FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday updated Kentuckians on the state’s continued efforts to fight the novel coronavirus 2019.
Gov. Beshear emphasized his priorities – protecting the health and safety of all Kentuckians, restarting our economy and opening our schools – and said wearing a mask is the most important step we all can take to achieve those goals.
“So, what do we have to do? What are the actions that we have to take to protect our economy, to make sure that we protect $10 billion of our economy? It’s pretty simple. Wear a facial covering,” said Gov. Beshear. “Facial coverings help us achieve our three goals. No. 1 goal is to protect the lives and the health of Kentuckians. It is now a scientific fact: Wearing a mask protects both you and other people.”
He noted that cases are surging across the nation, causing many states to roll back their efforts to reopen their economies.
“The second goal is restarting our economy,” Gov. Beshear said. “There are multiple states now rolling back their reopening. I don’t want that to be us.”
Gov. Beshear said that while Kentucky is not posting the positive case numbers that we’re seeing in many places, many areas of the state are seeing worrying increases.
The Governor said Bell, Carroll, Graves and Shelby counties all posted major growths in cases in the past week, with Carroll County leading with a 47percent growth in cases from July 3 to July 11.
While social media can paint a distorted picture of public sentiment on some of these issues, Gov. Beshear pointed to a recent poll that found that Kentuckians overwhelmingly back his mandate for face coverings, with 73 percent supporting versus 23 percent opposing.
“There’s noise out there. We live in a culture of what I believe is a broken system of social media, where one group can seem to be the majority sometimes because of amplification they get. But today, there was a poll that came out that asked Kentuckians if they supported requiring people to wear masks in certain indoor places, and folks, it’s not even close here in Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “Seventy-three percent support it. It crosses all demographics. It crosses all political parties. This is what the American people and the people of Kentucky want to see from their neighbors. So remember, when you wear a mask, you are a part of an overwhelming percentage of Kentuckians who know this is what we have got to do.”
The Governor also noted that there was a time when some questioned other safety laws, including those requiring seatbelts.
“We wear seatbelts don’t we? And I hope none of us would argue right now that a seatbelt is an infringement on our personal liberty,” said Gov. Beshear. “I don’t know if you remember, the history of seatbelts had the same kind of arguments we’re seeing against masks right now. But seatbelts aren’t even the same as wearing face coverings because your decision not to wear a seatbelt might result in you dying, but your decision not to wear a mask could result in you and other people dying. I consider the mask requirement more like a DUI law. You can’t do something where you could potentially harm somebody else. It’s not forever, it’s just until enough people can get this vaccine and we know our people are safe.”
Dr. Steven Stack, the commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, highlighted Kentucky’s non-partisan approach to battling the coronavirus with science.
“Regardless of party affiliation, [U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Dr. Jerome Adams] I’ve known for a couple decades, and he’s a friend and a colleague. There’s no party and no identity in this. It’s all about the science and trying to advise what are the best steps we can take as people to keep ourselves safe and minimize the impact of this disease,” said Dr. Stack. “It is essential that we use these masks. And if we think, ‘Oh, the kids will be fine,’ one, they won’t all be fine, a very small number are going to have problems. But the older folks, and the people with medical problems, won’t all be fine. If we want to get back to our activities, we have to use these masks.”
As of 4 p.m. July 13, Gov. Beshear said there were at least 19,653 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 272 of which were newly reported Monday.
The Governor warned against seeing too much positive in the relatively low number of new cases reported today, saying we often see fewer cases reported coming out of a weekend.
“We continue to see a rise in cases for children under five. Today we have 11 and the youngest is just four months old. This impacts our children, too,” said Gov. Beshear.
Unfortunately, Gov. Beshear reported four new deaths Monday, raising the total to 629 Kentuckians lost to the virus.
The deaths reported Monday include two men, ages 60 and 79, and a 90-year-old woman from Fayette County, and a 77-year-old man from Warren County.
“We are continuing to see a significant number of 60-year-olds who continue to lose their lives to COVID-19. I hope none of us think that that is old,” said Gov. Beshear. “Let’s remember these families. At a time when cases are escalating and we’re seeing things in Florida that are just terrifying, let’s make sure that we’re giving people that comfort of being able to see those green lights and hear those bells in their neighborhood.”
As of Monday, there have been at least 480,372 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. At least 5,344 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.
For a detailed look at coronavirus case information from Sunday, July 12, click here.
CARES Act Reimbursements
Gov. Beshear, in collaboration with the Department for Local Government, announced today that 15 western Kentucky governments have been granted $3,667,367 in reimbursements from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act for local governments with expenses related to COVID-19. Sixteen others have received preliminary approval, meaning they will receive reimbursements once final documentation is submitted to DLG.
“We know many of our local governments are hurting,” the Governor said. “That’s why we set aside $300 million in CARES Act funding for local governments with expenses related to COVID-19 to be administered by our Department for Local Government.”
For full details on the announcement, click here.
Gov. Beshear reminded all Kentuckians to take advantage of testing offered through the state’s partnership with Kroger.
“Not only are we back to a time when we’re seeing an increase in cases, we’re also back to a time where testing is a little more concerning. Many of the national labs out there are suddenly going back to the six-, seven-, eight-, nine-day turnaround times that we know are severely problematic,” said Gov. Beshear. “I want the people of Kentucky to know that we have already taken action and have made sure that we have purchased enough kits from here in Kentucky with commitments of a 48-hour turnaround time where we are not going to face that issue. We still need people to sign up and make sure you’re getting tested.”
This week’s Kroger testing sites are in Independence, Louisville and Lexington. Kentuckians can sign up for COVID-19 molecular diagnostic testing online. Tests are being conducted at the following sites:
Tuesday, July 14 – Thursday, July 16 – Summit View Academy, 5006 Madison Pike, Independence, KY 41051
Tuesday, July 14 – Friday, July 17 – Louisville Southern High School, 8620 Preston Highway, Louisville, KY 40219
Tuesday, July 14 – Friday, July 17 – Bluegrass Community and Technical College, 500 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY 40508
Last Week in Review
To read more on major updates from this week, including those on the state’s new face coverings mandate, COVID-19 spread in daycares, long-term care, testing, corrections, unemployment insurance claims, unemployment insurance in-person services, Kentucky’s new education commissioner, CARES Act funding, economic development and the state budget, go to governor.ky.gov/news.
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).