FRANKFORT, Ky. – On Sunday, Gov. Andy Beshear thanked Kentuckians of all faiths for protecting their communities by staying home this holiday weekend, supporting the state’s fight against the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
More than 99.8% of the commonwealth’s houses of worship canceled in-person services this weekend. Only about seven congregations held in-person services disregarding the governor’s executive order banning mass gatherings and repeated warnings from local, state and federal health officials that these services risked Kentuckians’ lives. Individuals who attended these in-person services will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days, in order to limit the impact of their actions on other people.
“Does our right to gather together entitle us to have other people die as a result? That is essentially, what happened,” said Commissioner for the Department for Public Health Dr. Steven Stack. “This is about any gathering, not just churches. We are at a time and place in history when the human species has never faced, for the last hundred years, a threat like we do now. The choices and decisions you make have implications, not only for yourself, but for others.”
As of 5 p.m. April 12, Beshear said there were at least 1,963 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 134 of which were newly confirmed.
“In Kentucky, we are still not seeing the increase we are seeing in other states and we are grateful for that,” the governor said.
Unfortunately, Beshear also reported three new deaths Sunday, raising the state’s toll to 97 deaths related to the virus.
The newly reported deaths include a 72-year-old man from Jefferson County, 74-year-old woman from Hopkins County, and a 62-year-old man from Pike County.
At least 607 people (30.9% of total cases) have recovered from COVID-19 in Kentucky.
To date, at least 25,866 people have been tested. At least 667 people (34.0% of total confirmed cases) have ever been hospitalized with 289 people (14.7% of total confirmed cases) currently hospitalized. At least 256 people (13.0% of total cases) have ever been in the ICU with at least 136 people (6.9% of total cases) currently in the ICU.
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 70% of the known cases accounted for, 81.75% of Kentuckians who tested positive were Caucasian, 11.64% were African-American, 3.99% were multiracial, 2.51% were Asian and 0.08% were Native American or Alaskan Native.
On fatalities attributed to the coronavirus, with more than 81% of the known cases accounted for, Kentucky deaths are about 77.21% Caucasian, 21.51% African-American and 1.26% Asian.
Update on drive-through testing sites
The governor on Sunday announced a partnership that will greatly expand the testing capability in Kentucky. The state’s first drive-through testing site will be free of charge and open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, April 13, through Thursday, April 16, at the Franklin County Fairgrounds.
Any future locations will be announced and the overall goal of the partnership is to conduct 20,000 tests over the next five weeks.
“I’m very excited about this. It’s good news,” Beshear said. “We’ve been working with Kroger for several weeks just trying to get it right. The potential here, just from this program, could almost double the amount of testing we have right now.”
Colleen Lindholz, president, Kroger Health, said, “Kroger Health’s vision is to help people lead healthier lives and it’s never been more important than right now for us as we help expand testing across the state. An innovative part of Kroger’s testing solution has to do with a digital registration process. We believe this process is the first in the commonwealth and maybe be in the first of the nation to provide a very easy way for people to register for the test.”
Dustin Nimmo, senior product manager for ecommerce, Kroger Health, said, “You’ll be able to find quickly a location wherever you are in Kentucky and schedule an appointment very easily. There are people who are residents of Kentucky who worked countless hours to build this web portal.”
The state, Kroger and other partners expect to be able to handle about 250 vehicles per day per site at all locations. Kentuckians can register at thelittleclinic.com/drivethru-testing, or call 1-888-852-2567 (select option 1, then option 3).
First, people seeking a test will use a virtual screening tool based on U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to see if they are eligible. Next, they will select a testing location and appointment time that works for them. Then, registrants will receive an email confirmation with pre-appointment paperwork to complete. When a person arrives for their test, they should have their photo ID ready and should leave their window rolled up for check-in, until a health care practitioner comes to the car for the test. Test results are expected within approximately 48-hours.
Those eligible for the test include those with symptoms, health care workers, first responders, those 65 and older, and those with chronic health conditions.