Kentucky began December with its single deadliest day in the COVID-19 pandemic.
New infections continued on the upward curve health experts fear could outstrip healthcare staff and bed capacity at hospitals, jumping to 4,151 Tuesday. Gov. Andy Beshear said, while the number should be alarming, it's the rapid rise in those daily totals that should really concern Kentuckians.
"I think these numbers just show why we have to be aggressive. If we're not aggressive, is it 6,000 in the next two weeks? By the end of the month, is it 10,000 people a day in Kentucky? Lord, I hope not," Beshear said. "Exponential growth catches up to us really fast."
The surge has already overwhelmed the state's contact tracing efforts, with that program now shifting from containment to a mitigation strategy. The aim is to keep community spread at a manageable level until vaccines become widely available.
Tuesday marked the single highest death toll reported in a day, with 35 COVID-linked deaths. Kentucky's positivity rate also inched closer to 10 percent.