FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Gov. Andy Beshear reported 134 new cases of the coronavirus along with six deaths and also expressed concern over rising numbers in nursing care facilities.
“Folks, this is where the coronavirus wreaks havoc,” Beshear said during his daily press briefing.
He says the number of cases at these facilities is escalating here, as it is in the rest of the United States.
“Across the Commonwealth, we have 32 additional residents of long-term care facilities that have tested positive for the coronavirus, 13 additional staff, and we’ve lost three more Kentuckians,” he said.
Beshear said the totals are now 1,452 cases after weeding out duplicate cases and those who actually live out of state but were tested here, while the pandemic has now claimed the lives of 77 Kentuckians.
Of the total number of cases, Beshear said 426 were hospitalized at one time, and 228 currently. A total of 166 were in intensive care at one point with 105 now in the ICU.
Regarding the latest deaths, four occurred in Jefferson County, the other two in Hopkins County.
Beshear said aggressive action early on has kept the nursing home totals down.
“Had we not restricted visitation, this would be significantly worse,” he said. “While we are grateful of our appearance of flattening the curve, where it’s spreading, and those who are at risk, is really concerning.”
Josh Benton with the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet said those who are unemployment should be getting an additional $600 per week soon, on top of the regular benefit, due to the federal stimulus package.
“That starts effective with those who received payments the week of March 29,” Benton said. “We’re going to play catch-up for a couple of days to get those payments out. No one has to refile, no one has to request an additional payment. That’s all going to be done automatically for everyone who has filed.”
Benton said it will be a separate payment from the normal one and will come a day or two after the regular payment.
Several major health care providers and hospitals have announced furloughs since elective procedures are banned, and the governor says he is hoping to reduce that number.
“We’re working on a couple of different ways to try and help our healthcare providers,” he said. “We’re working on some bridge loans, we’re working on some areas of Medicaid. We’ve been sent some things for our Department of Insurance that we’re working on right now to try and help them. We’re also talking to them about Personal Protective Equipment, not just providing but maybe we can help in different areas of buying that.”
The governor says the restrictions put in place are working. “We’re seeing it in data from the Kaiser Foundation and just about everyone else that is charting this. It’s our rate of new cases, even adjusted for population, is not increasing at the same rate as many others. We’re now seeing all over the country people attributing that to social distancing.”
But he added don’t expect to see a relaxation of restrictions soon, because a couple things will have to occur first. “Number one, we’re going to have not only have peaked, which we haven’t yet, but we’re going to have to be significantly on the downward slide from it. And then, it’s not going to be everything at once, it can’t be.”