Coronavirus Update For Friday, April 2
Gov. Andy Beshear declined to say whether he would extend restrictions on travel and public gathering beyond the end of April. Beshear also implored Kentuckians to continue follow social distancing guidelines–especially during this weekend’s beautiful weather–saying they had the potential to save thousands of lives.
Yesterday, the governor asked Kentucky’s public schools to stay closed until at least May 1. He said he will talk with district leaders during the middle of April about potentially extending the closure for the rest of the school year.
“There is a very real chance that we don’t go back to in-person instruction this year,” Beshear said Thursday.
At Friday’s coronavirus briefing, he said the other restrictions would also be in effect until the end of the month. Beshear said how long the restrictions last depends on how well the state does during the coronavirus pandemic. He showed three models, one showing 47,000 deaths if the state took only limited action, another showing 13,000 deaths under three-month stay at home orders with poor compliance and a final one showing 2,000 deaths with strict compliance of stay-at-home orders. Beshear said following social distancing guidelines and staying healthy at home could save thousands.
“It’s totally in our control,” the governor said. “Your choices could save 11,000 people.”
Beshear said the models are based on the best available data, which is limited because of lack of testing.
“We all want to get to the point where everyone who wants a test can take one, but we’re not even there yet.” the governor said. Beshear said he wished the state had to test everyone who came into contact with someone who had tested positive. “We’re not even there yet,” he said.
This weekend will test Kentucians’ will to abide by the governor’s orders. The next three days are forecast to be sunny with temperatures in the mid 60s to low 70s.
“I want you to get out and enjoy it, but only if you can do it without creating a crowd or joining a crowd,” the governor said.
He said a dwindling number of churches continue to hold services. Two gyms in Franklin County were busted allowing customers inside via the backdoor. A Campbell County resident sued the governor, arguing the recent travel restrictions were unconstitutional.
Asked about the lawsuit, the governor was succinct and to the point.
“I haven’t read it, I’m not worried about it and we will win it,” he said.
The governor announced 90 new confirmed cases in Kentucky, raising the state’s total to 831. Six died today, raising Kentucky’s death toll to 37. Beshear said 220 people have fully recovered, while 15,572 people have been tested.
Here in Mercer County, four people have tested positive, according to the Mercer County Health Department. In Boyle County, seven people have tested positive, according to Ephraim McDowell Health.
Across the world, over a million people—1,095,917—have been diagnosed with coronavirus with the most—275,586—in the US, which has become the epicenter of the pandemic. According to Johns Hopkins University, 58,787 have died, with nearly half of that amount in Italy—which has lost 14,681 people—and Spain—which has lost 11,198 people.
In the U.S., 3,605 people have died, with nearly half of that—1,584—in New York City. Nearly a quarter of the confirmed cases—225,796—have recovered, with most of them—76,670—in China. In the US, 8,889 have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins.
Gov. Beshear also announced a new initiative aimed at making it easier for people to donate personal protective equipment (PPE).
First, a new hotline (1-833-GIVE PPE) and website (giveppe.ky.gov) streamline the entire donation process. In addition, PPE donations now will be accepted at all 16 Kentucky State Police posts across the commonwealth and at Transportation Cabinet offices in Louisville and Lexington.
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.