The governor’s mansion uses green lights to memorialize the deaths of Kentuckians from covid-19.
By Melissa Patrick
The governor and Health Commissioner Steven Stack spent much of their briefing saying why masks are needed, and addressing the politics of that.
Stack stressed that there is no disagreement among public-health professionals about the importance of wearing a mask to slow the spread of the disease, since we know that the virus is spread by the spit and saliva from our mouths when we talk, cough, sneeze and sing — and that many have the virus, but no symptoms. Estimates range from one-fourth to one-half of cases.
“I think we forget because we didn’t have the same magnitude of crisis we might have had, because we didn’t live in Kentucky what they lived through in New York City,” Stack said. “We didn’t see the horrors at the scale that they had to see in other places and I think that that’s made this feel too distant and too removed from our present reality.”
Beshear cautioned that as the economy reopens, it’s even more important to keep our hands washed and wear a mask, reminding Kentuckians that the novel coronavirus is easily carried into long-term-care facilities, where most of Kentucky’s covid-19 deaths have occurred.
“Remember, it gets into these facilities somehow. It’s not just starting there,” he said. “It’s passed between people outside these facilities and brought in there.”
Testing: Warren and Shelby counties contrasted
The governor also called for more people — especially in Western Kentucky, where infection rates are highest — to take advantage of the free Kroger-sponsored testing sites. He noted that there are still hundreds of empty slots available in Bowling Green and Henderson.
“None of this, ‘We don’t want testing, so we don’t know there’s a problem’,” he said. “Our Warren County leaders haven’t done that, though we’ve had some others that have declined testing sites. That is turning your back on your people. We’ve got to know the level of our problem if we are going to protect the people that are out there. That means we have testing everywhere so we make sure we keep people safe.”
Beshear said officials in Shelby County, which recently had a 50 percent increase in cases among Hispanics,”turned down a Walmart testing facility. We thought that that was interesting, but ultimately the health department and the county judge have to make decisions on that.”
Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman said the Team Kentucky Fund, which is available to Kentuckian who have lost employment or have had their hours or wages cut by half or more because of the pandemic, has received more than 1,900 applications for assistance.
- Beshear announced 127 new cases of the coroanvirus, bringing the adjusted total to 9,077. “Our numbers today continue to suggest that we are no longer in a plateau, but on a decline,” he said.
- The counties with the highest number of new cases were Jefferson, 35; Boone, 11; Ohio, 10; Fayette, 7; Shelby, 6; and Oldham, 5.
- The latest deaths were of a 71-year-old man and a 97-year-old woman from Boone County; a 78-year-old man from Hopkins County; two men, 77 and 79, from Jefferson County; and an 88-year-old man from Oldham County.
- Beshear said 512 people were in hospital with covid-19, and 82 of them are in intensive care. At least 3,124 people have recovered from the virus. Click here for the state’s daily report.
- In long-term care facilities, Beshear reported that 15 more residents and 16 more staff have tested positive for the virus, for a total of 1,185 and 563 respectively. He said five more residents have died of covid-19 in the last several days, bringing the death toll up to 239 resident deaths and two staff deaths, in 120 facilities. Click here for the daily long-term care facility report.
- Beshear said the first 10 minutes of tomorrow’s briefing will feature videos for young children, one about masks and one about anxiety.