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KHSAA Vote On Fall Sports Catches Governor By Surprise

COVID-19 Update For Thursday, Aug. 20

Louisville Courier-Journal/Dominique Yates
KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett.

Robert Moore

Herald Staff

Gov. Andy Beshear said he was surprised by the KHSAA’s vote to move forward with fall sports.

WKYT reports the KHSAA board of control voted 16 to 2 to proceed with the fall sports season, with practices scheduled to start Aug. 24 and football opening games on Sept. 11.

The plan still requires the approval of Gov. Beshear and the Kentucky Department of Education.

At Thursday’s briefing, Beshear said he was surprised, especially with the state’s number of infections so high. The governor announced 726 new cases of COVID-19, with 101 of them being kids 18 years old or younger. And while the state’s positivity rate has gone down, it is still above five percent. In May, the World Health Organization recommended that the positivity rate remain below five percent for at least two weeks before governments consider reopening the economy.

“I was surprised by the decision,” Beshear said. He said the odds of a full season happening were not good. Golf, tennis and other low contact sports made more sense than high contact sports like football, he said. If sports that start earlier in the fall had to be canceled, he said that could impact sports with later starts.

Last week, the governor asked schools to hold off resuming in-person instruction until the end of September. Most of Kentucky’s school districts, including Mercer County and Burgin Independent, have opted to follow his recommendation. Meanwhile, students are returning to college campuses across Kentucky and the rest of the nation. At the same time, some of the largest athletic conferences—including the Big 10, home conference for Ohio State University and the University of Michigan, whose annual football games are one of the biggest sporting events in sports—have canceled their seasons. The KHSAA decision puts Kentucky in a position where high school sports could happen even while schools remain closed while college sports are canceled or severely reduced and college classes continue as scheduled.

The governor, who traveled to Anderson-Dean Community Park with his family for a baseball tournament last weekend, said he knows how much sports mean.

“I know our kids want to play,” Beshear said. “But we can’t let our kids be responsible for that kind of decision.”

The governor said he had not received the written recommendation from the KHSAA and he would not take action until he had time to review it.

“It just happened today, I’m going to take a breath,” he said.


Image: Mercer County Health Department

The governor announced 726 new cases Thursday. Minus 26 duplications, that raises Kentucky’s total to 41,626, of which 38,475 are lab confirmed. So far, there have been 794,282 cases administered. The positivity rates is 5.18 percent, based on a seven-day rolling average. So far, 9,388 Kentuckians have recovered.

In addition, 14 new deaths were reported, raising Kentucky’s toll to 856. According to state statistics, 38 people have died of COVID-19 over the past three days. Beshear said he could not remember another period with deaths in double digits for three days in a row.

He was asked about how COVID-19 deaths were classified. The governor said COVID-19 has to be the contributing factor to death. For example, if someone with terminal cancer was infected with the coronavirus while in the hospital and died of COVID-19 related complications, that would be listed as a COVID death, not as a cancer death.

“This is how our federal government tells us to report it,” Beshear said.

Across the world, there have been over 22.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 176,197 new cases reported Thursday by press time. So far, 794,107 have died—with 3,917 new deaths reported by press time—while over 15.4 million people have recovered, according to

In the U.S., there have been over 5.7 million confirmed cases, with 29,273 new cases reported by press time. Over 3 million Americans have recovered while 176,936 have died, with 602 new deaths reported by press time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 is now the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer.

Locally, there are 22 active cases, with one person hospitalized while eight are showing no symptoms, according to the Mercer County Health Department. So far, there have been 116 positive cases and 93 people have recovered.

For more information on COVID-19 in Kentucky visit

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