FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 5, 2020) – Gov. Andy Beshear on Sunday said there will be a need to crack down on those who continue to ignore guidance and gather in public without practicing social distancing if people continue to risk the lives of fellow Kentuckians and spread the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
People can go out for groceries and supplies and, when practicing social distancing, for walks or other exercise in their neighborhood, but otherwise need to stay at home.
“You individually have more control during this crisis than probably ever before in our history,” Gov. Beshear said. “Your specific actions make a difference in how protected the population is. So remember, it is your patriotic duty as an American, your duty as a Kentuckian to stay healthy at home.”
Gov. Beshear said he will likely announce further steps to reduce gathering this week.
“It really shouldn’t take this,” he said of the need to take further action because some are being irresponsible.
The Governor is asking all Kentuckians to continue to fight the spread of the virus by following his10-step guidance, which includes practicing social distancing and staying healthy at home. Gov. Beshear says these efforts have the potential to save the lives of as many as 11,000 Kentuckians.
“Do not travel anywhere for any reason,” Gov. Beshear said.
The Governor said social distancing is the key to blunting a surge in cases and urged Kentuckians not to let their guards down, even during the nice weather.
Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner for the Department for Public Health, said Kentucky’s increase in cases has been slower than almost all other states because Gov. Beshear took decisive action and most people are listening to the guidance and direction.
“Kentucky jumped on it, took quick action and our curve started to flatten,” Dr. Stack said.
Gov. Beshear said Saturday that Kentucky is adopting, on a voluntary basis, the new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommending that people wear cloth masks in some situations.
The new CDC guidance on masks can be found here.
“Cloth masks do not eliminate the need for you to do all of the social distancing,” Dr. Stack said. He said, even with masks, people must remain six to 10 feet apart.
“That’s what’s going to help us,” Dr. Stack said. “The hand hygiene, the covering your cough and your sneeze, that’s what’s going to keep us healthy.”
“We have entered a new agreement that we’re pretty excited about. It’s with Gravity Diagnostics in northern Kentucky. That agreement will provide up to 2,000 tests a day that we will be able to use around the state. The goal is going to be to use those outside the golden triangle, which has U of L and UK and a number of other avenues to get quick testing,” Gov. Beshear said.
“I want to say thank you to Gravity, which has significantly increased their capacity and what they’re doing at a really rapid rate. They’re a Kentucky group and we’re proud of them. And we appreciate them putting us first.”
Gov. Beshear also thanked Kentucky’s hospitals and the state Department for Public Health, including Commissioner Stack, who helped make this agreement come together.
Gov. Beshear said 334 members of the Kentucky National Guard have been activated to help at hospitals and food banks.
“They’re doing everything from helping at hospitals to helping at our food banks, which need that help more now than ever. We will see more of our Guard being activated as we go,” he said.
As of 5 p.m. April 5, Gov. Beshear said there were at least 955 cases in Kentucky, 38 of which were newly confirmed. Of those cases, at least 306 patients have recovered.
“Let’s make sure we keep these numbers as low as possible. Let’s make sure we are all doing our part,” Gov. Beshear said.
Officials have confirmed that at least 18,767 people have been tested, but the Governor said that the real number of tests likely is larger as there is some lag in reporting from different labs.
There were five new deaths reported Sunday, raising the state’s toll to 45 deaths related to the virus.
Those include 80-, 66- and 54-year-old females from Jefferson County, an 85-year-old female from McLean, and an 80-year-old female from Shelby.