Graves County added more than 320 new COVID-19 cases from Aug. 3-9, according to the Graves County Health Department.
Health department officials announced 324 new positive cases in a release Thursday. That raised the total number of coronavirus cases in Graves County from March of 2020 to 5,815.
The department also reported four additional deaths related to COVID-19. Graves County’s death total since March 2020 now stands at 116.
Also Thursday, the health department reported more than 350 people were recovering at home while 16 were hospitalized. Approximately 5,300 have recovered from the virus.
Graves County has the largest incident rate number in the Jackson Purchase region with 124.2 average daily cases per 100,000 population over the past seven days. Marshall County is at 88.2, followed by Hickman County (61.9), Fulton County (57.4), Calloway County (54.9), Ballard County (50.7), McCracken County (48.3), and Carlisle County (33.01).
According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ vaccination dashboard, Graves County with its 37,294 population is 41% vaccinated with the largest of that group being over 65 at 72%.
During a Special Session Thursday with the General Assembly, lawmakers abolished the state’s school mask mandate and placed control in the hands of local school districts. Gov. Andy Beshear responded late Thursday night by vetoing portions of the bill nullifying mask mandates for K-12 public schools and child-care centers. Republican lawmakers quickly overrode his vetoes, completing their work to end statewide mask mandates.
Lawmakers ended the special session soon after that.
The special session came as Kentucky’s hospitals struggle with a record influx of virus cases. Beshear said Thursday that only 90 adult intensive care beds were available statewide. He noted nearly two-thirds of Kentucky’s hospitals face critical staffing shortages, and more than 300 Kentucky National Guard members will be headed to 21 hospitals to assist health care workers.
The school-related bill nullified the state school board’s requirement that anyone in public K-12 schools wear a mask. It also ended a separate state mask mandate for child-care centers.
Another bill winning final passage Thursday night imposed a prolonged ban on any statewide mask mandate, leaving masking decisions up to local governments and businesses. It was part of a broad measure addressing medical staffing, vaccines, tests and treatments related to COVID-19.
Beshear also vetoed mask provisions in that bill. Republican lawmakers swiftly overrode that veto as well.
The legislature also passed a measure to appropriate more than $69 million in federal funds for pandemic-related efforts. The funds are aimed at increasing COVID-19 testing for health care providers, schools, health departments and correctional facilities. The governor signed that measure into law, his office said.
During debate on the schools bill, supporters said mask decisions are best left to local boards, to reflect the will of their communities. Opponents warned that lifting the mask mandate would put children and school staffs at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.
According to information from Mayfield Independent Schools, the district had 33 active student cases Thursday afternoon with the largest number (13) in the elementary school, where there were all five of the district’s employee cases.
As of Friday, Graves County schools reported 86 student cases with 36 active cases at Graves County High School and 32 at Graves Middle. There were also 12 active cases among faculty and staff.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.