Gov. Beshear reports 426 cases, 8 new deaths in Ky.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) – Governor Andy Beshear announced 426 new cases in Kentucky - the second-highest number since the pandemic began. The state total now stands at 18,670 cases. Kentucky has had a 4.5% testing positivity rate this week.
He also says 13 of the cases reported today are coming in from very young children.
The governor also reported 8 new deaths in the state. That makes a total of 620 Kentucky deaths from COVID-19. The governor said that as cases increase, the death peak follows.
Gov. Beshear announced Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman’s stepson has tested positive for COVID. He says he has no symptoms so far.
The governor began his briefing saying there is a continuing escalation of COVID-19 cases, which makes the importance of following safety guidelines is increasingly important - including the new executive order to wear masks in public. That order goes into effect at 5 p.m. Friday.
The governor spoke on grants for cities to update water systems, before moving on to discussing unemployment. The governor says they have more than tripled their workforce to handle unemployment claims. He says one of the major issues hampering their efforts is people not answering their phones. He says if a claimant receives a phone call from (502) 333-9130 to please answer.
The governor then moved to discuss a surge of cases in other U.S.states. He says Texas reported more than 11,000 new cases yesterday. Beshear says we can’t allow that to happen to us. Beshear also says in the last three days Florida has had more new cases than we have the entire time. The governor reiterated the importance of wearing masks to halt the spread of COVID-19 in Kentucky.
Governor Beshear also spoke on childcare facilities and says he’s asking class sizes to be limited to ten. Thirteen childcare centers have had a case. Fifteen staff and seven children in the state have tested positive.
Eric Friedlander, Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family took the podium to further explain the reasoning behind recommendations for childcare facilities. Friedlander also took his time at the podium to stress the importance of mask-wearing when it comes to halting the spread of COVID-19. He says if the public wants to see things get back to normal, enjoy fall sports, etc., it requires all Kentuckians to wear the mask for the next 30 days.
During the Q & A session, Governor Beshear was asked if the recent higher case numbers were only linked to a higher test sample. The governor responded saying that the positivity rate is actually increasing in the state, so the higher case numbers are not just because the state is testing more. “More people are testing positive, and it’s not just because of more tests. In fact, our positivity rate, which is based on a seven-day average, two weeks ago, was 2.47 percent of people who were being tested, tested positive. Last week, 2.87 percent. This week, 4.5 percent,” said the governor.
Returning to UI claims, the governor says that there remains about 7,000 claims from March that have not been settled. The governor says they’ve completed about 90% of those claims, and again asks those whose claims haven’t been settled yet to be sure to pick up the phone when UI calls.
In response to the restraining order from Scott County, and whether it applies to his executive order on wearing masks, the governor says this is a separate executive order, and the Scott Co. restraining order does not apply. He says that the executive order on wearing masks will go into effect at 5 p.m.
Speaking on the temporary restraining order brought by a Scott County Circuit Judge, the governor said, “That applies only to executive orders, and we think it’s wrong on that. But we also did an adminstrative reg, an emergency regulation, separate, and apart, that hadn’t been adjoined, includes all of that and is in effect. So everybody needs to know, it’s in effect. The attorney general didn’t file a motion to stop the mask, he filed a motion for a hearing for the judge to think about whether or not it violates it.”
When asked how the mask requirement would be enforced, the governor says the primary way will be by businesses not being allowed to serve people not wearing masks. This includes grocery stores. He says he also hopes local officials will help with the enforcement.
The governor closed Friday’s briefing by saying, “We’re back in an incredibly important crunch time. We’ve been here before. We had cases doubling every three, four, five days in Kentucky, at a time when you saw other states get overwhelmed. We rose to the challenge, we did what was required, we flattened, we crushed that curve, but the game wasn’t over. And while we’ve taken a little bit of time off, where we haven’t played as hard as we should, COVID has caught up. It’s time that we get our game face back on.”
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