Gov. Beshear Provides Update on COVID-19 (August 3)
Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday updated Kentuckians on the state’s continuing efforts to fight the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) in the commonwealth.
“July was the toughest month, with the largest number yet of overall positive cases. Unfortunately, that will have negative ramifications for August,” Governor Beshear said. “We find we often lose Kentuckians several weeks after they test positive. That means we are likely to have a larger number of deaths in August.”
Despite this, Gov. Beshear said, there is reason for optimism.
“The numbers are telling us that facial coverings and masks are working,” he said. “We were facing what looked like exponential growth. In order to see our cases go down, we had to slow the increase. That’s why the mask mandate was necessary. If we had done nothing, by now, we would have been seeing 1,000 new cases every day, but instead we are seeing the increase drop off.”
To reinforce the effectiveness of wearing a face covering, the Governor unveiled MaskUpKY, a new statewide public service campaign aimed at encouraging the use of masks by everyone in the commonwealth, along with a new hashtag – #MaskUpKY – to promote facial coverings on social media.
“We know that if we can get the majority of Kentuckians to wear a mask when you go in public, we can make a major difference,” Gov. Beshear said. “If we want to get our kids back in school, reopen our economy, keep each other safe and get to a new normal, we need every Kentuckian to wear a mask or facial covering. It’s that simple.”
The Governor said that over the next couple of months, Kentuckians are going to be hearing from a number of their fellow citizens about the importance of wearing a mask.
He showed one of several new public service announcement featuring his simple message: Don’t put it off. Put it on.
“When we are united in this fight, we are protecting ourselves, each other and our state's economy,” he said. “Do it for Team Kentucky.”
Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, said Kentuckians’ willingness to comply with the mandates is working.
“I think we have a lot to be proud of in Kentucky. It’s been hard and taken a real toll on us, but the evidence shows that we have done a good job from a medical standpoint,” Dr. Stack said. “We now appear to have flattened the curve again. We can see that taking the right steps and doing it consistently works. We hope to see the curve stay flat, and go back down again.”
As of 4 p.m. Aug. 3, Gov. Beshear said there were at least 31,508 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 323 of which were newly reported Monday. Twelve of the newly reported cases were from children ages 5 and younger, including two 3-month-olds from Jefferson County.
“Again, there are lots of different reasons to wear a mask,” the Governor said. “So how about wearing a mask for those two 3-month-olds or any of those children under 5.”
Unfortunately, Gov. Beshear reported two new deaths Monday, raising the total to 744 Kentuckians lost to the virus.
The deaths reported Monday include a 99-year-old man from Calloway County and a 75-year-old man from Floyd County.
“While we’re moving in the right direction on cases, trend-wise we’re going to have a tough month ahead in terms of Kentuckians we have lost,” the Governor said.
As of Monday, there have been at least 642,577 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate currently stands at 5.18%. At least 8,335 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.
Due to limited reporting on the weekends, some updated information is now available from Sunday, Aug. 2.
As of Sunday, there were 640,918 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate was at 5.17% and at least 8,316 Kentuckians had recovered from the virus.
Gov. Beshear spoke Monday about coronavirus testing options in the state, including new free COVID-19 testing that is being provided by University of Louisville Health.
“We have more than 225 locations right now where you can get a COVID-19 test,” the Governor said. “Every region of the state has at least 29 options on where to get tested. If you haven’t had a test in the past two weeks, please go get one.”
The testing sites available under the program:
•Downtown Louisville – 499 S. Brook Street
•South Louisville – Mary & Elizabeth Hospital, 1850 Bluegrass Avenue
•Bullitt County – Medical Center South, 1903 W. Hebron Lane
The testing is free and available seven days a week. Appointments are required. Starting Aug. 5, Kentuckians can call 502-588-0414 to sign up.
In Northern Kentucky, new drive-through testing will be offered starting Thursday, Aug. 6, at the Atlantic Corporate Center, 25 Atlantic Avenue, in Erlanger. The testing is free, but by appointment only, and will be conducted from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The Governor said there are many private testing sites across the commonwealth, including:
•34 in Western Kentucky
•65 in Eastern Kentucky
•29 in Louisville and surrounding counties
•30 in Northern Kentucky
•34 in South Central Kentucky
•38 in Lexington and Central Kentucky
For additional information about each location, visit http://kycovid19.ky.gov
Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, who also serves as Secretary of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, announced Monday new flexibility that the state is providing for the commonwealth’s schools.
Previously, the Lieutenant Governor announced several moves designed to help schools navigate the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus. Those measures included unlimited non-traditional instruction (NTI) days, removing the “average daily attendance” requirement for funding, expanding the care program and allowing districts to grant additional paid leave for COVID-19 emergencies.
Today, Lt. Gov. Coleman said the state will provide expanded flexibility in the way districts provide online instruction.
“A lot of districts are moving to digital platforms. We have received requests to allow more flexibility for a variety of school staff to facilitate and support classes in online platforms,” Lt. Gov. Coleman said. “We have listened, and the Governor has issued an executive order to enact these changes. The goal of all of this is to empower our schools to meet the needs of the students and the parents where they are.”
J. Michael Brown, secretary of Gov. Beshear’s executive cabinet, provided an update Monday on the ongoing investigation into the June 1 shooting death of David McAtee in Louisville.
“The Governor vowed from the beginning there would be a quick, thorough investigation committed to the truth,” Secretary Brown said. “The community, all who were involved and the families of all of those involved deserve the truth.”
Secretary Brown noted that the Governor immediately authorized the Kentucky State Police’s Critical Incident Response Team to quickly investigate Mr. McAtee’s death. Previously, Secretary Brown reported that, based on preliminary autopsy results, Mr. McAtee was believed to have died from a single gunshot wound to the chest. KSP was able identify the caliber and type of ammunition involved. Only one agency, the Kentucky National Guard, fired those rounds that night, in responding to gunfire toward their personnel.
Secretary Brown also previously reported that a 9mm pistol seen with Mr. McAtee in videos from inside YaYa’s clearly shows that Mr. McAtee was armed with a handgun, which could later be seen falling to the ground after he had been shot. Mr. McAtee had gunshot residue on his hands, and two shell casings found immediately outside the doorway were found to have been fired from McAtee’s gun.
“Today, I am reporting that the Kentucky State Police investigation is substantially complete and is now being turned over to the Jefferson County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office for review,” Secretary Brown said. “That file is also being shared with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, although they are conducting an independent investigation.”
He said the Governor’s Office was being asked not to comment further on the case as the investigations continue.
“The U.S. Attorney has formally requested that we do not release any other additional information about this investigation until the federal investigation is complete,” Secretary Brown said. “The federal government has assured us this case is of high priority.”
(provided by the Office of the Governor of Kentucky)