Coronavirus Update For Tuesday, March 31
Even though the first case of coronavirus in Mercer County has turned out to be a false positive, there are still two confirmed cases according to Kathy Crown-Weber, the director of the Mercer County Health Department.
Crown-Weber said another Mercer County resident has tested positive. She said her staff are monitoring the cases, including tracking down people who may have come into contact with the infected.
“If you have not been contacted by the health department, you are considered as having no more risk than the general public,” she said.
The first case was originally diagnosed by an out-of-state lab, which led to initial rumors that the woman was not a resident of Mercer County.
Crown-Weber said the lab either entered a false positive into a database or forwarded the lab results to the Kentucky Department of Health and somebody there entered the information incorrectly.
“Either way, the result is the same,” she said via email. “There is no 52-year-old female with COVID-19 connected to Mercer County.”
At Tuesday’s briefing, Gov. Andy Beshear announced there are 114 new cases across the state and six new deaths. That brings the state’s total to 594 cases and 17 deaths. All statistics are preliminary, but it was the biggest day since the governor began his briefings.
Across the globe, there are 850,583 confirmed cases, with the most—184,583—in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been 41,654 deaths, with the most—12,428—in Italy and 176,171 recovered case, with the most—76,206—in China, according to Johns Hopkins’ website.
At Tuesday’s briefing, Gov. Beshear announced they were expanding childcare for the children of grocery store workers, in addition to the children of first responders. The governor said it was crucial to keep the food delivery infrastructure operating.
“We have to know we have enough people working,” said Beshear. Last week in response to a reporter’s question, the governor said he consider grocery workers first responders.
He also announced an executive order that allows local governments to re-hire retired first responders—firefighters, police and paramedics. It goes into effect immediately, said Beshear, who said the state is also looking at easing restrictions to allow more nurses—in particular nurses just entering the field and nurses who may have left the field—to get to work.
The governor also said county fiscal courts need to hold virtual—rather than in-person—meetings.
Beshear said they are performing a “practice run” for drive-thru testing in Franklin County, which will be open to first responders and medical personnel. He said the University of Louisville’s lab would process the coronavirus kits. Lousville has increased capacity which will allow tests to be returned faster, the governor said, who added that some tests take up to 10-11 days for results.
Callers can reach the Kentucky Covid-19 Hotline at 1-800-722-5725, visit the Kentucky Covid-19 website at kycovid19.ky.gov or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
Gov. Beshear and the Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet have established the Team Kentucky Fund, an online platform to provide financial help to Kentuckians whose employment is affected by the coronavirus. The governor challenged those who are able to help to make a tax-deductible donation to the fund. In addition, a website portal has been created to streamline the process for businesses looking to donate supplies and services for Kentuckians in need.
The state has also created the COVID-19 Reporting Hotline (833-597-2337) that will investigate complaints about non-compliance with coronavirus mandates. Labor Cabinet personnel will monitor the hotline from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET. There is also a new state website Kentuckians can visit to make online complaints kysafer.ky.gov.