A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

No sugar-coating here: Beshear reports worst ever numbers — 4,151 cases, 35 deaths

Gov. Andy Beshear announced the state’s worst ever COVID-19 report by virtually every measure. He reported 4,151 new cases and 35 new deaths. Nearly 250 Kentuckians are fighting for their lives on ventilators. Fayette County reported 238 cases. “There’s no way to sugarcoat it. Today is the very worst day we have had for reporting on the spread of the coronavirus and it is the deadliest day that...

Beshear issues restrictions for restaurants, others; all schools to go virtual; 2,753 cases, 15 deaths

Following a record 33 deaths Tuesday and another 15 Wednesday, Gov. Andy Beshear is issuing new restrictions that will help stop the rampant spread of COVID-19 and save Kentuckians’ lives while keeping the economy open. He also reported 2,753 new cases on Wednesday. With more than 250,000 American lives, including those of more than 1,700 Kentuckians, lost to the virus, Gov. Beshear is joining state...

Commentary: Managing an invisible enemy, UK crosses halfway point of an unprecedented semester

By Eli Capilouto and Robert DiPaola University of Kentucky We reached an important milestone recently at the University of Kentucky. With about 50 days left until Thanksgiving, we crossed the halfway point of this unprecedented semester. We know we confront an invisible virus that attacks indiscriminately. What seems to be manageable today can escalate tomorrow, particularly when we let our guard down...

Al Cross: Trump gets an F, Beshear a B so far; what pandemic grade will local officials get?

As we approach a crucial election, it’s time to think about the sort of leaders we want and need at all levels of government – especially when strong leadership is badly needed to help save lives in a pandemic. On that task, our president has failed on almost all counts. I doubt Vice President Mike Pence really believes what he said in Wednesday night’s debate: “From the very first day, President...

Governor reports ‘significant escalation’ with 1,054 new cases, four deaths; unemployment update

Gov. Andy Beshear on Tuesday reported 1,054 new COVID-19 cases and four deaths, bringing the state’s totals to 74,194 cases and 1,218 deaths. One hundred and forty-four of the newly reported cases were from children ages 18 and younger, of which 21 were children ages 5 and under. The youngest was only 3 months old. Fayette County reported 185 cases. “We are experiencing an escalation, our third...

Al Cross: Mitch McConnell should get Trump to stop contradicting science — that’s bad for public health

When I was a child growing up in one of the poorest counties in the nation, with one of the smallest percentages of college graduates of any county, I was lucky. I had parents who had been to college and knew something about public health and had even worked in it. Even the less fortunate folks in our community had respect for the local health department. We all knew that it was a trusted place with...

Beshear reports 227 new COVID-19 cases, three deaths; in battle against pandemic, wear the mask

Gov. Andy Beshear on Sunday updated Kentuckians on the state’s continued efforts to fight the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), reporting 227 new cases and three deaths. “Folks, this is serious. So what we need everybody to do is wear that mask. It’s a requirement, just like wearing your seatbelt. At every store, it’s no shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service,” said Beshear. “This is just...

Boone Circuit judge issues temporary restraining order to keep Beshear administration from enforcing some executive orders

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A Northern Kentucky judge has issued a temporary restraining order to keep the Beshear administration from enforcing some of their executive orders issued to control the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, a hearing was held on a lawsuit filed in Boone Circuit Court by Florence Speedway (a half-mile dirt track, not to be confused with Kentucky Speedway in Sparta), and Little...

Kentucky records only 90 new coronavirus cases Monday, with no new deaths reported

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A low number of new cases of the coronavirus was reported on Monday and, for the first time in a number of days, no new deaths. During a press briefing held in the House Chamber of the Old State Capitol in Frankfort, Gov. Andy Beshear said there were 90 cases reported to state health officials on Monday. “This is one of the lowest Mondays we’ve had in a while. We’re...

