Governor urges Kentuckians to limit travel to Tennessee; 302 coronavirus cases confirmed

Efforts continue to prepare drive-through testing center

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Gov. Andy Beshear on Friday said his administration is continuing efforts to stop the spread of novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). He reiterated his call to Kentuckians to stay “Healthy at Home” and said the state is continuing to working to prepare an initial drive-through testing center.

As of Friday evening, Beshear said there are at least 302 positive cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky, with 54 of those being newly confirmed. There have been eight deaths attributed to the virus.  

The governor shared the tragic loss of three Kentuckians in one day, including a 73-year-old female from Jefferson County (confirmed after the Friday briefing), a 75-year-old female from Fayette County and a 77-year-old male in Hopkins County.

“I want us to think about their families. I want us to pray for them and their loved ones,” Beshear said. “And tonight we’re not only going to be lighting up Governor’s Mansion, we’re going to light up the dome of the Capitol green to show our compassion for those families. And I’d like everyone out there to do the same if you can.”

The Governor’s Mansion and the State Capitol were lit green Friday evening.

Beshear talked about the spread of COVID-19 related to Tennessee. He said Kentuckians can still go to Tennessee for work, to take care of a loved one or even buy groceries if it is closer, but he asked that unnecessary travel to Tennessee end. He asked Kentuckians not to travel across the southern state-line to partake in activities that have been limited in Kentucky.

He offered encouragement, saying that Kentuckians are doing what it takes to defeat the COVID-19.

“We will get through this together. It may seem hokey, but in these next weeks or months, it’s going to take all the strength that we have. It is our collective strength. It is all of us coming together, unified as patriotic Americans and Kentuckians, that is going to protect the people around us,” Beshear said.

Unemployment benefits

Some Kentuckians might be wrongly receiving information that says they do not qualify for unemployment insurance, said Josh Benton Deputy Secretary for the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Josh Benton. Kentuckians’ claims are being processed and updates will be provided next week, he said.

Key updates this week

Counties monitoring public spaces

The governor 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.

Healthy at Home

All non-life-sustaining businesses now are closed 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, 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 has challenged those who are able to help to make a tax-deductible donation to the fund. University of Kentucky basketball Coach John Calipari recorded a video encouraging people to help fellow Kentuckians and donate to the Team Kentucky Fund.

Reporting hotline

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.

To read about other key updates from Gov. Beshear visit the news section on governor.ky.gov.