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Kentucky death toll from coronavirus reaches 200

April 24, 2020 GMT

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Gov. Andy Beshear reported more than 300 new coronavirus cases across Kentucky on Friday as the state’s death toll from the pandemic reached 200.

The daily upswing in cases comes as more Kentucky residents are being tested for the virus, Beshear said. The 322 additional cases raised the statewide total to nearly 3,800 since the public health crisis began, he said.

“We are testing more than ever before, but this is a large number,” the governor said of the new cases. “It is in part because we are testing more in our long-term care facilities, and there’s a lot of positive cases there, and that’s of great concern.”

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The increase in cases comes as Beshear is reaching out for input in formulating plans to gradually reopen the state’s economy.

“But let’s remember that just because we’re planning and taking some steps doesn’t mean we’ve beaten this thing,” he said. “We’ve got to stay at it. We’ve got to stay strong. And this is just a reminder, or even a wake-up, about what we’re dealing with.”

The state has performed nearly 45,000 tests for the virus.

Beshear reported nine more virus-related deaths. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said there were no deaths from coronavirus Friday, the first time “in quite some time” the state’s largest city hasn’t recorded a death.

Beshear also announced that he is releasing 352 inmates serving sentences in local jails who are near the end of their sentences and considered at risk of contracting COVID-19. The offenders committed nonviolent and nonsexual crimes.

Beshear and Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams on Friday announced new measures for the June 23 primary election, including allowing residents to vote by absentee mail. State officials also are working on a plan for limited in-person voting and possible drive-thru voting for the primary.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in weeks. For some, it can cause life-threatening illness.

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