FRANKFORT, Ky. – Unfortunately, Gov. Andy Beshear announced the state’s first death related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) during his update to Kentuckians from the state Capitol Monday morning.
“Sadly, last night, we lost a Bourbon County man who was treated for multiple medical conditions and tested positive for COVID-19, which was a contributing factor,” said Gov. Beshear. “My family and every Kentuckian is lifting up his friends, family and community in our thoughts and prayers. While we have taken aggressive action to combat this world health pandemic, in the days and weeks ahead, we must continue to pull together as Kentuckians to stop the spread of this virus. We are a resilient people. We will beat this virus.”
Gov. Beshear said Bill Sisson, the president of Baptist Health Lexington, relayed his sympathy.
“We are deeply saddened to share the news that the Bourbon County resident who tested positive for COVID-19 at Baptist Health Lexington has passed away from complications due to multiple medical conditions,” said Ruth Ann Childers a spokesperson with Baptist Health Lexington. “Our sympathies are with the family for their loss.”
Following the announcement Monday, Gov. Beshear outlined new aggressive steps he is taking to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and protect Kentucky families, which include:
Closing restaurants and bars to in-person service
Gov. Beshear said he will direct restaurants and bars to close, although there will be expectations for drive through and delivery. The Governor urged people to order take out when possible and support local businesses and their employees.
“We are to the point now where this is a step we have to take. I want to thank everyone that stepped up and did this voluntarily,” he said. “We are asking so many people to make sacrifices. It is not lost on me that most of these are small businesses. We are going to do everything we can to be there for you. We realize the impact this will have and we will be there for you.”
Gov. Beshear said the state is taking steps to waive the waiting period for unemployment for those who are losing their jobs because of COVID-19 and will waive any work search requirements while the state of emergency is in effect.
“We know the steps we are taking are going to cause people to lose their jobs,” the Governor said. “We want you to be able to qualify for unemployment and we don’t want to create impediments that keep you from being able to get through this. We are going to make sure we get through this together.”
State Capitol closing to nonessential personnel
“This is a big step. I am a person who ran on these doors being open for everyone at all times,” Gov. Beshear said. “We’re dealing with something we could have never anticipated and, in the end, my obligation is to keep people safe.”
“We are taking aggressive action to protect you and the people around you. I am asking you to do your duty as a Kentuckian and as an American to take care of the people around you,” he said. “We are going to take steps to stop any in-person service from state government and make sure we can provide those services remotely.”
Other Monday morning updates
Gov. Beshear also said that Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray and Kentucky Infrastructure Authority Executive Director Edith Halbleib are self-isolating because they were in the presence of someone who has tested positive in Louisville.
Fourteen Kentuckians on the Grand Princess cruise are home and the last two, who were at a different location, are on their way home today.
Gov. Beshear said that the news update Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET would begin with a special segment for children to help them better understand the COVID-19 virus and the state’s response.
Gov. Beshear implored people, with all of the anxiety and disruptions, to fill social media with positive content about helping others, doing their part or supporting a small business. He urged people to use the hashtags #TeamKentucky and #TogetherKy.
“We need to model good citizenship and we need to understand it is all of our jobs to do what it takes to protect our people,” Gov. Beshear said. “This is a test of our compassion. We need to step up and still look out for each other. There are no Democrats, no Republicans. There are just Kentuckians.”
There will be another update at 5 p.m. EST.