AP Andy Beshear

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear holds up a face mask while speaking about the novel coronavirus during a news conference at the state Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., Sunday, April 26, 2020. (Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader via AP)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has promised new health requirements after the state recorded a second-straight day of increased COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.

Kentucky reported 402 new cases on Wednesday and 371 on Tuesday, two of the highest days of daily cases the state has recorded since the first case on March 6.

Beshear said the state’s daily totals have plateaued for weeks but the last several days have seen larger numbers. He planned to announce new requirements on Thursday at his weekly news briefing.

“Given what we are seeing across the country with exploding numbers in certain places, my commitment is to make sure that doesn’t happen here, but I can’t do it alone,” Beshear said in a release from the governor’s office.

The Courier Journal in Louisville published an editorial on its front page Wednesday calling for Beshear to issue a mandate for Kentuckians to wear masks in public places.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, making a stop in Winchester on Wednesday, said masks present the best defense against COVID-19 until there is a vaccine. McConnell was asked whether Beshear should mandate mask-wearing in Kentucky. He said “I’m going to leave that up to him.”

“But look, it’s clear it’s the right thing to do,” McConnell said. “It’s time for us to take responsibility, not only for our own health, but for the health of others.”

The state has reported a total of 17,919 cases as of Wednesday, and there were six new deaths. Kentucky’s highest day of recorded COVID-19 cases was May 5 with 625 cases, but that included hundreds of cases from a state prison.

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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