A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky marks single-day record of coronavirus deaths on eve of retail reopening; cases top 8,000


By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

A reported 20 deaths was Kentucky’s highest single-day total since the start of the coronavirus and the total number of positive cases topped the 8,000 mark on Tuesday.

During his daily press briefing at the Capitol, Gov. Andy Beshear revealed the record number of deaths that brought the total to 386. Of Tuesday’s deaths, three were in both Adair and Edmonson counties; two each in Boone, Daviess, Jefferson, Kenton, and Logan counties and one each in Breckenridge, Campbell, Powell, and Warren counties.

In addition, 164 new cases of the coronavirus were reported, making the pandemic total at least 8,069. The number of tests that have been performed has now reached 153,800.

Gov. Andy Beshear at Tuesday’s daily briefing at the Capitol. (Photo by Tom Latek, Kentucky Today)

Wednesday will see the reopening of retail businesses, but at 33 percent of capacity. Customers and employees must maintain proper social distancing and wear masks, the governor said. Funeral and memorial services will also be allowed to resume on Wednesday also with the same restrictions. More information on the restrictions can be found on the state’s dedicated website, kycovid19.ky.gov.

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, Friday will see restaurants open at 33 percent capacity, plus unlimited outdoor seating, and groups of 10 or less can assemble.

“We can do this, and we can do this safely,” Beshear said. “But we need to be really careful about it and I know Kentucky, that you can do it.”

State Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack reminded Kentuckians the importance of taking precautions.

“Our actions have direct implications on the health and safety of others,” he said. “This weekend is the first time in Kentucky that we are going to permit over the last two months or so gatherings of up to 10 people. In order to do this safely and minimize the risk of infection being spread and to keep people safe, we have to do this right.”

The guidance includes maintaining social distance of at least six feet, wearing masks, gathering outside instead of inside, washing hands frequently and covering food and individually wrapping plates.

“It’s Memorial Day weekend, and I know that many of us desperately crave the company of our friends and family,” Dr. Stack said. “But I urge, and I ask that everybody please follow these steps so that we can stay safe together and not have any of the serious consequences that none of us want.”

Beshear also announced new openings for June 8, which include museums, outdoor attractions, aquariums, libraries, and distillery tours. While he said guidance is still being prepared, “This gives these businesses some advance notice.”

He summed it all up by saying, “This is going to be a lot of additional activity, and we just have to make sure that we do it safely. But I trust in you and we have been so good thus far. You have done so well that I believe we can do it safely, but it has to be done differently.”


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