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Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, recommended that the state of Kentucky close its bars and reduce restaurant capacity, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
"We have significant concerns about the rising test positivity rate and the rising number of cases," Birx told Gov. Andy Beshear and state health leaders at the meeting.
Beshear is expected to make an announcement later Monday about additional steps he's taking to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Kentucky has counted 27,079 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the state health department, and 8% of tests administered over the last week have come back positive, per Johns Hopkins University.
White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx in a meeting with Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and state health officials on Sunday said she was concerned with the state's rise in coronavirus cases and recommended that he shut down bars and reduce capacity in restaurants, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
"We have significant concerns about the rising test positivity rate and the rising number of cases," Birx said at the meeting, according to the Herald-Leader. "We can see what is happening in the south moving north."
As the Louisville Courier-Journal reported, Kentucky bars were allowed to reopen at a reduced capacity at the end of June. As of July 26, there have been 27,079 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the state of Kentucky and at least 700 deaths, according to data from the state department of health. On Sunday, the state reported 316 new cases and four additional deaths.
About 8% of tests administered over the last week in the state have returned a positive result, according to data analyzed by Johns Hopkins University — more than double the rate of tests administered earlier in July. The national positivity rate over the past week is a similar 8.2%, according to the data.
Birx reportedly added that Kentucky was in the "the yellow zone," meaning there was cause for concern and action, but Kentucky was not experiencing outbreaks as larges as those in states like Florida, which over the weekend surpassed New York to become the second-hardest hit state in terms of the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections.
Beshear, a Democrat, said he will announce "additional steps" to combat the virus at a press conference at 4 p.m. Monday.
—Governor Andy Beshear (@GovAndyBeshear) July 27, 2020
The Kentucky governor on July 10 instituted a 30-day statewide mask mandate despite a local court's restraining order related to pandemic mandates, the Associated Press reported.
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