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Beshear Confirms 7 COVID-19 Deaths And 159 Cases, Including 10-Day-Old Infant Case

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Gov. Andy Beshear Facebook livestream

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced 159 new cases of coronavirus and 7 related deaths during his Thursday coronavirus update. This brings the state-wide total to 2,429 cases. One of the 159 newly reported cases is a 10-day old infant out of Lincoln County. 

“Let's continue to send our thoughts and prayers out,” Beshear said. “This is a family that just had a miracle occur and now are living through a nightmare. So, everything that we can do, let's make sure that we do.”

The number of Kentuckian that have been hospitalized at one point from the virus is 971. There are currently 477 hospitalized, with 333 in an intensive care unit (ICU). Kentucky has had 956 patients recover. 

The state knows the race of approximately 75% of Kentuckians with the coronavirus. Of that, Beshear said 80.12% are white, 11.75% are Black or African American, 3.08% Asian, and about 5% are multiracial ethnicity. 

The state also reported it now knows more than 80% of racial data of coronavirus deaths. Of the known percentage, 78.1% have been white, 20.95% have been Black or African American, and about 1% Asian. Regarding ethnicity, 99% of deaths have been non-Hispanic, and 1% have been Hispanic. 

“We are working on efforts that will include testing in a couple of weeks, specifically in our African American communities, in our two largest cities,” Beshear said. “We need to make sure that we are directing resources, where people are being hit the hardest, and I want our African American communities to know that we're committed.”

Beshear also announced a partnership with Kroger that will open four new drive-up testing sites, two of them in Paducah and Madisonville. 

“The Hopkins County area has been hit really hard, and I wanted to make sure one of the very first sites that we got was in Madisonville. That is going to be able to serve Christian County as well, which is awesome,” Beshear said. “Paducah is site number two, and our hope is that means we can get a significant amount of Western Kentucky.” 

The sites will operate Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week. The goal is to do 1,000 tests during the three days of operation in each community. Beshear encouraged people to start signing up for the drive-up Kroger testing on krogerhealth.com/covidtesting.*photo of qualifications*

Megan Brown is the director of Kroger Health and The Little Clinic with Kroger National Health and Wellness. She said she anticipates the four testing sites will complete up tests of 330 patients per day per location. 

 

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Credit Screenshot / Gov. Andy Beshear Facebook livestream
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Gov. Andy Beshear Facebook livestream

“We will do this by meeting the certain criteria produced by the CDC. The drive through testing locations will feature a self administered nasal swab that must be ordered, observed by the provider, so we will have nurse practitioners on site at each location,” Brown said. “The program has determined that this testing methodology is beneficial as it increases the number of tests that can be performed, as well as conserving the amount of personal protective equipment that is utilized.”

Beshear gave an update on different care facilities that have been hit hard by COVID-19. Western State Hospital in Hopkinsville has five new cases, all five of which are staff members. There have been 40 total cases and two deaths out of Western State Hospital. 

 

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Credit screenshot / Gov. Andy Beshear Facebook livestream
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Gov. Andy Beshear Facebook livestream

Green River Correctional Complex in Central City has two new cases, one an inmate and another a staff member. The total number of case numbers out of Green River Correctional Complex is 33. Nineteen of the cases are inmates and 14 are staff. 

 

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Credit screenshot / Gov. Andy Beshear Facebook livestream
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Gov. Andy Beshear Facebook livestream

“The justice cabinet has confirmed every inmate has been provided a mask,” Beshear said. “There is also a staggered recreational time, limited number of inmates released for social distancing. The cleaning of high touch surface areas is being done extensively, and there is a very strong effort on the medical side as well.”

Beshear also announced the use of Lake Barkley State Park and Lake Cumberland State Park as non-congregate sheltering for individuals needing isolation to prevent the spread of coronavirus beginning Sunday, April 19. 

“It's going to be a place for people who can't safely go home, if they're either sick or they think they've been exposed. These are the cases where we don't want somebody spreading it, or we think it's a probable case,” Beshear said. “Sometimes people don't have a home where they can be isolated from others, and this provides an opportunity for someone to have a place to go to make sure that we are not spreading the virus.” 

 

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 Steps The State Has Taken To Address COVID-19

  • Beshear announced a new drive-thru testing site will open in Kenton County. 

  • License plate numbers of any individual attending in-person 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-KYSAFER or 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 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.

Sydni Anderson and Dalton York contributed to this post
 

Hannah is a Murray State Journalism major. She found her place in radio during her second year in Murray. She is from Herndon, KY, a small farming community on the Kentucky/Tennessee stateline.