FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear on Saturday encouraged Kentuckians of all faiths to continue doing their part in the state’s fight against the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), even though social distancing is especially difficult during this holiday weekend.
“It’s a special weekend. I know I made a couple of headlines yesterday about those not complying. What hurts is that it should be about those of you making sacrifices to help one another,” Beshear said. “Kentucky, I have never been more proud of you and we are going to win.”
The governor emphasized that the vast majority of the commonwealth’s religious leaders have already planned for virtual services this weekend, and have been integral partners in protecting their congregations.
Even though the governor banned in-person mass gatherings back in early March, he reassured Kentuckians Saturday that he would not allow the actions of a tiny minority to endanger other people in their communities. On Friday, he announced that all individuals who attend an in-person worship service or mass gathering of any kind this weekend will face quarantine orders.
Beshear said more than 99.8% of places of worship in Kentucky have done the right thing and temporarily suspended in-person services to stop the spread of the coronavirus and to protect those who worship there and those they come in contact with. On Saturday, the governor shared a third video from faith leaders from the across the commonwealth, this one all women, asking people to stay healthy at home.
The governor has said this is an effort to stop all mass gatherings, not just religious services, to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save Kentuckians.
“What you are doing is working. Let’s make sure as many Kentuckians as possible are with us this winter and this Christmas,” Beshear said.
The governor told Kentuckians this week not to worry about the Easter Bunny, who is an “essential worker” and will be able to travel and work tomorrow.
Update on field hospital at Kentucky Exposition Center
Saturday, Beshear shared a photo from inside the Kentucky Exposition Center as the state converts it to a temporary field hospital, in preparation for a potential surge of COVID-19 patients.
More than 300 members of the Kentucky National Guard have been called up and are working throughout the commonwealth, including setting up the field hospital and assisting in hospitals and food banks.
“Tomorrow, the National Guard will be in every area of the state ready to transport patients to hospitals,” the Governor said.
Sign language lesson
Rachel Rodgers of the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing provided a lesson Saturday in American Sign Language. Beshear asked Rodgers and Virginia Moore, executive director of the commission, to do this “so that all of us can better communicate with each and every brother and sister here in the commonwealth.”
Yesterday, Moore taught Kentuckians how to sign “we will get through this together.” Today, Rodgers taught Kentuckians how to sign “Team Kentucky.”
As of 5 p.m. April 11, Beshear said there were at least 1,840 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 185 of which were newly confirmed.
“Everyone in this country believes that Kentucky is flattening the curve,” he said. “Even though we doing a good job, we are still facing a worldwide pandemic with no vaccine.”
Unfortunately, Beshear also said four new deaths were reported Saturday, raising the state’s toll to 94 deaths related to the virus.
The newly reported deaths include an 87-year-old male from Boone, 55-year-old male from Jefferson, 79-year-old male from Daviess and 79-year-old female from Pulaski.
The governor asked Kentuckians again to join him in lighting their homes green tonight in honor of the lives lost, as a continued sign of compassion and renewal.
“When we announce our deaths it’s not just numbers. It’s not just numbers we light our homes green for; these are people with families,” he said.
Beshear also offered an update on the racial breakdown of COVID-19 patients, which has been the subject of news stories across the country.
The governor said with about 69.5% of the known cases accounted for, Kentucky’s cases included about 81.39% Caucasian, 12% African-American, 2.56% Asian, 3.94% multiracial and 0.1% Native American or Alaskan Native.
On fatalities attributed to the coronavirus, with about 80.86% of the known cases accounted for, Kentucky deaths included about 77.63% Caucasian, 21.05% African-American and 1.31% Asian.
“I hope one of the lessons we learn coming out of this is everyone should have access to affordable health care so they can be as healthy as possible,” Gov. Beshear said.
The Governor is asking all Kentuckians to continue to fight the spread of the virus by following his 10-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.
Read about other key updates, actions and information from Gov. Beshear and his administration at governor.ky.gov, kycovid19.ky.gov and the Governor’s official social media accounts Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Watch the governor’s social media accounts at 5 p.m. ET each day for his regular briefing.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages people to follow thesesteps to prevent illness. Kentuckians who want advice can call the state hotline at 800-722-5725 or call their local health care provider.