FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Kentucky had 39 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, the largest single day number by far, bringing the state’s total to at least 163, Gov. Andy Beshear said.
During a Capitol press conference, the governor expressed his disappointment that some people are not following the guidance and orders restricting the gathering of people and called out an action which led to one of Tuesday’s new cases.
“I want to say, without identifying which one, we have a positive case today from someone who attended a coronavirus party,” he said. “This is the part where I, the person who tells everyone to be calm, have to remain calm myself. Because anyone who goes to something like this may think that they are indestructible, but it’s someone else’s loved one that they are going to hurt.
“We are battling for the health and even the lives of our parents and our grandparents,” he said. “Don’t be so callous that as to intentionally go to something and expose yourself to something that can kill other people. We ought to be much better than that. This is one that makes me mad.”
Given the rise in cases and knowing the next two weeks will be very important, Beshear announced a next step. “Effective Thursday at 8 p.m., we’re going to be asking all non-life-sustaining businesses to close to in-person traffic. Even for those that are going to be accepted until this order, we are going to mandate the type of social distancing that we have to see out there to protect our people.”
Details will appear in an executive order he will issue on Wednesday, but Beshear did say businesses exempted from his order of a few days ago will remain so. Those include grocery stores, pharmacies and drugstores, banks, gas stations, auto repair and parts businesses, media, agriculture-related businesses and liquor stores.
On Monday, Beshear announced a hotline to report those who have ignored his executive order and said they had 2,000 calls the first night. The calls are being taken by employees of the state Labor Cabinet. That number is 833-KY-SAFER or 833-597-2337.
President Donald J. Trump announced Tuesday he hoped to lift restrictions by Easter but Beshear disagreed with putting out any timeline. “I think all of us have to be ready to wait, however long it takes, if it helps other people. We are now just seeing the escalation of this virus, and to suggest that there is a short duration that we can almost promise people, is not something we should be doing.”
Beshear did have positive mews to pass along. “We believe we have four people that have fully recovered from the coronavirus. That is good news.”
While not as much as he would like, the governor said they have received from the federal stockpile some personal protective equipment, or PPE, for health care workers and first responders. “We have 41,744 respirator masks, 99,493 surgical masks, 18, 936 face shields, 15,439 gowns, 79 coveralls 54,972 gloves. It’s not nearly what we asked for, just like nearly every other state.”
He described the frustration of trying to get PPE supplies. “We’re bidding against other states, and against an order we had the other day, FEMA came in and bought it all out from under us.”
He says at least four healthcare workers have tested positive for COVID-19.
“This is something that none of us ever expected, and none of us ever thought we would be dealing with. But we have the resilience and we have the strength.”
His message to Kentuckians: “Every time that we have faced a major adversary, we have defeated it and we can here, too. My belief is that we can do a better job than we have ever seen in the past in dealing with this. We have better information, we have better communication, and we care about each other and we know the stakes.”