Ky. COVID-19 cases up 35; 1 more death reported

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Gov. Andy Beshear held his daily news conference to update Kentuckians on the COVID-19 situation and the state's response.

[Gov. Beshear releases Exec. Order for 'non-life-sustaining' businesses to close Thursday]

According to the state COVID-19 website, there are now 198 confirmed cases in Kentucky.

That's up 35 from Tuesday, which is a smaller increase on the day.

Beshear says Kentucky is one of few states with fewer cases today than yesterday.

The new cases are in Daviess, Fayette, Franklin, Grayson, Jefferson, Jessamine, Kenton, Laurel, Madison, McCreary, Nelson, Oldham, Warren and Wayne counties.

The governor also announced the state's fifth coronavirus-related death, a 75-year-old Jefferson Co. man.

"The next two to possibly three weeks will be absolutely critical in our battle against the coronavirus," Gov. Beshear said. "Be as diligent as you possibly can to protect those around us in this time. Now is the time to do everything we can."

Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack says early signs are good that Kentucky's #HealthyAtHome efforts are making a difference.

Dr. Stack urged folks to keep it up, "We are in crunch time, and the next two to three weeks are pivotal."

Stack urged any college student who went on a spring break trip to self-isolate. Gov. Beshear says we do have our first case of someone who went on spring break to Florida and came back with the coronavirus.

Gov. Beshear also said that as of Wednesday, independent contractors, small business owners, substitute teachers, freelancers, and some others can now apply for unemployment insurance.

"There is zero stigma - zero - to being on public assistance right now," Gov. Beshear said.

The governor says he understands that many people aren't in a job right now because of sacrifices that he and other leaders have asked them to make.

Beshear says there will be more law enforcement and National Guard at hospitals proving security because of the increase in cases. He said they will be an "extra calming presence."

Gov. Beshear says, beginning next week, drive-thru testing will begin for a very limited population before potentially expanding the program further. More details are expected Thursday on that.

The governor ended his Wednesday news conference by saying our decisions to do the right things can help over the next two to three weeks.

"If we all do this, we will not only get through this, but we will protect so many people around us," Gov. Beshear said. "We are showing the absolute best of humanity. But we've got to do even more."