FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear on Tuesday updated Kentuckians on the state’s ongoing efforts to fight the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) as cases continue to rise in the commonwealth.
“COVID-19 is attacking us, and we are at war with this virus. We either come together or we fall apart,” the Governor said. “This virus isn’t playing, and neither are we. And it puts so many at risk when any of us fail to do our part.”
As of 4 p.m. July 14, Beshear said there were at least 20,223 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 576 of which were newly reported Tuesday.
“Today’s report shows we are certainly in a time of escalating cases. And our actions over these next 10 days to 14 days – really through the next 30 days that we have put this face covering requirement out – are going to determine if we continue to be a leader, if we continue to be one of the best states in the country, or if we go the route of Arizona, which is now requesting giant freezer trucks because their morgues are being overrun,” the Governor said. “It depends on our willingness to come together and do the right thing, and today should be just one more wake-up call that we’ve got to do it now.”
Unfortunately, Beshear reported six new deaths Tuesday, raising the total to 635 Kentuckians lost to the virus.
The deaths reported Tuesday include a 44-year-old woman from Carter County; an 89-year-old woman from Casey County; a 65-year-old man from Fayette County; a 77-year-old man from Floyd County; an 82-year-old man from Ohio County; and 72-year-old woman from Shelby County.
“Turn on those green lights for these people. Please. There are multiple counties here that have never had a loss before and they do now, and with thinking that there is going to be worse to come, let’s make sure we amp up our compassion and are there for one another,” said Gov. Beshear. “There are going to be a lot of people who need our help in the coming days.”
As of Tuesday, there have been at least 494,343 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate currently stands at 3.95%. At least 5,389 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.
For additional information, including up-to-date lists of positive cases and deaths, as well as breakdowns of coronavirus infections by county, race and ethnicity, click here.
Young Hero Encourages Kentuckians to Wear Masks
David Turner Jr., a 9-year-old boy from Louisville who is battling a rare form of brain cancer, joined Beshear to encourage Kentuckians to wear masks. When the governor and first lady met David earlier this year, the 4th-grader sat at the governor’s desk and declared the day he visited was “Kentucky Ice Cream Day” and said everyone should celebrate by having a scoop of their favorite flavor.
“The fact that we wear these masks probably means more time for David and his family, and as a father I can’t think of anything more important in the world,” said Beshear. “If you don’t want to wear a mask for me, that’s fine, but surely you will wear one for countless kids around the commonwealth who are counting on you.”
David Jr. continued to offer excellent advice this afternoon.
“You should wear a mask when you are with other people besides your family,” said David Jr. “I wear a mask to protect other people and so should you.”
As the governor reminded Kentuckians yesterday, an increasing number of young children in the commonwealth have tested positive for the coronavirus. Children like David, whose immune systems may be compromised, are especially vulnerable, and everyone on Team Kentucky can help keep them safe by wearing face coverings.
Dr. Steven Stack, the commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, emphasized the efficacy of face coverings.
“In the middle of May, in Missouri, two hair stylists with COVID-19 spent at least 15 minutes with 139 clients. During that time, there are a few key points I want to highlight,” Dr. Stack said. “All of these individuals, the two stylists and the 139 clients, wore face coverings and no clients are known to be infected after several weeks. That’s a lot of people, folks, all because they wore a cloth face covering. It helps keep people safer, it allows people to return to work, it allows us to go back to the activities we need to do.”
Governor: Leadership Needed from Lawmakers
Beshear said Tuesday that Kentucky lawmakers of all stripes need to show leadership during this pandemic.
He noted that a state senator tested positive for COVID-19, and despite this several of his colleagues met today in a legislative session without wearing masks or maintaining a safe distance apart.
“Yesterday evening a state senator tested positive for COVID-19 and had been in various hearings. But today, we had almost every member of one political party’s representatives and senators not wearing masks and not being six-feet apart, after having been potentially exposed, after having a mask mandate, with record numbers of cases out there,” the Governor said. “I’m not trying to publically shame people, but we need leadership. With even the President wearing one, this isn’t right. I hope and expect to see everybody in the annex wearing one, starting tomorrow, otherwise their very own employees are being put at risk. It also spreads their contacts from each other and takes them back into their different communities across the state.”
Kentucky State Reformatory Death
Executive Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown spoke Tuesday about the death of an inmate at the Kentucky State Reformatory in Oldham County.
Secretary Brown said a 55-year-old man from Jefferson County suffered a heart attack on July 12. He was taken to Baptist Hospital, La Grange, where he was pronounced dead.
The man had been housed in the assisted-living unit where the first COVID-19-positive inmate was housed. The man was tested, along with all the residents of that unit, on July 9 and the positive result was received July 11. He along with all other inmates who tested positive were moved to quarantine and isolated from the rest of the inmate population. His care was being managed by medical staff at the prison.
To view all Department of Corrections COVID-19 updates, click here.
Safety Reporting Hotline
Beshear noted on Tuesday that the COVID-19 reporting hotline is available to help keep Kentuckians safe.
“As we require masks and encourage social distancing and good hygiene to protect fellow Kentuckians, I want to remind people they can still go to kysafer.ky.gov to report concerns about businesses who are not following the requirements,” the Governor said.
People who witness dangerous non-compliance with coronavirus mandates, including requirements for mask wearing, social distancing and sanitation, are encouraged to call the COVID-19 reporting hotline at 833-KY SAFER (833-597-2337). Labor Cabinet personnel will monitor the hotline from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. EDT. To file a complaint online, click here.
Beshear reminded all Kentuckians to take advantage of testing offered through the state’s partnership with Kroger.
This week’s Kroger testing sites are in Independence, Louisville and Lexington. Kentuckians can sign up for COVID-19 molecular diagnostic testing online. Tests are being conducted at the following sites:
Tuesday, July 14 – Thursday, July 16 – Summit View Academy, 5006 Madison Pike, Independence, KY 41051
Tuesday, July 14 – Friday, July 17 – Louisville Southern High School, 8620 Preston Highway, Louisville, KY 40219
Tuesday, July 14 – Friday, July 17 – Bluegrass Community and Technical College, 500 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY 40508
CARES Act Reimbursements
Beshear, in collaboration with the Department for Local Government (DLG), announced today that 18 central Kentucky governments have been granted more than $16.5 million in reimbursements from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act for local governments with expenses related to COVID-19. Fourteen others have received preliminary approval, meaning they will receive reimbursements once final documentation is submitted to DLG.
“We know many of our local governments are hurting,” the Governor said. “That’s why we set aside $300 million in CARES Act funding for local governments with expenses related to COVID-19 to be administered by our Department for Local Government.”
For full details on the announcement, click here.