FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Gov. Andy Beshear says the next 2-3 weeks are going to be critical in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, and while the number of new cases dropped on Wednesday, there was also one new death.
“Over the next two to three weeks, I need you to be Healthy at Home and I need you to ratchet it up multiple notches,” he said during his daily press conference. “We need to make sure that we are not business as usual. Other than going to work, getting supplies that you need, and other than getting outside with your kids, but engaging in social distancing, I need you, especially over the next couple weeks, to be as diligent as you possibly can.”
He said this is not the time to go to the store to socialize, just get your supplies and go home.
“These next two weeks are about us,” Beshear said. “(It’s) About us doing everything we can to ‘flatten the curve.’ I can’t tell you that after two or three weeks, we’ll be able to stop; we probably won’t. But I can tell you the next two to three weeks are going to make a huge difference in people’s lives.”
Beshear said there have now been 198 confirmed cases in Kentucky. “That is 35 new cases, and that means fewer new cases than Tuesday (when there were 39). We’re probably one of the only states right now that has been able to give a report where we have had a day that is less than the day before.”
In addition, he reported Kentucky has had its fifth death, a 75-year old man from Jefferson County who had other health issues.
He says some requirements have been relaxed so people can file for unemployment.
“Independent contractors, small business owners, substitute teachers, gig economy workers, childcare workers from churches, cosmetologists, and anyone who has had to leave their job because of quarantine and no paid leave, now qualifies for unemployment in Kentucky,” he said.
Beshear says he hopes to have more details on Thursday on what the federal stimulus program means to Kentucky. “It looks like there will be more dollars in unemployment for individuals and the period of time to collect will be longer.”
He also says next week, Kentucky will have at least the first test facility for drive-thru testing.
“It’s going to start hopefully on Monday with a single location for very specific individuals that are showing symptoms. It’s going to be a proof of concept, and provided that proof of concept works, we believe we will have at least a couple more open next week.”
Beshear also spoke about the new executive order he issued earlier in the day, which includes more restrictions on which businesses can remain open and which must close. You can see all the details at http://kentuckytoday.com/stories/executive-order-spells-out-businesses-that-can-stay-open,25061?.
“With this latest order, we have been as aggressive as just about any other state,” he said. “While we’ll reserve the right to take extra steps, we have gone a significant way. What we really need to do now is all of us need to do our part, reduce our contacts, make sure if we’re still going to work that we are just going to work and coming home.”
It seems some person, business or group gets called out on a daily basis for not following the guidance from the state and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Wednesday was no exception.
“We have our first case of someone who went on spring break to Florida and came back with the coronavirus,” Beshear reported. “We cannot do that. If we haven’t been clear enough, we’re in the middle of a worldwide health pandemic. The answer is no, we can’t go on spring break.”
For the latest information on the coronavirus outbreak in Kentucky, guidance from state and federal health officials and restrictions Gov. Beshear has in place, go to the website, http://kycovid19.ky.gov/. Those without internet access or who may need more information and guidance can call their hotline at (800) 722-5725.