Out-of-state travel restricted; 42 more cases, 2 more deaths


FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - While the number of new cases of the coronavirus was lower for the second day in a row, there were also two more deaths, and interstate travel restrictions are being put into place.

During his Monday press briefing at the Capitol, Gov. Andy Beshear said there were 42 new cases, which brings the total to 480 from the pandemic.

“This is good news, because other states are seeing a doubling just about every three days or less,” he said, noting the next two weeks are critical.  “I think it shows that our actions matter, but we’re probably not going to have many more days in the next couple weeks where we only have 42 new cases.”

He said the two deaths are an 88-year-old woman in Kenton County and a 90-year-old woman from Simpson County, both of whom had other medical conditions, but that the coronavirus was at least a contributing factor.  Eleven Kentuckians have now died from the virus.

“This is a loss for all of us,” Beshear said.  “Let’s all send our prayers, our best wishes, and feelings for these families.  Let’s also light up everything green tonight,” since green is the color of compassion.

He says he will have the Governor’s Mansion and the Capitol dome lit green Monday night. “But it probably doesn’t mean as much as lighting up your house green.  It means we’re all in this together, that we all share compassion and that we’re all looking out for each other.”

Monday’s new positives included two from a nursing home in Campbell County, according to the governor. It’s the first from a long-care facility nursing home in Kentucky.  “It includes one staff person and one resident, who has been taken to a hospital,” he said. “They are testing at least four other people at that facility.”

Beshear also issued a new executive order on Monday, limiting out-of-state travel for all Kentuckians. His chief of staff, La Tasha Buckner, explained what is and isn’t affected.

“We want you to go out of state if it’s required for your job,” she said.  “If you live on the border and you need groceries, medicine or other supplies and necessities, or it’s required for your healthcare.  If you have a loved one you need to care for, someone who can’t leave their home, we want you to travel for that.  Also, if a court requires you to travel.”

She says restrictions include going across the border for haircuts or pedicures.  Buckner also said, “We want anyone from Kentucky who has been out on spring break or other trip to return home and self-quarantine for 14 days, just to be sure that you haven’t been exposed and don’t expose other people.  We want you to remain healthy and home.”

Beshear emphasized, “The order does require that if you traveled to a different state for any reason other than those exceptions, you will be required to quarantine for 14 days.  It’s an important order, let’s make sure we follow it.”

Although Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, a healthcare facility in northeast Kentucky, announced before the pandemic that it would close later this year, the governor said it would be part of response to a surge in cases.  “That is a hospital with beds that while, if it remained open would require infrastructure help and upgrades, it is going to be a facility to go to during this, and our plan is absolutely to use it.  Especially as the surge is coming, we’re going to want to make sure that it’s open.”

Beshear said they are also looking at ways to help rural hospitals.  “Our plan is not fully completed yet, but (we are) wanting to make sure, even if it’s going to be three or four weeks before they hit their full capacity, we need them there and ready, and there’s going to be plenty of patients, unfortunately, for them to help.”

For the latest information on the coronavirus outbreak in Kentucky, guidance from state and federal health officials and restrictions Gov. Beshear has in place, go to the website, http://kycovid19.ky.gov/. Those without internet access or who may need more information and guidance can call their hotline at (800) 722-5725.



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