FRANKFORT — Kentucky saw a one-day record for new cases on the coronavirus Thursday with 50, bringing the state’s total to at least 248.
During his daily briefing at the Capitol, Gov. Andy Beshear said COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate by age.
“There are people of all ages who are getting the coronavirus in Kentucky. I’ve said before that kids seem especially resilient, that’s resilient to the harm,” he said. “That is not resilient to having the virus. It can still harm people of all ages, so it’s really important for our teens and young adults to know the consequences their actions can have.”
On Wednesday, they aired a video geared toward preschoolers on coping with restrictions due to the coronavirus. On Friday they will have another video, this one geared to elementary students.
He first announced the state had its first case among nursing home residents., a 90-year-old man in Perry County who was removed from the home. But it was revealed later that he had tested negative.
Beshear also wants local officials to help stop the spread.
“I am going to be asking our county judges and our mayors to very closely monitor the park areas and other public congregation areas in their county and city, and if people aren’t observing social distancing, to shut them down.”
He said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has shut down basketball courts in various parts of the city. “That’s something we don’t want to have to do, but again, these are the lives and the health of people out there, and we’re going to do what it takes to encourage people to do the right thing.”
Beshear said he is also giving the heads of Kentucky state parks the same authority. “We want to keep our campgrounds open, but we have a couple of reports right now, of large groups that are gathering at campgrounds, and we can’t let that happen.”
The governor said he had hopes to be able to announce when drive-thru testing will be available, but it is still a few days away.
“We will be doing smaller tests primarily in Frankfort, to prove the concept that we can do this, and that will be early next week to a very targeted population.”
When they are able to start, the governor says they will prioritize two major groups, “Number one: it’s going to be health care workers, first responders, those that are knowingly exposing themselves to the virus, often without the equipment they need. Second, people who are in the most vulnerable groups, that are showing symptoms.”
Beshear says the state still has a shortage of personal protective equipment and has been forced to bid against other states and even the federal government to get what they can.
“I believe we have already spent on everything we’re doing, $8 million plus, and we’re going to spend a lot more than that. I’m going to spend what it takes. We’re going to get the PPE we need so we can protect our people.”
When asked what he needs from the General Assembly, who are in the process of crafting a coronavirus relief bill, Beshear replied, “I need maximum flexibility. We are living in this battle and are fighting it day by day. I need the maximum amount of financial flexibility, I need the maximum amount of flexibility or we are going to take more restrictive steps. We need the flexibility to work very fast with local governments and local law enforcement when needed.”