FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) -- “As of right now, we’ve had a fairly good day in Kentucky,” Gov. Andy Beshear said Sunday during his daily press conference on the coronavirus.
While he announced 45 new cases, bringing the total to 439 statewide, that is the lowest number in four days and less than half of the 92 new cases reported on Saturday.
Still, he warned, “The next two weeks are absolutely critical. We are in the surge and we’re going to have more cases. We are going to have more cases each and every day and we ought to be prepared for it. We’re going to lose more people, and that’s going to be hard, but we have to know that is coming.”
While he didn’t announce any more restrictions, he did once again caution people living along the border with Tennessee against going to business types there that are closed in Kentucky.
“This came from health departments on our border whose people are driving over to frequent various businesses that aren’t open in Kentucky," Beshear said. "We are taking aggressive steps and we can’t allow those to be frustrated. Right now, Kentuckians shouldn’t be traveling at all, not just to Tennessee but to anywhere else. You ought to be healthy at home.”
He also warned stores with essential products that can remain open that they must maintain proper social distancing.
“We’ve received a number of reports, mainly about home improvement stores that we’re going to have to look into, and we’re going to have to have calls with those who run those facilities," he said. "Either those stores are going to have to find a way to enforce social distancing, or we’re going to have to see how essential they are.”
State Public Health Director Dr. Steve Stack reinforced the governor’s comments about the next two weeks being critical in the pandemic.
“This is crunch time,” he said. “There are a number of ways things can play out. If you do the things the governor has asked you to do, that’s the good scenario. That’s the best chance everybody has to stay healthy and well, and our families and friends don’t get hurt by this.”
Stack said not to be fearful about it but, as a matter of fact, “Assume everybody around you has the coronavirus. Just assume that the people that you’re seeing on the street and the people you are sitting next to somewhere have the coronavirus. If you keep that 6-10 feet between you, you’re going to be okay.”
Beshear noted, “We have to make sure that we flatten this curve, so that we don’t hit a point where our healthcare system is overloaded, because that is when we will lose more people than we would otherwise lose.”
The governor said they are also working to increase capacity to treat coronavirus victims. “It’s about finding all of the convertible ventilators, it’s about expanding our hospital beds and looking at a number of options, including multiple hotels, who we are close to being under contract with,” he said. “We will hit a critical point in our capacity in the healthcare system, and it’s our job to make sure that we have as few of those days as possible.”
Beshear added he appreciates all the sacrifices Kentuckians have made. “My belief is when this is over, we’re going to see that Kentucky did better with what we faced, than just about anybody else out there. I need you to be strong. We’re not going to have to be healthy and home forever, but in the short term, we absolutely have to. This is the challenge of our times. In my lifetime, we have never seen something where we’ve had to change our lives, our society, our economy, in the way we are doing right now. Let’s make sure that the sacrifices we are making are effective.”