Beshear Newser - 3-11-20

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear during a briefing about the coronavirus in Frankfort, Ky., on March 11, 2020. 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Wednesday that all schools should be prepared to close with as little as 72-hour notice as fear of the spread of COVID-19 reaches more state and national institutions.

That announcement was parroted by Dr. Sarah Moyer, director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, who told Metro Council's Community Affairs, Health and Education Committee that all schools are preparing to close on short notice.

Beshear outlined a total of eight things that have been done or should be done to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in a news release Wednesday afternoon:

  • Instructed school districts to be prepared to close on short notice, as short as 72 hours.
  • Closed all state prisons to visitors.
  • Encouraged every individual in Kentucky, in particular those over 60 and those with chronic medical conditions, to do what they can to avoid large gatherings and minimize time in groups and public spaces.
  • Canceled the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast out of an abundance of caution.
  • Asked places of worship to cancel services temporarily due to the proximity .
  • Suspended out-of-state travel for state employees.
  • Urged more businesses to allow employees to tele-commute and to provide paid sick leave.
  • Asked people to spread out in meeting and work spaces by increasing distance between seats and taking other similar actions.

“We know this is community spread and we need to get ahead of it,” Beshear said. “It is important for everybody out there to be calm, practice good hygiene and reduce the risk of exposure for themselves and others.”

Rev. H. Wayne Colbert from Kingdom Land Baptist Church said meetings were planned for Wednesday to decide what to about Sunday's service. As of Wednesday afternoon, a final decision had not been made yet, but he said canceling service was an option.

"It's on the table, because we do a lot of technology, and we can worship together through technology so we can worship together," he said. "I'm not too concerned because we relatively have a younger congregation."

He said there will be meetings to discuss things such as using the recommended "elbow bump" instead of the greeting each other with the usual hugs and handshakes.

"We're going to have to educate our people about how we embrace and how we bump arms and fist bump an dhow to best take care of things," he said.

On Wednesday morning, Beshear said the current number of coronavirus patients in Kentucky remains at eight, and all of them are "stable and doing well."

"A couple of individuals may almost be through this," he added during a news conference in Frankfort Wednesday morning.

Beshear said four of those eight Kentucky COVID-19 patients remain in the hospital, while the other four are in isolation at home.

The breakdown of the eight patients is as follows:

  1. 5 in Harrison County, including a 27-year-old woman, a 67-year-old woman, 68-year-old man, a 60-year-old man and a 54-year-old woman.
  2. 2 in Fayette County, including a 49-year-old man and a 46-year-old man.
  3. 1 in Jefferson County, a 69-year-old man.

"That number is expected to grow," Beshear said. "We expect to see more cases. We are prepared to see more cases."

To date, Beshear said 54 people have been tested for the virus in Kentucky. Forty-six tested negative, while eight tested positive. Twenty of the 54 tests took place on Tuesday. Beshear said that is the largest number of patients to be tested on a single day in Kentucky.

In an update Wednesday afternoon, Beshear said 11 more people had been tested. Ten of those tests came back negative, while one came back inconclusive. That brings the number to 65 tested, 57 tested negative, eight tested positive and one inconclusive.

"It's critical that we know that we will have more positive tests as we move forward, but that's to be expected," Beshear said on Tuesday.

The state has implemented a coronavirus information hotline at 1-800-722-5725.

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