FRANKFORT, Ky. — On Friday, Gov. Andy Beshear re-emphasized the importance of wearing face coverings in many situations to protect Kentucky lives and our economy and to preserve the commonwealth’s hard-won but fragile progress in the fight against the novel coronavirus 2019.
“The more people who wear masks, the more leaders who model wearing masks in any region of the state, the more people there are going to be safer, are going to have their economy reopen and be able to stay open, are more likely to be able to get their kids back in school and are less likely to lose people,” said Gov. Beshear. “Those who don’t follow the mask requirements and don’t model this, again, you’re just risking the lives, the economy and the schooling of the people in your community.”
On Thursday, the Governor issued a new executive order and today filed an emergency regulation requiring Kentuckians to wear face coverings under several circumstances for the next 30 days. The order went into effect at 5 p.m. today.
According to health experts, wearing face coverings not only protects others, it also lowers the infection risk for those wearing masks by 65%. The Governor also pointed to analysis from Goldman Sachs showing that if everyone in America was required to wear face coverings in public, it could save the U.S. economy from losing 5% of the Gross Domestic Product. Gov. Beshear noted that 5% of Kentucky’s Gross State Product alone is $10.4 billion.
Click here to read the executive order’s requirements and exemptions, which include children who are 5 or younger and anyone with a disability or a physical or mental impairment that prevents them from safely wearing a face covering.
Concern Regarding COVID-19 Spread in Day Cares
Today, the Governor reminded Kentuckians of how important it is that daycares follow all public health guidance to limit the spread of COVID-19, due to recent outbreaks at child care centers across the United States. For example, earlier this week, officials reported that at least 1,335 people in Texas tested positive for COVID-19 after contracting the virus at a child care center. The Governor said Kentucky has 22 child care center cases, 15 staff and seven children.
As of 4 p.m. July 10, Gov. Beshear said there were at least 18,670 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 426 of which were newly reported Friday. The Governor said today’s report included several young children.
“So today’s news also has some other tough parts in it,” said Gov. Beshear. “We’ve got a lot of kids under 5 years old in this report that have COVID-19. Folks, I have kids, and they’re older than this now but when they would get a fever, my heart would stop beating. I mean I would stop breathing when they were hurting. Whatever your reason is to wear a mask, this is a pretty good one.”
Unfortunately, Gov. Beshear reported eight new deaths Friday, raising the total to 620 Kentuckians lost to the virus.
The deaths reported Friday include a 68-year-old man from Clay County; an 88-year-old woman from Fayette County; an 89-year-old woman from Grant County; a 69-year-old man from Russell County; an 81-year-old woman from Shelby County; and two women, ages 78 and 79, and a 61-year-old man from Warren County.
“One of the concerns for the country, for all those states we showed earlier, is the death peak that follows the infection peak,” said Gov. Beshear. “I had hoped that we were past having to report these deaths every day, but unless we do what it takes, unless we follow the rules, I’m going to have to read a lot more of these. For anyone who says this thing only comes for really old people, first of all, we should want to protect them, too. But also, look, we’ve got three people only in their 60s that are on this list today.”
As of Friday, there have been at least 470,548 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. At least 5,258 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.
For additional information, including up-to-date lists of positive cases and deaths, as well as breakdowns of coronavirus infections by county, race and ethnicity, click here.
Long-Term Care Update
Today, Gov. Beshear shared that Kentucky has had 72.9 long-term care resident COVID-19 cases per 1,000 residents and 19.2 COVID-19 deaths per 1,000 residents. While the commonwealth’s long-term care facilities, fortunately, have fared far better than those in many other states, Gov. Beshear said he was committed to protecting even more residents from contracting this disease.
“We’re doing pretty well comparatively at keeping cases and deaths down in long-term care facilities,” said Gov. Beshear. “That’s because we’ve done a good job of following the rules. Now, we’ve got to kick it up a notch. The people in these facilities are depending on us.”
