Beshear Announces Kroger Partnership To Provide Drive Through Testing
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear confirmed 134 new cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky today. He said the state has a total of 1,963 cases. Beshear said there are over half a million confirmed cases in the U.S.
”There are places being hit much harder than us that show us how serious this is,” Beshear said.
The new cases are confirmed in Adair, Jefferson, Fayette, Christain, Muhlenberg, Daviess, Jackson, Boone Hopkins, Scott, Owsley, Ballard, Bathe, Calloway, Clark, Fleming, Graves, Grayson, Hardin, Harrison, Jessamine, Kenton, Madison, Ohio, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Shelby, Todd, Warren and Whitley counties.
The Calloway County Health Department confirmed its 13th case of coronavirus today, with four cases fully recovered, one hospitalized, seven isolated at home and one death.
Beshear said three Kentuckians died today, including a 74-year-old female in Hopkins County.
“Let’s light our houses up green...today is not only a day of compassion but renewal,” he said.
Beshear announced a partnership with Kroger to drive-through test more than 20,000 people statewide in the next five weeks. He said Kroger will provide the medical staff, PPE and the signup portal. The state is contracting with UPS and Gravity Diagnostics for testing that will provide 24-hour turn around. He said the effort will start with one location in Frankfort tomorrow. Beshear said state officials hope to announce one more testing location this week and two more next week.
“But what’s really important is there is still a resource scarcity and we need to make sure those who need to be tested the most get it,” he said.
Beshear said the drive-through testing is open to tier one persons, including healthcare workers, first responders, individuals 65 or older and those with a chronic health condition.
Kroger President Colleen Lindholz said Kroger is committed to running the testing Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. She said they plan to test 250 people each day through self-administered or patient-administered swab testing. Lindholz said this testing is less invasive for the patient, conserves personal protective equipment and it allows more people to get tested in a single day.
Beshear said the testing is “good news on a day that declares the good news.”
“Again, the possibility, the potential here just from this program could almost double the amount of testing we have right now,” Beshear said.
Beshear said Kentucky has currently tested 25,866 people total in the commonwealth. A total of 667 have been hospitalized, with currently 289 hospitalized. He said a total of 256 people have stayed in the ICU, with at least 136 currently in the ICU.
Beshear said at least 607 people have recovered.
He said out of 70% of positive cases in Kentucky the racial demographic is 81.75% white, 11.64% black, 2.51% asian and 3.99% multiracial. For the 81.55% of deaths, 77.21% is white, 21.51% is black and 1.26% is asian.
Beshear said Western State Hospital has had no new cases or deaths today, although there is potentially one positive case that they will report tomorrow if confirmed. He said one new inmate tested positive at Green River Correctional Complex and 19 more residents have tested positive at long-term care facilities across the state as well as 11 more staff. Beshear said there have been four more deaths, with some occurring prior to today.
Beshear said Maryville Baptist Church in Bullitt County has been doing in-person gatherings, including one today where two people drove in from New Jersey to attend.
“It’s a state that has over 3,000 cases that may be the new epicenter. And because of this open invitation, even on a special day like today, just brought all of New Jersey’s contacts to Kentucky. Now if you’re somebody living in Bullitt County, or just over the line in Jefferson, how do you feel about that?” Beshear said.
He said people still going to work or stopping by the grocery store could encounter people exposed to the coronavirus because of the in-person services. He said the out-of-state visitors could mean “thousands upon thousands upon thousands” of more contacts in the state.
Beshear said Kentucky has “way more than 5,000 churches.” He said state officials believe seven held in-person services today. He said the churches that have ceased in-person gatherings have sacrificed and “made the hard decisions.”
“So, to all those houses of worship, thank you.”
License plate numbers of any person attending Easter services or other gatherings will be recorded by state and local officials. The residents will then receive quarantine notices in person from their local health departments.
Beshear issued an executive order limiting the number of people in stores that remain open. Only one adult per household should shop at one time.
The state is increasing unemployment hotline operators from 12 to more than 1,000.
The Department of Public Health is introducing a tiered system to streamline COVID-19 testing. Public Health Commissioner Steven Stack announced a partnership with 32 Kentucky hospitals to expand access to testing, especially in the rural parts of the commonwealth.
Beshear issued an executive order commuting the sentences for 186 C and D felons.
Beshear has issued a 14-day quarantine for returning Kentucky residents who have left the state for reasons other than: caring for a loved one, going to the closest grocery store for supplies, parental visitation, going to work
State officials are moving ahead with plans to convert the Louisville Fairgrounds into a field hospital with at least 2,000 beds. Beshear said the state is working in conjunction with the National Guard and Army Corps of Engineers.
State officials banned overnight stays in state parks. Beshear said this includes campgrounds and lodges.
Beshear extended the policy of no in-person instruction in schools through at least Friday, May 1.
Beshear announced an executive order expanding travel restrictions to where out-of-state people travelling into Kentucky need to quarantine for fourteen days “wherever they’re coming.” People who are just stopping for gas in the state are not included in the order.
Beshear issued an executive order allowing critical workforce sectors to rehire previously retired workers to fill key roles.
Beshear issued an executive order easing restrictions on nurses who live out of state and making it quicker to obtain a license.
Beshear announced a new website portal to connect businesses interested in donating services or supplies with Kentuckians and Kentucky medical facilities in need.
