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'We Can't Deny Our Way Out Of It.' More Kentucky Counties Deemed COVID Red Zones

AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

Sixty-eight Kentucky counties received a "red" zone rating Thursday - that's the state's highest category of COVID-19 spread. The designation now comes packaged with a list of new weeklong recommendations for businesses and individuals.

This week has been one of consecutive record or near-record coronavirus case counts every day. With the state now reaching daily totals upward of 1,800, and hospitalizations and a positivity rate hovering above 6 percent, Gov. Andy Beshear said it's a problem no can afford to ignore.

"We can't deny our way out of it. We can't rationalize our way out of it. We can't try to find excuses for not following the guidance," Beshear counseled. "It is that present."

That guidance now includes, for red counties, pressure to allow as many workers to work from home as possible, and recommendations that residents limit in-person shopping, opt for take-out or curbside delivery, and say no to any special gatherings.

Pressed on why he hasn't issued any new mandates, Beshear replied that many are already in place and health officials are urging him to concentrate on the compliance piece.

"I have not had, either from the federal government's health experts or from the states, any recommendation to add a new mandate. That advice has not come to me," he said. "If it does, we'll consider it as it comes, but what say to a person, White House and down, is that these should be enough. Compliance is our issue."

On that front, the state is battling fatigue, mixed messages from Washington, colder weather, and a fast approaching holiday season.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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