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Gov. Beshear, Dr. Stack Urge Kentuckians to Celebrate Thanksgiving Safely

Nov 10, 2020

Credit CBS New York

Today, Gov. Andy Beshear encouraged Kentucky families to be safe this Thanksgiving, especially in light of the newest federal report for the commonwealth that emphasizes the risks of gathering with people from other households. He also encouraged Kentuckians to keep getting tested for COVID-19 and announced that the state ranks sixth in the country for daily COVID-19 tests per million residents, according to Kaiser Health News.

“Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times during the year. It is a special time for my family which is normally spent with a lot of extended family,” said Gov. Beshear. “But this year those larger gatherings can be very dangerous. We are seeing COVID-19 spread and the resulting loss happening more at family and social gatherings than anywhere else right now. This, right now, is the most dangerous time we’ve had with this virus.”

Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving earlier in the fall (the second Monday of October) and both provincial and federal officials have pointed to the holiday as one cause for a recent spike in COVID-19 cases across their country.

“As you make your plans for the holidays, I urge you, please – 2020 has been a mess for all of us – but we’ve got to hang in there just a little bit longer,” said Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH). “We are very optimistic in the first signs for the first vaccine to report information from its major trial. It suggests that our scientists have been able to figure out ways to get us back to life more like we used to know it, but we have to stay the course this Thanksgiving.”

Kentuckians should also follow KDPH’s Thanksgiving guidance, which includes:

•Avoid in-person gatherings with people who do not live in your household.

•Always wear a face covering or mask when you are not eating or drinking.

•Maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet.

•Avoid large gatherings, especially those held indoors.

•Do not host or attend crowded parades.

•Avoid shopping in crowded stores before, on or after Thanksgiving.

Kentuckians can choose creative, safer ways to celebrate, including:

•Shopping online and/or at less crowded small businesses.

•Enjoying hiking, hunting or other outdoor activities during the holiday weekend.

•Supporting fellow Kentuckians by buying Kentucky Proud ingredients or ordering take-out from local restaurants for a Thanksgiving meal with their household.

•Hosting a virtual dinner where they can share recipes with extended family and friends and spend time together remotely.

Gov. Beshear highlighted that this morning he joined Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Lt. Col. (Retired) Keith Jackson and Humana executives virtually to announce that over the next four years, the health care company is committed to hiring 600 veterans and 150 military spouses in Kentucky.

Gov. Beshear said Humana’s commitment to hire veterans and military spouses by the end of 2024 is a welcome addition to state’s goal of being the most military and veteran friendly state in America.

The Governor also announced that the state has expanded life-saving crisis services for Kentuckians at risk of suicide. An additional Community Mental Health Center, Pathways, Inc., has been added to the list of accredited agencies serving as National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call centers within the state. Pathways, Inc. serves Bath, Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Greenup, Lawrence, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan and Rowan counties.

Kentuckians can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

“Every person on the Pathways, Inc. team is a hero,” said Gov. Beshear. “You are helping others – and in many cases, saving their lives – during their moment of greatest need. I want all Kentuckians to know that when they’re struggling, there is always someone they can call.”

Case Information

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10, Gov. Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:

•New cases today: 2,120

•New deaths today: 14

•Positivity rate: 7.68%

•Total deaths: 1,590

•Currently hospitalized: 1,189

•Currently in ICU: 286

•Currently on ventilator: 139

Top counties with the most positive cases today are: Jefferson, Fayette, Warren, Hardin, Madison and Laurel.

Those reported lost to the virus today include an 80-year-old woman and a 69-year-old man from Bracken County; an 84-year-old man from Bullitt County; a 91-year-old woman from Daviess County; an 86-year-old man from Hopkins County; five men, ages 76, 84, 86, 87 and 89, from Jessamine County; an 87-year-old man from Marshall County; a 92-year-old woman from McLean County; a 68-year-old man from Muhlenberg County; and a 76-year-old man from Shelby County.

All five men from Jessamine County were residents at Thomson-Hood Veterans Center.

KDPH recommends a 14-day self-quarantine for travelers who are returning from any of these states reporting a COVID-19 test positivity rate of 15% or higher: South Dakota (53.97%), Iowa (48.29%), Kansas (41.27%), Idaho (38.64%), Wyoming (34.50%), Missouri (20.97%), Alabama (19.77%), Montana (18.14%), Utah (17.98%), North Dakota (16.11%), Pennsylvania (15.99%) and Wisconsin (15.39%).

Memorial

Today, the Governor recognized Timothy England, a 10-year employee of the Kentucky Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction, who passed away on Nov. 8 due to COVID-19 complications. He was only 60 years old.

Tim was a Heating and Cooling Systems field inspector. He traveled the state making sure systems were working and properly installed for new home buyers and businesses.

“This remembrance is particularly hard because it’s someone who was one of our own in state government. Tim, a Glasgow native, enjoyed spending time with family, and I’m told his grandkids were his life.  He also enjoyed camping, riding motorcycles, and just being outdoors with his wife. His family says he loved making people laugh,” said Gov. Beshear. “We promise to your family to work harder so that others don’t have to go through what they are going through right now.”

To view the full daily report, incidence rate map, testing locations, long term-care and other congregate facilities update, school reports, the White House Coronavirus Task Force reports for Kentucky and other key guidance visit http://kycovid19.ky.gov

(provided by the Office of Gov. Andy Beshear)