FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear on Wednesday updated Kentuckians on the state’s ongoing efforts to fight the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) as cases continue to rise in the commonwealth.
“I think about this journey that we’ve been on, going back to our first case reported on March the 6th. I remember us taking very aggressive action, and while our actions were working watching what happened in New York, with devastating loss and hospitals overrun. I remember how our story wasn’t that story, because we bought in, we accepted the actions that I had to take – not that I wanted to take – but that we had to take to protect human life. And together, we flattened that curve,” the governor said. “But now what we see is that same thing that was happening in New York happening in areas like Florida and Arizona, with ICUs filled up, and Arizona is ordering freezer trucks because their morgues are full. And here in Kentucky we are in a new time of escalating cases.”
Dr. Steven Stack, the commissioner of the Department for Public Health, urged Kentuckians to remain on guard and resilient in the face of rising coronavirus cases in the commonwealth.
“The climbing number of positive cases is tough news,” said Stack. “This crisis remains an overwhelming challenge for all of us. The size of the impact on our lives and potential loss of human lives, however, is not outside our influence. Wear a face mask. Keep a social distance of at least six feet. Thoroughly wash your hands. Answer the call if a contact tracer reaches out to you. These steps will save lives and reduce further spread of this dangerous disease that has so terribly disrupted our lives.”
As of 4 p.m. July 15, Beshear said there were at least 20,677 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 477 of which were newly reported Wednesday.
The governor emphasized that the rising case numbers show the need for everyone to wear a face covering in public or in close quarters with non-immediate family members, as required by his mandate.
“It shows you how critical this facial covering requirement is,” he said. “And we have to end the silliness. Challenges to this mean the loss of lives and could send us the way of Arizona or Florida, and we don’t want that.”
Beshear reported 10 new deaths Wednesday, raising the total to 645 Kentuckians lost to the virus.
The deaths reported Wednesday include a 73-year-old man and a 94-year-old woman from Casey County; a 90-year-old woman and a 96-year-old man from Fayette County; a 67-year-old man from Hardin County; two men, ages 70 and 73, and a 67-year-old woman from Jefferson County; an 88-year-old man from Laurel County; and a 71-year-old woman from Logan County.
“We care about each other. We have risen to the challenge of this virus before and we’re ready to do it again,” Beshear said. “So I need everybody’s best. Remember: Everybody’s counting on you. Their life, it may well be in your hands.”
As of Wednesday, there have been at least 498,179 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate currently stands at 4.62%. At least 5,475 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.
Safety Reporting Hotline
Beshear reminded Kentuckians that the COVID-19 reporting hotline is available to help keep everyone safe.
People who witness dangerous non-compliance with coronavirus mandates, including requirements for mask wearing, social distancing and sanitation, at Kentucky businesses 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.
Responding to some reports that some seeking coronavirus testing still are being asked to provide a doctor’s order, administration officials reiterated Wednesday that Beshear signed an executive order last week removing any such requirement to receive a COVID-19 test.
Beshear continues to highlight free, drive-through testing that is available 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:
Today – Thursday, July 16 – Summit View Academy, 5006 Madison Pike, Independence, KY 41051
Today – Friday, July 17 – Louisville Southern High School, 8620 Preston Highway, Louisville, KY 40219
Today – Friday, July 17 – Bluegrass Community and Technical College, 500 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY 40508