FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) -
Governor Andy Beshear announced 135 new cases of COVID-19 and 10 new COVID-19-related deaths in the state on Thursday.
Case numbers are at a plateau or "maybe in a reduction," Gov. Beshear said, but the number of deaths today remains elevated. He says that reflects what we've seen in other places, where deaths peaks later.
In total, that amounts to 8,286 total cases statewide, and 386 deaths.
Long-term care facilities: 39 new resident cases, 27 new staff cases; six additional deaths— Garrett Wymer (@GarrettWKYT) May 21, 2020
Totals: 1,061 residents, 488 staff; 213 deaths (2 staff; 211 residents)
Numbers are from 104 Kentucky facilities
State working to test all of them
Governor Andy Beshear began Thursday's briefing saying, "It's five o'clock, which means Kentucky restaurants can open in about seven hours."
As always, the governor reminds Kentuckians, “We will get through this, we will get through this together,” and revisiting the 10 rules to re-opening in the #HealthyatWork phase.
The governor particularly focused on using hand sanitizer to effectively prevent the spread of the virus.
The governor continued by reminding people of the importance of wearing masks and asking Kentuckians to continue posting to social media the reasons why they wear a mask. He says he knows wearing a mask in public is "not comfortable. It's not enjoyable. But it protects people around us."
As people prepare to start getting together in larger numbers, Governor Beshear reminded people to pay attention to their "Hands, face, space," protocols.
Secretary Friedlander takes the podium to discuss reopening childcare facilities.
Here's the guidance for in-home childcare programs, which can reopen June 8: https://t.co/xT5lIvzBaJ— Garrett Wymer (@GarrettWKYT) May 21, 2020
Here's the guidance for center-based childcare programs and day camps, which can reopen June 15: https://t.co/xT5lIvzBaJ
Some of the protocols that are recommended for reopening childcare facilities include staggering playground time among groups, eliminating center-wide family events, eliminating field trips, and using centralized drop-off/pick-up locations to eliminate unnecessary traffic to classrooms and exposure of children.
Adults in daycares should wear masks and “age-appropriate” children should wear masks. Masks are not recommended for kids under 5.
Health Cabinet Secretary Friedlander says child care in homes, 10 or less is on June 8th, other larger daycares on June 15th.
Gov. Beshear and Sec. Friedlander say the childcare guidelines apply not just to daycare but also to childcare at churches/houses of worship, such as on Sunday mornings.
Secretary Friedlander also discussed SNAP Benefits at the briefing.
Sec. Friedlander announcing additional benefits for parents of kids who would get free/reduced lunch at school to help feed them. pic.twitter.com/UZg3GxDeFU— Garrett Wymer (@GarrettWKYT) May 21, 2020
Sec. Friedlander says there will be pandemic benefits for children who would have received free or reduced lunch in schools. Federal assistance of $313.50 is also available. For most qualifying families, those funds will be added automatically to EBT cards. To apply, or get information, head to benefind.ky.gov, or call 1-855-306-8959.
Doctor Stack then took the podium to discuss case numbers and death numbers in the state. He says there is about a 13-day average from the time someone who contracts the illness dies. Two weeks ago, case rates were higher. Deaths we're seeing now are from those in the most severe part of the illness which began then. That's why deaths peak later than cases if we are decreasing.
The governor says guidance for reopening bowling alleys is now up on the state's website. He's hoping that similar guidance for youth sports will be available tomorrow. He also says, however, that whenever larger numbers of people can get back together, social distancing guidelines will need to be followed.
During the Q&A part of the briefing, Dr. Stack addressed a question on whether hospitals are charging patients unfairly for COVID-19 treatment. Dr. Stack says there is no indication health care providers are inflating numbers to get more Medicaid for COVID-19 patients. He says the auditor and inspector general are monitoring that process.
When asked about opening pools, the governor said that the issue is social distancing between getting people together. "We know there are many people who want a normal summer. I wish we could have it. It's just going to be different," says the governor.
The governor says, on Friday, the state's portal is expected to go live to request an absentee ballot for the primary election. Beshear says he'll talk about it every day during his news conferences to make sure voters know how to get their ballot.