Eight new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Hopkins County on Thursday, which brings the total number of confirmed cases since the pandemic began to 384.

Five more citizens have recovered from the virus, increasing the total number of recovered cases to 292. A total of 34 citizens in Hopkins County have died as a result of coronavirus.

In Kentucky, 659 new cases and seven deaths were reported on Thursday, according to data provided by the office of Gov. Andy Beshear. In total, 29,386 cases and 731 deaths have been reported in Kentucky.

During his daily briefings on Wednesday and Thursday, Beshear said there is an indication that Kentucky is currently experiencing a decrease in escalation of COVID-19 cases.

“We believe what we are generally seeing...is a leveling off or, at least, a significant decrease in the overall escalation of the virus,” Beshear said during his daily briefing on Thursday.

According to state and health officials, once a plateau period has been reached, it is probable for the commonwealth to later experience a decline in the overall rate of COVID-19 cases.

While the rate of new cases have increased since Wednesday, the positivity rate has decreased to 5.66%. According to Beshear, he believes the decrease in the rate of those testing positive for COVID-19 is due to more tests being available to citizens in the commonwealth.

Beshear said he also attributes the de-escalation to the recent statewide mandates, specifically the 30-day order of mandatory facial covering in public imposed on July 10.

Other executive orders include capacity limitations imposed on personal gatherings, restaurants and bars. On July 20, social, non-commercial gatherings were limited to 10 people or fewer.

On July 28, bars were closed and the capacity limit of indoor seating at restaurants was reduced to 25% for the next 14 days.

Beshear has previously said restaurants could return to 50% capacity and bars could open once those two weeks have elapsed if the commonwealth saw a continual indication of de-escalation in COVID-19.

During Thursday’s briefing, Beshear expressed compassion for locally-owned restaurants and bars affected by this mandate and urged the community to support local vendors.

“Order take-out. Sit outside if you want to go to a restaurant. Make sure we do everything we can to support these businesses in many ways,” Beshear said. “This is not their fault, but these are the steps that give the maximum output, the maximum chance of curtailing where this virus is.”

Beshear has previously issued a travel advisory warning for citizens to self-isolate for 14 days following travel to states with 15% positive-testing rate or higher. He echoed similar cautions during Thursday’s briefing.

“Don’t travel,” he said. “Too many stories about people who thought it was in a good place or they could just stay in a house alone in Florida and the devastation it has caused in their families.”

Beshear also provided several models that indicated a plateau period of new COVID-19 cases. Last week, daily reported numbers were 674, 518 and 611. This week, the daily report of new cases were 532, 619 and 659

“We hope we are at a leveling off or a plateau.” Beshear said. “It is my hope that this is where we are, but if it is, it is only because we’re being really diligent, and what we’ve learned ... is that once we get it under control, we have to keep it under control. We can’t stop. We can’t let up. Until we’ve got that vaccine, we have to do what it takes.”

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