Beshear asked mayors and county judge-executives to monitor people gathering in public places such as parks and stop them if people are not practicing social distancing and risking the spread of COVID-19.
Unemployment eligibility has been expanded to include individuals typically not covered by unemployment insurance. This includes self-employed, independent contractors, freelance workers, substitute teachers and childcare workers employed by religious affiliated organizations and nonprofits.
?State officials have suspended evictions for the duration of the COVID-19 Emergency.
Beshear established a Team Kentucky fund to help provide financial assistance to Kentuckians whose employment has been affected by this virus. People can donate to the fund that will be overseen by the Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet. Beshear said the fund will work like most popular fundraising platforms where people can “click a couple buttons and give instantly.” He said donations are tax-deductible.
State officials created a COVID-19 reporting hotline for people to report situations and groups or organizations they believe are dangerous. Beshear said this could be groups not engaging in social distancing or businesses not abiding by CDC guidelines. The hotline is 1-833-KYSAFERor 1-833-597-2337. The hotline will be staffed from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. by labor cabinet employees. People can also leave messages after hours. He said the hotline received roughly 2,000 last night.
Beshear said the state is taking “security measures” around hospitals to ensure safety. He said people will see additional law enforcement and National Guard around hospitals.
Beshear encouraged all radio and TV stations to do public service announcements. He said Kentucky needs more encouragement about social distancing and recommended stations pull information from the kycovid19.ky.gov website.
The state is going to be conducting a survey of outpatient surgical centers for their supplies and staff. Beshear said it's something the state is doing so it can “marshal every single resource at a time of need.”
The state is closing non-essential retail businesses to in-person traffic. These include entertainment, sporting goods, clothing, shoes, jewelry, bookstores, florists, furniture and auto dealers. Beshear said these retail businesses can still do curbside and pickup and urged them to be “innovative.” He said stores unaffected by this order are grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, drug stores, liquor stores, hardware stores, agriculture supply and equipment stores and auto repairs and parts stores. Beshear said these stores still need to follow CDC guidelines and “spread people out.” He said auto dealers will still be able to provide repairs and parts and can only do sales if the interaction is complete online or over the phone.
The state is mandating medical facilities cease elective procedures. He said the vast majority of providers have responded to the state’s recommendation voluntarily.
Kentucky has issued a state of emergency that Beshear said will last until COVID-19 is “taken care of.” He said the state’s emergency management operations center is up, as well as the state health operations center.
The state established the COVID-19 hotline and a website providing updates on the virus for Kentuckians. People who are sick but would have not sought care should contact their healthcare provider to prevent flooding of health care facilities. People who have questions about the virus call the COVID-19 Hotline at (800) 722-5725.
A price gouging order is in effect. Kentuckians who have any information regarding possible price gouging should dial (888) 432-9257 for the Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection hotline.
Officials adjusted state government sick leave policy to ensure sick employees stay at home. Beshear said businesses should do the same. He encouraged all businesses to allow employees to work from home if at all possible.
The state published CDC guidelines with warnings for sick individuals. Beshear said people over the age of 60 or people with heart, lung or kidney disease; compromised immune systems; or diabetes should be extremely careful and avoid places with crowds. He said Kentuckians should not fly if they don’t have to and that no one should get on a cruise ship. CDC guidelines say everyone should be engaged in social distancing.
Beshear issued an executive order to waive copays, deductibles, cost-sharing and diagnostic testing fees for private insurance and state employees. He said the state has issued executive orders and worked in Medicaid to make sure COVID-19 testing and treatment is free.
Beshear signed an executive order to allow pharmacists to refill prescriptions for up to 30 days.
The state closed all state prisons to visitors.
Beshear said the state closed restaurants and bars to all in-person traffic, except for drive-thru, delivery and, in some instances, take-out.
Beshear said the state has limited visitation in “just about every type of facility that works with or for our seniors.”
The state has recommended schools cease in-class activities, including in-person classes. Beshear said Friday this has been extended to April 21 and, as of now, all school districts have complied.
Beshear said the state is making sure first responders and health care workers are covered through Kentucky Employers Mutual Insurance. The insurance provides wage replacement benefits for first responders and medical personnel who have been quarantined for COVID-19.
Child care centers are closed with the exception of those helping healthcare workers and first responders.
The state postponed primary elections, moving voting to June 23.
The state issued an executive order to close all public-facing businesses that encourage public congregation.
Beshear said the state has waived the waiting period for unemployment insurance and continues to work to reduce the barriers to unemployment. Beshear said they are working on unemployment for independent contractors and small business owners.
The federal government’s Small Business Administration has granted Kentucky application to allow small businesses to get disaster loans. Beshear said SBA’s website is fixed and small businesses can now apply online for the disaster loans they need. SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans applications can be completed and filed online at www.sba.gov/disaster.
All Kentuckians on the Grand Princess cruise ship were brought back home.
The state provided a three-month extension on driver’s licenses.
Beshear said the state is extending Medicaid, SNAP and other benefits: “If it’s running out and you would have to reapply in the next couple of months, you don’t have to.” He said the state is re-upping people on those benefits for a three-month period.
The state has suspended all charitable gaming licenses.
The state has issued a formal letter banning all mass gatherings.
The state is delaying the tax filing deadline by three months from April 15 to July 15.
Beshear said the state has issued guidance for good mental health.
Hannah Bullard and Dalton York contributed to this post.