FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Gov. Andy Beshear said despite a spike in cases and deaths on Tuesday it looks like Kentucky has ” likely plateaued.”
“This suggests that over the three days, where one day we had a really high number of new cases, one day we had a lower number and today we had 177, that we have, in fact, likely plateaued.”
Beshear announced 177 new cases and 17 more deaths, bringing the totals since the pandemic began to 3,192 and 171, respectively.
“That means we’re not on the increase and we’re not yet n the decrease,” he said of where Kentucky stands now. “But especially given that we are a month into this, it at least lets us know where we think we are, subject to what we learn every day.”
Of the 17 deaths reported, five were in Hopkins County, three in Graves and Jefferson County, two in Kenton County and one each in Butler, Grant, Jackson, and Lyon counties.
To honor those who died, a wreath laying was held Tuesday morning in a nearly empty Capitol Rotunda, performed by a member of the Kentucky State Police Honor Guard. “I hope it was meaningful and shows those out there that have lost loved ones that we care about them,” Beshear said.
While drive-thru testing began on Tuesday through a partnership with Kroger in Paducah, Madisonville, Somerset, and Pikeville, with more than 700 taking part, Beshear said two more testing sites also opened up: at Murray/Calloway County Hospital and at Tiebreaker Park in Hopkinsville.
More drive-thru testing sites are expected to be announced on Wednesday.
He said long-term care facilities such as nursing homes are still seeing a large rise in cases. On Tuesday there were 42 new cases involving residents, 12 staff members, with 13 more deaths. This raises the totals to 454 residents, 196 staff and 72 deaths, all but one of those involving patients.
The governor said a group of his staff members will be working with affected businesses to determine how they can reopen. “What we’re going to be asking for is industries, trade associations, and some of our individual businesses to submit plans directly to us on how they believe they can follow the CDC guidelines and changes they’re going to make in their operations.”
He said those plans must be different from how they operated previously. “Our group here that is going to be accepting those are going to be made up of my Chief of Staff Latasha Buckner, Jim Gray, our Transportation Cabinet Secretary, Larry Hayes, our Economic Development Cabinet Secretary, and Labor Cabinet Secretary Larry Roberts.”
Businesses closed due to COVID-19 may begin submitting reopen proposals via the online reopen application. The Department for Public Health will evaluate these proposals based on White House guidelines and other government benchmarks. This step will ensure that each business seeking to reopen is able to comply with public health protocols and CDC guidelines. If businesses have additional questions please email questions to HealthyAtWork@ky.gov.
Beshear was also asked about a reasonable timeline for high school sports to resume, with or without fans. He replied, “Without fans, the fall may be possible. We need to look at where we are going and what we have seen.”