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Gov. Beshear Limits Out-of-State Travel, Offers 10-Step Plan to Fight Virus

Barren River Health

Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday issued an order to limit Kentuckians’ out-of-state travel and offered a 10-step plan to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

“Right now we have more cases in other states,” the Governor said. “What it means is your likelihood of getting infected and potentially bringing back the coronavirus may be greater in other states than ours. You need to be home anyways.”

The decree allows for a range of exemptions, including travel to other states for work and groceries, to care for loved ones, to obtain health care and when required by a court order. Kentuckians arriving back in the commonwealth from out of state are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“We want you to remain Healthy at Home,” La Tasha Buckner, chief of staff and general counsel for Gov. Beshear, said of the new order’s goal.

The Governor issued the order under provisions of the State of Emergency declaration that he issued on March 6, 2020, the day of the state’s first positive case.

Gov. Beshear previously advised Kentuckians to avoid travel into Tennessee, which did not as quickly adopt some of the more stringent measures Kentucky has enacted.

“Stay Healthy at Home” is the very first item on a new 10-step plan to fight the coronavirus that Gov. Beshear unveiled Monday.

Beyond staying home and avoiding unnecessary travel, the 10 steps to fight COVID-19 include tips on sanitation and social distancing as well as information for those seeking help with unemployment, mental health issues and health care benefits.

“We’re trying to make sure we’re putting all of those steps that people need to take into one place,” the Governor said.

Gov. Beshear also signed Senate Bill 150, the coronavirus relief bill, into law. The Governor thanked lawmakers for their quick action, which codifies many of the measures already being taken. During the current state of emergency, SB 150 creates flexibility in our telehealth system, prohibits non-emergent procedures, allows for the delivery of alcohol and creates flexibility in deciding who is eligible for unemployment insurance.

The Governor said officials are continuing efforts to expand the state’s health care resources. The commonwealth currently has about 18,500 hospital beds, 1,300 ICU beds and 1,352 ventilators.

As of 5 p.m. March 30, the Governor said there were at least 480 cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky, with 42 of those being newly confirmed. There were two new deaths reported Monday, raising the state’s toll to 11 deaths related to the virus.

“This is a loss for all of us,” said Gov. Beshear, adding the Governor’s Mansion and Capitol dome would be lit green. He asked all Kentuckians to keep those families in their thoughts and to light up their homes green to honor those lost.

Gov. Beshear also said Monday that two of the new cases were linked to a nursing home in Northern Kentucky’s Campbell County. One resident and one staff member were being treated, the Governor said, and follow-up tests were being conducted.

In addition, the Governor provided an update on a 1-year-old in Fayette County who recently was diagnosed with COVID-19. “That child is back at home and doing really well,” Gov. Beshear said.

Gov. Beshear shared good news that federal aid is flowing to help the commonwealth’s coronavirus response and recovery efforts. The Major Disaster Declaration issued by President Donald Trump broadens access to the Public Assistance Program statewide to pay for emergency protective services.

The federal CARES Act provides a variety of assistance and hope to Kentuckians whose livelihoods have been harmed by the coronavirus outbreak and response.

“I signed an agreement with the Department of Labor that provides for us to raise the maximum weekly benefit by $600, increase benefits weeks by 13 additional weeks, fund unemployment insurance for individuals not typically eligible and finally allows states to expand workshare programs,” Gov. Beshear said.

Gov. Beshear, along with the Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet, took executive action to establish the Team Kentucky Fund, a GoFundMe-style online platform to provide financial help to Kentuckians whose employment is affected by the coronavirus.

The Governor has challenged those who are able to help to make a tax-deductible donation to the fund.

On Monday, Gov. Beshear shared a video from University of Louisville head football Coach Scott Satterfield encouraging people to contribute to the fund and to do their part to stop the spread of the virus. Last week, Kentucky basketball Coach John Calipari urged people to help their neighbors.

Gov. Beshear announced the COVID-19 Reporting Hotline 833-KY SAFER (833-597-2337) for complaints about non-compliance with coronavirus mandates. Labor Cabinet personnel will monitor the hotline from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET. Kentuckians can visit the website http://kysafer.ky.gov to make online complaints.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages people to follow these steps to prevent illness. Kentuckians who want advice can call the state hotline at 800-722-5725 or call their local health care provider.

(provided by the Office of the Governor)

Paul Hitchcock earned his Masters in Communications from Morehead State University and Bachelors in Radio-TV/Psychology from Georgetown College. A veteran broadcaster for more than 40 years and an avid fan of blues, jazz and American roots music. Hitchcock has been with WMKY since 1986 and was named General Manager in 2003. He currently hosts "Muddy Bottom Blues" (Fri., 8pm-9pm), "Nothin' But The Blues" (Sat., 8pm-12am), "Sunday Night Jazz Showcase" and "Live From The Jazz Lounge" (Sun., 8pm-9pm) and "The Golden Age of Radio" (Sun., 2pm-3pm). He also serves as producer for "A Time For Tales" and "The Reader's Notebook."
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