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Beshear Announces More COVID-19 Testing Sites, New Cases And Deaths

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Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said during his coronavirus briefing Monday that there will be 17 different drive-up testing sites operating across the commonwealth this week. He expects the state’s testing capacity to surpass the 88,000 monthly tests recommended by the White House during “phase one” of the planned reopening. Beshear said ramping up testing is essential to the “new normal.”

“Our hope is to do more than that to make sure. I think right now we believe we can hit at least 3% of the population,” Beshear said. “So, in our new normal, we gotta have a lot of testing. We got to test our health care workers, our first responders. We also have to test the general public. How many people are asymptomatic and might be spreading it, we got to make sure that we know that data.”

In west Kentucky, Trigg County, Christian County, and Calloway County all have drive up testing sites operating this week. Trigg County and Calloway County testing sites will operate May 4 - 8. Christian County’s testing site will operate May 4 - 9. Testing site criteria and sign-ups can be found on


Beshear also announced 163 new cases of the coronavirus and eight newly reported deaths statewide related to COVID-19. Kentucky now has 5,245 total reported cases, and 60,046 tests have been administered statewide. The number of recovered cases is 1,921. 

Of the 163 newly reported cases, 12 are in west Kentucky counties: six in Daviess County, three in Graves County, one in McCracken County, one in Hickman County, and one in Webster County.

Beshear said the state will be hiring 600 individuals to do contact tracing. The 600 hires for contact tracing will be funded through the CARES Act. He said the state has a request for proposal (RFP) out for a partner to help hire the 600 needed individuals. This RFP is due Friday, May 8. 

“If someone tests positive in our new normal, we're gonna have to call around and figure out who they've been in contact with,” Beshear said. “In our new normal, if we want to open up in a worldwide health pandemic, we have to accept that if we get a call, and we have been in direct contact with someone who's positive and contagious during that time, that we're gonna have to self quarantine.”

Michael Brown is the secretary for the state’s Executive Cabinet, who discussed plans to prevent further spread of COVID-19 at Green River Correctional Complex in Central City.

According to Brown, each of the prison’s 875 inmates have been tested, as well as the staff. He said there’s been a lag in test results, but expects to have a number of positives by tomorrow. 

“We've come up with a very comprehensive plan of how we're going to deal with the population at Green River, and we're basically going to divide it into three housing unit groups,” Beshear said. 

The housing units at the prison will be separated into these groups: inmates who have tested positive; inmates who haven’t been tested but are asymptomatic; inmates who have tested negative but have had direct exposure to someone else who has tested positive; inmates who tested negative and have not had any direct exposure; and inmates who are medically vulnerable.


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Brown said there have been approximately 1200 inmates released from Kentucky prisons. This follows Beshear’s  executive order for prisoners who were medically vulnerable for COVID-19 , but who had not committed violent or sexual acts, to be released from prison.

“I know that it's been a difficult situation for everybody down at Green River. But I want to commend all of those, particularly our correction workers. And in fact, the inmates who have cooperated also for the health and well being of everyone there,” Brown said.

In long-term care facilities,there are 17 newly reported cases of COVID-19 and seven newly reported deaths related to the virus. 

“I think it's important that we track these and are very transparent about it every day. Because, remember that just because we've done a really good job of flattening the curve doesn't mean it's gone,” Beshear said. “It doesn't mean it's less deadly, especially to our folks in these facilities.”


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La Tasha Buckner, Chief of Staff for the Governor’s Office, explained guidelines for “phase one” reopening of the business sector. “The Healthy at Work” team has been collaborating with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and local businesses to shape guidelines for reopening in each sector. 

Buckner said her team has been using the Healthy at Work website to review reopening proposals. She said the Healthy at Work team has reviewed over 1,000 plans. “As a reminder, you're not required to submit anything, but it is the way that we're able to gauge what your industry is capable of,” Buckner said. 

Buckner shared additional required guidelines for the May 11 phase one reopening. On the site, there are listed requirements for specific industries including, manufacturing, construction, vehicle dealerships, and dog groomers.



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“In an example of industry specific considerations would be at car dealerships, where interaction is unavoidable. We require dealers to limit the number of persons in the showroom, allow solo test drives, and submit all paperwork that can be filled out by the customer or electronically on their own or in one location,” Buckner said. 

Beshear reminded business owners in any industry that are set to open but can't meet minimum requirements that they can not open. In the upcoming weeks, Buckner said she will have guidelines announced for the May 20 reopenings. 

“That will be retail and houses of worship. We plan to get that guidance to you in advance so you have time to prepare and gauge whether or not you're able to open up, and then on the 25th, the same thing with personal gatherings of up to 10, barber shops, and salons,” Buckner said. 

Beshear said as the state moves into Healthy at Work, employers should be thoughtful and flexible with employees that are in the vulnerable population. “Remember that telework is still available and is still the number one option, and that is where we should be focused on,” Beshear said. “We have to remember that there is a risk in going back to work. So, let's make sure that we do the very best we can with all of our employees. There can't be one size fits all. Let's make the right decisions to protect one another.”

Steps The State Has Taken To Address COVID-19

  • Restrictions on Kentucky’s houses of worship will be lifted May 20.

  • Kentucky's "Healthy at Work" initiative will feature a phased reopening of the state's economy beginning May 11. 

  • Kentuckians will be required to wear masks in public beginning May 11.

  • ?Announced that Monday, April 27, the state will begin the gradual restart and reopening of our Phase 1 health care services and facilities, although they will operate vastly different than they did before the outbreak of the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). Click here for detailed guidance.

  • Announced the launch of "Healthy at Work," a new initiative to help Kentucky businesses reopen safely as we fight the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).

  • The state will work to expand testing in predominantly African-American communities. 

  • The Murray Calloway-County Hospital is providing drive-thru COVID-19 testing to residents of the region. 

  • In-class educational instruction will cease for the remainder of the Spring 2020 Semster.

  • Kroger will be setting up drive-up testing sites in Madisonville and Paducah beginning April 21.

  • ?Beshear announced benchmarks Kentucky must meet in order to start reopening the state's economy while keeping Kentuckians safe from the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). The steps reflect federal guidance announced Thursday by the White House.

  • ? Kentucky is joining with Governors, Eric Holcomb of Indiana, Mike DeWine of Ohio, Tony Evers of Wisconsin, J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, Tim Walz of Minnesota and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan to closely coordinate plans to reopen the regional economies when the time is right.

  • 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 executiveorder 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 fundto 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 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

  • 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.

Dalton York and Sydni Anderson contributed to this report.

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.
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