FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 14, 2020) – Gov. Andy Beshear held a news briefing Saturday to pass on information that the state has two more positive cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and recommended that childcare centers create plans for closure within 72 hours and hospitals cease elective procedures.
As of 6 p.m. ET, test results confirmed the state’s confirmed case total to 18 with two new positive results in Fayette County. Fifteen negative tests were reported from across the state. The two additional positives in Fayette County were expected and related to an existing case. Beshear will provide details Sunday at 4 p.m. ET at a scheduled press briefing.
The state’s first patient fully recovered from the virus, Beshear said. He urged continuing aggressive action to protect Kentuckians, including recommending that childcare centers prepare plans so that they could close within 72 hours if it were to become necessary.
“While children remain at low risk, they can carry the virus and we must do everything we can to reduce its spread and protect our most vulnerable, including our senior citizens,” Beshear said. “We are going to get through this as one team – Team Kentucky. We must remain calm and take care of each other by practicing good hygiene, social distancing and sharing. We have heard about a new mom who cannot get formula for her new baby, we need everyone to be a good teammate and practice sharing.”
Hospitals should end elective procedures by Wednesday, Beshear said.
“We’re going to rely a lot on their judgment for what is elective,” he said. “We need all the capacity we can to deal with the cases that we believe we are going to see. We are going to work with them to give them the flexibility to repurpose a lot of their staff.”
Meanwhile, one person who tested positive at the University of Louisville left against medical advice and returned to his home in Nelson County. The Lincoln Trail District Health Department asked him to self-quarantine, but he has refused. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is working with the local county attorney and county judge to obtain an order to force him to quarantine in his home, and news reports indicate local officials are monitoring his home.
As of 6 p.m. ET, March 14, the state’s current COVID-19 patent information by county, gender and age includes:
Harrison, F, 27, out of hospital and fully recovered
Fayette, M, 40
Jefferson, M, 69
Harrison, F, 67
Harrison, M, 68
Fayette, M, 46
Harrison, F, 54
Harrison, M, 60
Harrison, M, 51
Fayette, F, 31
Jefferson (could be a repeat test)
Bourbon, M, 66
Jefferson, F, 68
Jefferson, F, 80
Nelson, M, 53
Montgomery, M, 56
Beshear said one of the patients is in poor condition, but has multiple factors that have contributed to that situation.
A newer case is from Bourbon County. Local officials joined Beshear Saturday along with Baptist Health Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Dr. Jody Prather.
Bourbon County Judge-Executive Mike Williams said, “This was not the news we wanted, but it’s here. We encourage everyone in Bourbon County to continue to follow the calm, steady and spectacular leadership of the governor as he guides us through this crisis. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We will achieve that together.”
Bourbon County Health Department Public Health Director Andrea Brown said, “It is so important to listen to the guidance issued by the governor and state health officials, especially for our most vulnerable populations of 60 and over and those with underlying conditions. We all need to follow these strategies in Bourbon County and across the state.”
Rep. Matthew Koch of Paris said, “United we stand. Listen to our health care professionals, work together and take care of each other.”
“We have been preparing for this. We are meeting daily and hourly with all our leaders to make sure we are prepared in all our communities,” Prather said. “We are working hard with the state so we are ready to respond and take care of our folks.”
Dr. Allen Brenzel, medical director for the Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, attended today’s news conference to talk about the mental health aspects of the pandemic.
“We need to stay informed, but we need folks to use reliable information and too much information will cause anxiety,” said Dr. Brenzel. “Let’s take an information break from time to time and let’s also preserve our routines to help sooth anxiety.”
Dr. Brenzel recommend Kentuckians continue to have a healthy diet, exercise and sleep.
“We need folks to relieve stress by continuing as many activities as possible. We are not asking people to be isolated, but to distance themselves and continue to find ways to connect with others online or over the phone,” said Dr. Brenzel. “All the state’s community mental health centers are ready to help if needed.”
Dr. Brenzel asked parents to take care of themselves, especially so they can take care of their children. Children should be able to have their questions answered and receive help in practicing good hygiene. Children may also need help interacting with others through technology.
If children show signs of clinginess and trouble sleeping, or a significant change in behavior, parents should seek guidance from a health professional. The state will post behavioral health tips online.