 622 coronavirus patients in Kentucky hospitals Saturday, including 158 in intensive care units.

In long-term care facilities, there were 18 new residents and 15 new staff members who tested positive. There are now 439 active cases among residents and 310 among staff.

Also, the state’s public health commissioner, Dr. Steven Stack, reminded Kentuckians to not overlook their routine health needs during the pandemic.

“An unfortunate consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic has been people avoiding care for both acute and chronic illness unrelated to the virus,” Stack said in the statement from the governor’s office.

“Don’t ignore caring for your health,” Stack said. “If you’re having chest pains or signs of stroke, for example, don’t let fear of contracting the virus stop you from seeking care. And as this is Immunization Awareness Month, please make plans now to get your flu shot. We need to do all we can to avoid what’s being referred to as the ‘Twindemic,’ a flu season that’s projected to be very active at the same time as we continue to battle the coronavirus.”

John Cheves is a government accountability reporter at the Lexington Herald-Leader. He joined the newspaper in 1997 and previously worked in its Washington and Frankfort bureaus and covered the courthouse beat.
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