Gov. Beshear announces 113 new cases, 9 new deaths from COVID-19
At his Thursday press briefing, Governor Beshear announced 113 new COVID-19 cases in Kentucky and 9 new deaths. That brings the total number of cases in the state to 9,184, with a total of 409 deaths.
Governor Beshear opens Thursday’s briefing with his daily message: “We will get through this, we will get through this together.
The governor then reminded people to fill out their census questionnaires. Kentucky is currently in 13th place in the nation. He also encouraged Kentuckians to register for an absentee ballot.
The governor then moved on to a couple of videos geared toward children. The first explains masks to kids. The second is about anxiety associated with parents going back to work.
Gov. Beshear then announced that the Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville will be able to reopen the week of June 29. "It will look very different," Beshear says. Also the week of June 29, Gov. Beshear says some pools may be able to open with limited capacity and social distancing. Guidance to come on that, he says. It won't be easy to follow.
The governor then spoke about the loss of over 100,000 Americans to the COVID-19 virus. He says more people have died than those lost in the Vietnam and Korean wars combined.
"We have to recognize the toll this virus has taken and the toll it's going to take until we get to that vaccine. We have to honor the families and the loss this country has experienced by being committed to reducing the loss going forward," said the governor.
Reverend C.B Atkins, from First Baptist Bracktown in Lexington, then took the podium to deliver a prayer for those who have been lost across the country, and in Kentucky. The reverend closes his prayer saying, "Guide, guard, and govern us, God of all nations, known by many names, do it through Christ Jesus, my Lord, amen."
When Governor Beshear got back to the podium, he displayed a couple of graphics, saying Kentucky remains in Lockstep with White House and CDC guidance. He says the state has definitely plateaued and flattened the curve over April and May. He credits the Healthy at Home program for saving lives.
“Kentuckians came together, we sacrificed and did what we could. We put our dreams on hold, said the governor, who continued, saying Kentucky "crushed" the curve. "We are in a better place, but one where we have to remember the lessons we learned."
"There's no question" the steps we've taken have caused "significant economic hardship," Beshear says, but had the initial curve continued it would have been even worse and "would not have spared those that are out there."
The governor moved on to a line graph of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state over time. He again says the Healthy at Home program flattened the spread of the virus in Kentucky. He says that line has now started going back down.
The governor then discussed COVID-19 cases at long-term care facilities, reporting positive cases in 23 new residents, 10 new staff. there were also 5 new deaths. That brings the total from 116 Kentucky facilities to 1,208 residents, 573 staff; 229 deaths (2 of those staff, 227 resident deaths.) The governor says Kentucky is in the middle of a "massive" testing effort in these facilities right now.
Governor Beshear then announced that every state park in Kentucky, including Lake Cumberland, will be included in their reopening date of June 8.
Cabinet Secretary Michael Brown then took the podium to discuss cases at the Green River Correctional Complex in Muhlenberg County.
He says precautions have led to a leveling off on cases. Two weeks ago, 356 inmates and 50 staff had tested positive. Today, a total of 362 inmates and 51 staff have tested positive. He says he hopes to begin reporting recoveries soon
After Secretary Brown's statements, Josh Benton with the Department of Education and Workforce Development came to the podium. He started by saying that 15,000 March and April unemployment claims that had been previously held up have been processed this week.
Benton then began to speak on a data breach in the online unemployment portal back in April.
According to Benton, a potential vulnerability in the UI portal was reported shortly after 9 a.m. April 23 Officials immediately spoke to the individual who reported it. That user was able to view identity verification documents uploaded by claimants. The UI portal was taken down completely at 11:30 a.m. April 23.
Benton continued, saying by noon, a temporary solution was found to prevent all claimants from viewing ID documents, and by midnight, a software patch was created
April 23 was the only date that this was ever reported. No reports since.
"By all indications the patch created that evening was successful."
The governor then returned to the podium, saying that while no one is expected to have been financially impacted, he is not satisfied with the response, saying people should have been notified earlier of the breach. He is calling for an investigation by the Inspector General.
The governor did say he was happy to hear about the 15,000 unemployment claims that had been settled, but says he would like to see more results. He says he is reorganizing the cabinet and moving the UI group to the Labor Cabinet where it used to be. He believes it will help with processing.
During the Q & A portion of the briefing, the governor was asked how people might know if they were affected by the data breach on the UI portal. The governor responded explaining if you didn’t get a letter or notification about security breach, then your information wasn’t compromised, and most who received those notifications got them out of an abundance of caution.