FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Kentucky had its worst day of the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday with 114 new cases and seven deaths.
Gov. Andy Beshear made the announcement during his daily press conference at the Capitol., which brings the totals to 591 positive tests and 17 deaths.
“We knew this was coming, and we know there are going to be days when we have more than 114 new cases,” he said. “That is why we are working so hard, so hard, to reduce our number of contacts and protect the people around us.”
He says all of those who died were elderly and had underlying medical problems. “This is something I had hoped I’d never have to announce, though I know I’ll will be announcing it more as we move into the future.”
Beshear also announced additional steps being taken on Tuesday.
“We are expanding the child-care options that we have been providing to our first responders and our health care workers to our grocery store workers,” he said. “We need them, we know the food supply chain is safe, but we have to make sure that we have enough people that are there stocking shelves day in and day out.”
He said they were able to make the change, knowing they have the capacity in the existing facilities to add grocery store workers to the list.
The governor announced he also signed an executive order on Tuesday. “That allows local, state and county governments to hire back police, firefighters, EMS and corrections officers, who have retired with no penalty to their retirement,” Beshear said.
He noted with those people having to go into self-quarantine and those testing positive, “it could take out an entire fire department in some areas. This is going to allow us to have a bigger pool of people to pull from and was something specifically asked for by our sheriffs and chiefs of police.”
Beshear also announced that yard sales are being banned. “Yard sales are a way that would spread this virus really easily. From everything that we touch to the crowds they create, we can’t have any yard sales until after this is over.”
His administration is working the next two days on a proof-of-concept in Franklin County on drive-up testing. “This is a practice run for us, to make sure we understand the different challenges we are going to face, as we have the opportunity to stand these up in different places.”
When asked about an unnamed employee of the Legislative Research Commission who tested positive, Beshear responded that the virus is going to be everywhere, including on the Capitol grounds, so as many people as possible should continue working from home.
“It means that others in the LRC and our legislators ought to be monitoring themselves to determine if there are going to be any symptoms. They ought to be doing the tracking from the last people who were in contact with this individual and see how they are feeling. What it says to me is these folks need to pass a budget and get out of town, for their own health and for everybody else around them.”
Lawmakers are scheduled to meet on Wednesday for one day, then take their normal veto recess before returning to the Capitol on April 14 and 15.
Many churches want to hold drive-up services, especially with Easter coming. Beshear said he salutes their ingenuity, and asks that they take several precautions:
--No more than a single family that lives together in a car.
--Cars have to be at least six feet apart, because it’s going to be nice weather and people will want to roll their windows down.
--Nobody can get out of their vehicles.
--You can’t pass things between cars. Beshear realizes that’s really hard with communion and offerings, but you can’t pass things that people are going to be touching.
“If all of those can be followed, I think that this type of service is something that people can feel together on,” he said. “I appreciate our houses of worship thinking about different ways to do this. I think those are very legitimate rules, so that we continue to follow CDC guidelines. The last thing we want is for an Easter worship service, which is about rebirth, to spread the virus and harm people.”