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9-month-old among virus-related deaths reported in Kentucky

June 3, 2020 GMT

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A 9-month-old who tested positive for COVID-19 was among eight more people whose deaths were related to the coronavirus in Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Wednesday.

The latest deaths raised the statewide death toll to 450 since the pandemic began.

In announcing the infant’s death, Beshear said: “Far too often, people think that it’s something that only happens to medically compromised seniors. This is a reminder of how deadly this virus can be. How precious all of our lives are.”

Dr. Steven Stack, Kentucky’s public health commissioner, said it’s not conclusive that the infant from Hopkins County died as a direct result of COVID-19. The state’s reporting methodology is to list her death as a coronavirus-related death since she tested positive for the virus.

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“It is possible that COVID did directly contribute to the death,” he said. “It’s also possible that it did not. It may be one of those things we never come to find out for sure.”

The state’s latest virus-related deaths also included a 48-year-old man from Shelby County, Stack said. The man tested positive for the virus but did not have any preexisting medical conditions that officials were aware of, he said.

Stack stressed the importance of wearing masks, following social distancing rules and adhering to other health guidelines as people increasingly venture out as the economy reopens.

The Democratic governor also announced 265 more coronavirus cases in Kentucky, raising the statewide total to more than 10,400. More than 3,280 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.

The new number of cases was up from other days, but it could be due to daily fluctuations or increased testing, including in long-term care facilities, Beshear said.

But it’s something officials are watching closely, he said.

“I don’t think this 265 is a cause for alarm, though it is at least a reminder ... that this virus is still out there and spreading,” he said.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up within weeks. For some, especially older adults and those with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, even death.

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Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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