LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As COVID-19 continues to spread, Gov. Andy Beshear expressed his view Monday that people have become too “casual” about the virus. Beshear called for a sense of urgency during his daily briefing when he announced an increase in the number of cases across the country and in Kentucky.
“What we believe that we are seeing, I believe we’re seeing it nationally, is the start of a new escalation,” he said.
Kentucky saw a record number of new infections last week with nearly 5,000 cases reported. The case count in Louisville is up 25% since Labor Day with 1,100 new cases reported last week.
“We’ve been at this long enough to know what we can do to reduce the number of cases, we’ve done it several times, yet we’re having the largest number of cases right now,” he said.
The rising case count poses a problem for school districts, like Jefferson County Public Schools, still making plans for a return to in-person classes. JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said Friday cases of COVID-19 would need to decline for about two weeks before students return to school. He explained there would still be a virtual option even when in-person classes resume.
“The amount of cases in our community have a direct impact on whether we go to school or not, if we want our kids back in school we need the number of cases per 100,000 to drop, it’s that simple,” he said.
Pollio proposed that students don’t return to campus until the following dates:
- Oct 22: Elementary students return
- Oct 29: Sixth and ninth-grade students return
- Nov 2: All other grades return
Pollio said he and JCPS board members would like to see the district move from the “orange zone” (10 - 25 cases/100,000 people daily) to the “yellow zone” (1 - 10 cases/100,000 people daily).
“I’m not saying it has to be in yellow, all 10 days in a row, or two weeks in a row,” he said, “but we are looking for some consistency and trends where we know it’s heading in the right direction.”
Beshear said Monday he has confidence in Kentucky schools preparing for “some version” of in-person classes as long as they follow guidance from the state.
“If the approach is ‘we’re going to do what we want to do no matter what,’ then you can’t manage the virus in that way,” he said.
The JCPS board of education will meet Tuesday to consider Pollio’s recommendations for in-person classes.
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