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Gov. Beshear anounces seven more Kentucky deaths from COVID-19; ‘It’s just us versus the virus’

Staff report

Gov. Andy Behear announced Tuesday seven more Kentucky deaths from COVID-19 and urged Kentuckians to continue to take precautions and sacrifice to stop the spread.

“Today, we lost seven Kentuckians, which is something I never thought I would have to announce,” said Beshear. “This is why we were working so hard to reduce our contacts and protect the people around us. This is a virus that comes for the most vulnerable and we have to make sure we’re protecting them.”

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lexington is now up to 110, including 2 deaths of Lexington residents. The total number of cases is now about four times the amount as this time last week.

It is extremely important for citizens to practice social distancing and stay home as much as possible, getting out only for necessities and staying at least 6 feet away from others when you do go somewhere. Do not invite people outside of your household over for parties, hangouts or other forms of socializing, even if it is fewer than 10 people. The city has learned that three clusters of the Fayette County COVID-19 cases, including a St. Patrick’s Day party, are connected. This is why it is important for everyone — whether they are sick, symptomatic or seemingly fine — to follow the public health guidelines by staying home.

Learn more about COVID-19 here.

The Governor urged Kentuckians to honor the loss of life by recommitting to following the guidance of health officials to stay healthy at home. Gov. Beshear said the sacrifices being made by Kentuckians would save lives.

He said there were 114 newly confirmed cases overnight. There are now 18 deaths statewide.

“None of us know exactly how widespread this is going to get. But what we do know is, whatever that amount is, we can reduce it by what we’re doing right now,” the Governor said. “I know uncertainty is the hardest part of this. It is. It’s the hardest part of planning. It’s the hardest part in living. It’s the hardest part of staying strong when it’s really nice outside and you want to go see people.”

Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Department of Public Health, said the stakes are life and death for some, and now is the time to work at “flattening the curve” so ill patients do not overwhelm Kentucky’s health providers.

The Capitol Dome is lighted green in honor of Kentuckians who have died from coronavirus

“Folks, this is not a game, this is for real. And I am really proud of what we have done in Kentucky,” said Commissioner Stack. “The curve shows that hesitation hurts a lot so we have to act boldly and take significant steps. We have done that in Kentucky.”

Beshear on Tuesday announced new steps to address the crisis, including measures to help grocery workers and the nursing industry.

“We are expanding the child care options that we’ve been providing to our first responders and health care workers to our grocery store workers,” the Governor said. “We need them. We know our food supply is safe, but we need enough people that are there stocking the shelves day in and day out.”

Beshear also issued an order Tuesday allowing critical workforce sectors to rehire previously retired workers to fill key roles. The order, which last the duration of the state of emergency, applies to law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical service personnel, park rangers and corrections officers.

Beshear also praised the Kentucky Board of Nursing for working with officials to moderate enforcement of some training and licensing requirements during the emergency. Among the issues addressed by a new order from the Governor: It eases restrictions on nurses who live out of state and makes it quicker to obtain a license.

“Right now, it’s just us versus this virus,” the Governor said. “What we do every day matters. Let’s commit that we are going to do the things that it takes to make sure we don’t have a lot of days like this.”

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