Gov. Andy Beshear says Kentucky remains a ‘very fragile place’ as coronavirus cases top 13,000

(Click for larger image) By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky has now had more than 13,000 cases of the coronavirus, according to figures released Thursday by Gov. Andy Beshear. A total of 234 new cases were reported to state public health officials, bringing the total to 13,197. “We have to make sure that we can keep our number of new cases in this type of range,” Beshear stated. “To give...

Ky. surpasses 2,000 coronavirus cases, 100 deaths; Beshear says first day of drive-thru testing a success

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky has topped 2,000 cases of the coronavirus, with more than 100 deaths, it was announced at Gov. Andy Beshear’s daily press conference on Monday. Eighty-seven new cases were reported, bringing the total to 2,048. The seven deaths mean 104 Kentuckians have now lost their lives due to the disease, also known as COVID-19. Of the seven deaths, five of them occurred...

Richard Nelson: Open letter to Church– do you want to spread a virus or be a force for good?

I just got off the phone with a pastor friend in Eastern Kentucky who shared some sad and disappointing news. A person in his community traveled out of state, contracted COVID-19, and attended a church service shortly thereafter where other congregants contracted it. I just learned that one of them died.  This happened before the travel ban and large meeting prohibitions were put in place. This person...

Estimates of COVID-19’s effects on health-care system, and lives, show Ky. compares favorably

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News Kentucky compares favorably to its major bordering states in the first public estimates of the impact of the coronavirus on the U.S. health-care system and the number of deaths expected from the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus. However, some estimates for Kentucky have wider possible ranges than for the other states, illustrating the shortage of data that public-health...

Pew Trusts: Libraries are becoming key to improving public health as hospitals shutter in rural areas

By Sarah Baird Pew Charitable Trusts It’s a sweltering Wednesday morning in Somerset, but at 9 a.m., the Pulaski County Public Library is already bustling. From the community room, the hum of sewing machines echoes into the entryway, as the “pedal pushers” club stitch up their latest creations. An elderly man in sneakers examines a sign advertising a free nutrition workshop for October, which...

UK physician Dr. Angela Tackett Dearinger appointed commissioner of KY Department for Public Health

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The state Cabinet for Health and Family Services has named Dr. Angela Tackett Dearinger commissioner of its Department for Public Health. Dearinger, 43, is board-certified in internal medicine, pediatrics, public health and general preventive medicine. She is an associate professor at the University of Kentucky and is its College of Medicine’s assistant...

Commentary: Public health is where science, politics meet but that doesn’t change need for vaccinations

By F. Douglas Scutchfield and Al Cross Special to KyForward Public health is the nexus of science and politics. Unfortunately, the two frequently do not mix well. A recent example involving childhood immunizations prompts real concern for the erosion of science in the name of politics.  State Sen. Ralph Alvarado, physician and lieutenant governor candidate with Gov. Matt Bevin, recently declared: “I...

Al Cross: Gov. Bevin is reckless to disregard the science on chickenpox; public health matters

When Gov. Matt Bevin volunteered to a Southern Kentucky radio audience March 19 that he had exposed his nine children to chickenpox, and questioned the need for vaccinations and laws requiring them, it was more than the latest example of him being reckless with his mouth. It was a new low in public officials’ willful ignorance or disregard of science, an alarming trend that is taking us to new highs...

CDC, Alzheimer’s Association release Healthy Brain Initiative Road Map, how to deal with dementia

In an effort to help state and local health departments address the growing Alzheimer’s crisis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Alzheimer’s Association have released the third edition of the Healthy Brain Initiative Road Map. State and Local Public Health Partnerships to Address Dementia, The 2018-2023 Road Map, provides public health officials with a set of strategies...

Pew Trusts: Overdose deaths have declined in 14 states; Kentucky records a 14 percent increase

By Christine Vestal Special to KyForward New provisional data released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that drug overdose deaths declined in 14 states during the 12-month period that ended July 2017, a potentially hopeful sign that policies aimed at curbing the death toll may be working. In an opioid epidemic that began in the late 1990s, drug deaths have been climbing...