Coronavirus Update For Monday, April 6
Gov. Andy Beshear is asking Kentuckians not to hold large family celebrations for the upcoming Easter holiday.
Easter is Sunday, April 12. Here in Mercer County, Holy Week celebrations are canceled, but many still want to celebrate. Beshear was asked if families could gather at home, as long as relatives stood six feet apart.
“The answer, folks, and it’s a hard one, is still no,” said the governor, who said his son was supposed to be baptized this Sunday.
He said no one should be holding parties for groups larger than their immediate family. Even if everyone stands six feet apart, they can spread the coronavirus, he said.
“We cannot be having house parties,” Bseshear said. “You’re all touching the same things, the virus is going to spread.”
While some states have made exceptions in their shelter-at-home restrictions for churches, the governor has not. However, some churches have refused to abide by his orders. Two churches in Hopkins County–including one in Dawson Springs, the hometown of Beshear’s father, former Gov. Stephen Beshear–held revival services in March. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, those services have been linked to a coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 50 local residents and led to four deaths.
While Gov. Beshear has praised churches holding drive-in services as a clever way of honoring social distancing restrictions, Hopkins and Jefferson Counties have banned drive-in religious observations.
The governor announced that 54 new cases have been confirmed, leading to a total of 1,008 for Kentucky. Beshear said the state can confirm that nearly 20,000 people have been tested, while 163 people were hospitalized. The governor said 70 are currently hospitalized.
While the number of new cases was low, the number of deaths continues to climb. Beshear said there were 14 new deaths, raising Kentucky’s total to 59. The governor asked citizens to light their homes green to remember those who died.
Nationwide, the virus has infected more than 356,000 people and killed more than 10,500, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Across the globe, more than 1.3 million have been infected and nearly 74,000 have been killed, while over 275,000 have recovered. The U.S. is on pace to overtake both Italy, where over 16,0000 people have died, and Spain, where over 13,000 people have died.
The Mercer County Health Department announced the fifth case earlier this morning. Of the five cases diagnosed in Mercer County so far, three of the patients have recovered.
While Kentucky has so far been spared the worst from the coronavirus. New York City, the nation’s largest city, accounts for nearly a third of all coronavirus deaths. However, as in other states, Kentucky is experiencing a shortage of personal protective equipment, especially N95 respirators and surgical masks and gloves.
The state has created a new hotline (1-833-GIVE PPE) and website (giveppe.ky.gov) to streamline the donation process. In addition, PPE donations can be accepted at all 16 Kentucky State Police posts 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.