A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Beshear says coronavirus numbers holding steady in Kentucky, but state’s fight is far from over


By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

A total of 177 new cases of the coronavirus were reported in Kentucky on Friday, along with eight more deaths, bringing the totals to 4,879 and 248, respectively.

During his daily press briefing, Gov. Andy Beshear said the numbers continue to hold steady. “If you look at the number of cases, say over three days or even day today, it’s about a plateau, even though we are testing more people.”

He noted this is even with more testing going on at long-term care facilities and prisons, where social distancing is difficult.

Two Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 planes fly over the Louisville skyline on Friday, May 1, 2020, to pay tribute to health care workers serving across the state during the COVID-19 pandemic. The planes passed over hospitals in Frankfort, Lexington, Pikeville, Bowling Green, Owensboro and Louisville before returning Kentucky Air National Guard Base. (Photo by Robin Cornetet, Kentucky Today)

“We still have a way to go to defeat this virus,” Beshear stated, “but the fact that you, Kentucky, have not only flattened the curve, you’ve cut the top off the muffin, you have truly saved so many lives. Keep it up.”

Of the deaths, two were in Jefferson County, and one each in Adair, Butler, Carlisle, Graves, Jackson, and Marshall counties. The Adair County victim was a 58-year old woman who was a staffer at a long-term care center, becoming the second employee of such a facility to die.

Beshear pointed out once again how hard the coronavirus has been on long-term care facilities, 76 of which have had cases in Kentucky. 76 new resident cases were reported on Friday, four involving staff members, and six more deaths. There have now been 752 cases among residents, 311 of facility staff and 128 deaths, all but two involving residents.

The number of deaths associated with long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, has now risen to more than 51 percent of all deaths in Kentucky.

Beshear said that’s why social distancing is so important. “It’s probably not you, if you’re asymptomatic, or the person you spread it to that are going to be harmed. It’s how it continues to be spread and ultimately can harm someone in a vulnerable position.”

He also said his administration is working with faith leaders to come up with the plan that will allow churches to re-open on May 20.

“Initially, there is going to have to be a limitation on the number of people. No matter what that number will be for a facility, they will have to be able to socially distance family groups. You’re going to have to make sure you can do the cleaning, you’re going to have to think very carefully about how you do communion, so you don’t have people coming into too close contact or touching.”

Beshear says every faith group he has spoken with, including the one that Kentucky Today is a part of, has said they want to find a really safe and gradual way to do this, including, “The Kentucky Baptist Convention put something up online and sent it to us, where they are thinking through this very carefully. So, we’ve had a very good response and that gives me a lot of confidence that we can do it right.”

Beshear also announced that he is taking the day off Saturday, which would have been Kentucky Derby Day, and will resume his daily press briefings on Sunday.


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