FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday repeated his call for Kentuckians to stay healthy at home, said that the state is working quickly to prepare an initial drive-through testing center and announced 248 positive cases of novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).
“This is a test of our humanity – about how much we care about each other. I am doing everything I can to make sure we pass the test and I know you are, too,” Beshear said. “The next two to three weeks are absolutely critical to what they call blunting the curve. This is the time where our actions mean the most in not spreading the virus. It’s going to take however long it takes to defeat the coronavirus the first time.”
As of 5 p.m. March 26, the governor said that there are at least 248 positive cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky, with 50 of those being newly confirmed. There have been five deaths attributed to the virus. In good news, after further review the 90-year-old Perry County nursing home resident has tested negative.
Updates this week
The governor asked mayors and county judge-executives today 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.
Beshear said that when the state rolls out drive-through testing it will still be for those who need it the most. The Governor said the state had a better week than last week securing personal protective gear and that the state has spent more than $8 million. He said we’re going to spend more and that he is going to do what it takes to ensure Kentuckians are as safe as possible.
Healthy at Home
Since the first case was detected in the commonwealth, Beshear has taken decisive actions and encouraged all Kentuckians to remain Healthy at Home. Beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday, all non-life-sustaining businesses must close to in-person services. Exempted businesses include grocery stores, gas stations, hardware stores and media outlets, among many others. The sale of firearms and ammunition also is exempted.
Team Kentucky Fund
Beshear, along with the Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet (PPC), took executive action to establish the Team Kentucky Fund, a GoFundMe-style online platform to provide financial help to Kentuckians whose employment is affected by the coronavirus. The Governor challenged those who are able to help to make a tax-deductible donation to the fund.
Gov. Beshear announced the COVID-19 Reporting Hotline (833-597-2337) that will investigate complaints about non-compliance with coronavirus mandates. Labor Cabinet personnel will monitor the hotline from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET. A new website where Kentuckians can visit to make online complaints is kysafer.ky.gov.
Businesses helping Kentuckians
One key player on Team Kentucky is our business community. Even while being hit with some of the harshest initial consequences of this pandemic, the owners and operators of companies and small businesses across the commonwealth have stepped up to help their fellow Kentuckians.
From the start of the crisis, many companies have reached out to the Kentucky National Guard, Kentucky Division of Emergency Management and other state agencies with offers of donated materials, labor and other assistance.
A new website portal is streamlining the process, connecting interested businesses with supplies and services for Kentuckians in need.
State agencies also step up
Similar to the private sector, individuals working in state government are also stepping up to help in the fight against the coronavirus. Department heads and employees are making sacrifices, volunteering and looking for way to help their fellow Kentuckians.
One bit of good news: The State Operated Area Technology Centers and the Kentucky School for the Blind have delivered more than 10,000 Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) items to the Department of Health in Frankfort and local health agencies. This includes more than 9,000 of the critically needed N95 respirator masks, plus hundreds of gowns, gloves, wipes and more.
Beshear has taken decisive actions to protect all Kentuckians since the first case was confirmed in the commonwealth. To read the full list of actions Beshear has taken to protect Kentuckians and limit the spread of the coronavirus, visit governor.ky.gov/covid19.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages people to follow these steps to prevent illness. Kentuckians who want advice can call the state hotline at 800-722-5725 or call their local health care provider. To read Beshear’s news releases and watch other news regarding COVID-19 visit governor.ky.gov.