FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Fifty-four new cases of coronavirus cases, a single-day record for the second consecutive day, and three deaths from the virus were announced Friday by Gov. Andy Beshear.
The 54 new cases beings the state total to at least 302, Beshear said during his daily afternoon press briefing but he said the number should be considered encouraging.
“While that is slightly more than yesterday, it is really close, and that is a good sign,” he said. “In other places, the number of cases is growing much more significantly each day.”
What was not so encouraging was the announcement of three more deaths, which brings Kentucky’s total to eight. The three from Friday were a 75-year-old female from Fayette County, a 73-year-old female from Jefferson County and a 77-year-old male from Hopkins County, he said.
“I want us to think about their families, I want us to pray for them and their loved ones,” Beshear said. “Tonight, we are not only going to be lighting up the Governor’s Mansion, we are going to be lighting up the Capitol dome green to show our compassion for those families. And I would like everybody else out there to do it as well, if you can. We haven’t lost two in a day until now.”
Beshear also had a message for Kentuckians who live along the border with Tennessee – stay away. He pointed to restrictions he has imposed, such as closing bars, restaurants and other businesses to walk-in traffic, which Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has not done.
“If you are a Kentuckian living on that border, I need you to not go to Tennessee for anything other than work, helping a loved one, or maybe a grocery store, if it is closer,” he said. “If you go to something that is not open in Kentucky (but is in Tennessee), what you do is bring back the coronavirus to Kentucky.
“I cannot control that Tennessee has not taken the steps that we have. If someone decides to go to eat at a crowded restaurant in Tennessee, they bring back that coronavirus.”
Tennessee has had 1,321 cases, as of Friday afternoon, along with six deaths, according to WTVF-TV in Nashville.
When asked by reporters if he would consider closing the border to Tennessee, Beshear said, “We consider different options every single day. I’m not there yet, but we’re going to have to look at what it’s going to take to make sure that if in Logan County all the restaurants have shut down, that sacrifice is not frustrated by the county to the south” in Tennessee.
Beshear admitted he hasn’t spoken to Republican Gov. Lee about the situation, adding he talks to Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, who has instituted similar restrictions, every day or every other day.
His message to Lee? “He needs to do everything that we, Ohio and Indiana, who have taken a lot of steps, have done. This isn’t a time for partisanship, but if you look at that, I’m the only Democratic governor of those three.”
Beshear wrapped up the briefing by playaing a video from University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari, who urged people to contribute to the Team Kentucky Fund.
“You can give to it and it’s to help those that are struggling even worse than any of us,” said the Wildcats’ coach. “Stay safe, keep your family safe, and, if you can, let’s give back to others.”