Two hundred and eighty-three of 284 facilities have been fully tested. There have been 60,703 total molecular diagnostic COVID-19 tests performed in the state’s long-term care facilities. Kentucky was awarded $313,897 in Civil Monetary Penalty funds for meeting infection-control deadline in 100% of facilities. Those funds will be invested in tele-visitation technology at 224 facilities, allowing hundreds of Kentuckians more access to their loved ones.
Today, the Governor announced that next week’s Kroger testing sites will be in Independence, Louisville and Lexington. Kentuckians can sign up for COVID-19 molecular diagnostic testing online. Tests will be conducted next week at the following sites:
Tuesday, July 14, through Thursday, July 16 – Summit View Academy, 5006 Madison Pike, Independence, KY 41051
Tuesday, July 14, through Friday, July 17 – Louisville Southern High School, 8620 Preston Highway, Louisville, KY 40219
Tuesday, July 14, through Friday, July 17 – Bluegrass Community and Technical College, 500 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY 40508
“You want to know why we’ve got to step up our game? It’s because COVID-19 is stepping up its game,” said Gov. Beshear. “More people are testing positive, and it’s not just because of more tests. In fact, our COVID-19 test positivity rate, which is based on a seven-day average, two weeks ago was 2.47%, last week was 2.87% and this week is 4.5%. That shows you what’s happening. But we can address this.”
Today, Executive Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown announced that the Kentucky Correctional Industries’ garment plant, located at Kentucky State Penitentiary, has produced over 142,000 cloth masks since beginning production on April 3, with 45,000 going to state prisons for incarcerated individuals and staff. Wearing masks is mandatory for all staff working in a prison.
In addition, Correctional Industries has been producing medical-grade disposable surgical gowns and has produced over 23,000 gowns thus far. The gowns were distributed to state prisons for use in COVID-19 positive housing units, Juvenile Justice, Veterans’ Affairs, Emergency Management and county jails.
“We’ve been closely monitoring what’s been going on in our penal institutions, and I’m happy to report on Green River that of the total of 418 cases that have been reported, 417 have recovered,” said Sec. Brown. “Now we turn our attention to KCIW. We have five inmates there that are hospitalized right now and two are in the ICU. We are applying the lessons we learned at Green River to KCIW, separating the populations, doing the testing, using all of the sanitary procedures and wearing masks.”
“Thank you for reminding all of us that our fellow Kentuckians that are currently incarcerated, while they may be incarcerated for doing something wrong, if they’re working on creating these masks, they’re doing something really, really right,” said Gov. Beshear.
Click here to visit the Department of Corrections (DOC) COVID-19 website that contains testing information and the steps DOC has taken to protect inmates.
Update for Kentuckians with Outstanding UI Claims
The Governor reminded Kentuckians with outstanding unemployment insurance claims to answer their phones when called by contractor Ernst and Young’s number: 502-333-9130. About 50% of calls currently aren’t being answered.
Department for Public Health Order Related to Molecular Diagnostic Testing
Yesterday, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Department for Public Health issued an order related to health insurers and licensed clinician’s COVID-19 testing in the commonwealth.
Executive Order on Door-to-Door Solicitation
Today, the Governor signed an executive order allowing door-to-door solicitation in the commonwealth, provided solicitors comply with Healthy at Work minimum requirements and retail requirements, in addition to wearing face coverings and gloves. Healthy at Work requirements are also available in Spanish online.
Executive Order on Prescription Refills
On March 10, Gov. Beshear signed an executive order that allows pharmacists to dispense emergency 30-day refills on prescriptions. Today, the Governor announced that on July 7, he renewed this order again. The current order will expire on Aug. 6, but is subject to renewal.
Kentucky Infrastructure Authority Update
In a Team Kentucky update, Gov. Beshear also announced today the approval of two project loans from the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority, which is attached to the Department for Local Government, for wastewater and sewer system improvements in the cities of Bedford and Pineville. To see the full release, click here.
Read about other key updates, actions and information from Gov. Beshear and his administration at governor.ky.gov, kycovid19.ky.gov and the Governor’s official social media accounts Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Kentuckians can also access translated COVID-19 information and daily summaries of the Governor’s news conference at tinyurl.com/kygovespanol (Spanish) and tinyurl.com/kygovtranslations (more than 20 additional languages).