A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Partnership with Kroger to provide COVID-19 testing; Beshear reports three new deaths, 134 new cases

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

A partnership with Kroger will provide testing for 20,000 Kentuckians over the next five weeks, Gov. Andy Beshear said Sunday during his daily press briefing.

He also reported 134 new cases of the coronavirus, along with three more deaths, bring the total to 1,963 cases and 97 who have lost their lives.

Adair County was hit the hardest with 35 new cases, the governor said. “This is about a nursing home there that we are working with that has been hit particularly hard. Our thoughts and our prayers today are going in a lot of directions, but ought to go there as well.”

Gov. Andy Beshear

Beshear said a new partnership with Kroger to do drive-thru coronavirus testing for up to 20,000 people over the next five weeks begins on Monday at Lakeview Park in Frankfort, handling 250 tests per day. “Kroger is going to provide the medical staff, the personal protective equipment and the online sign-up portal, to make sure that people can get the testing they need,” he said.

Beshear said the initial testing will be limited to the following groups: Healthcare workers, first responders, individuals 65 and older, and those who have a chronic health condition.

Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health, described the process they will employ. “The tests we use are the self-administered swabs. The reasons we are using those is they are less invasive for the patient, it conserves personal protective equipment, and it allows us to test more people in the same day.”

According to Beshear, Kroger hopes to add another testing location later this week and two more next week. He said Gravity Diagnostics has promised a 48-hour turnaround on the test results.

He also noted that of the more than 5,000 churches in Kentucky, only seven conducted in-person services on Easter Sunday in order to help keep their congregations healthy, and thanked those who used an alternative method, either online or drive-in services.

“I know this is hard,” he said. “This hadn’t been asked for since about 1918 [during the Spanish flu pandemic]. But thank you, I think you lived your faith today. I think you proved you were willing to sacrifice and make the tough decisions. Because of your work, so many people are safer today than they otherwise would have been.”

To those seven churches who insisted on in-person inside services, State Public Director Dr. Steven Stack had this question: “Does our right to gather together entitle us to have other people die as a result? That’s essentially what happened. This is not about church, this is about any gathering, I don’t care if it was a bass fishing tournament.”

“We are at a time and place in history where the human species has never faced, for the last one hundred years, a threat like we face right now.”

Beshear also expressed appreciation to Kentuckians who are following the guidance.

“Thank you for working so hard,” he said. “You are flattening the curve, which means you are saving lives. Ten to 15 years from now, I hope people are saying we are a great generation.”

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