Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear confirmed Wednesday the state’s highest single-day total of coronavirus cases — 1,346. Beshear says more than 700 Kentuckians are hospitalized due to COVID-19. 

As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increase, Beshear expects deaths will too. 

“So while we still have capacity in our health care system, we are seeing increase in hospitalizations, increase in the ICU, increase on ventilators,” Beshear said. “And sadly, if we continue to have this amount of cases, we will see an increase in deaths.”

Beshear said seven more Kentuckians have died due to coronavirus. Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, announced expanded testing within four health departments in different corners of the state. 

“They are rolling out testing to try to reach harder-to-reach and more vulnerable communities,” Stack said. “This is one of the central missions of health departments is to try to help make sure underserved and disadvantaged individuals have access to quality health care just like everybody else.”

About a dozen counties in western Kentucky now have critical levels of average daily case rates, with more than 25 cases per 100,000 people.

Corinne Boyer covers health issues from partner station WEKU in Richmond, KY. Previously, she covered western Kansas for the Kansas News Service at High Plains Public Radio, where she received two Kansas Association of Broadcasters awards for her reporting on immigrant communities. Before living on the High Plains, Corinne was a newspaper reporter in Oregon. She earned her master’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and interned at KLCC, Eugene’s NPR affiliate. Corinne grew up near the South Carolina coast and is a graduate of the College of Charleston. She has also lived in New York City and South Korea.