Expressing condolences, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Tuesday that seven more Kentuckians died after becoming ill from the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and urged Kentuckians to continue to take precautions and sacrifice to stop the spread.
“Today, we lost seven Kentuckians, which is something I never thought I would have to announce,” said Gov. Beshear. “This is why we were working so hard to reduce our contacts and protect the people around us. This is a virus that comes for the most vulnerable and we have to make sure we’re protecting them.”
The Governor urged Kentuckians to honor the loss of life by recommitting to following the guidance of health officials to stay healthy at home. Gov. Beshear said the sacrifices being made by Kentuckians would save lives.
“None of us know exactly how widespread this is going to get. But what we do know is, whatever that amount is, we can reduce it by what we’re doing right now,” the Governor said. “I know uncertainty is the hardest part of this. It is. It’s the hardest part of planning. It’s the hardest part in living. It’s the hardest part of staying strong when it’s really nice outside and you want to go see people.”
Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Department of Public Health, said the stakes are life and death for some, and now is the time to work at “flattening the curve” so ill patients do not overwhelm Kentucky’s health providers.
“Folks, this is not a game, this is for real. And I am really proud of what we have done in Kentucky,” said Commissioner Stack. “The curve shows that hesitation hurts a lot so we have to act boldly and take significant steps. We have done that in Kentucky.”
Gov. Beshear on Tuesday announced new steps to address the crisis, including measures to help grocery workers and the nursing industry.
“We are expanding the child care options that we’ve been providing to our first responders and health care workers to our grocery store workers,” the Governor said. “We need them. We know our food supply is safe, but we need enough people that are there stocking the shelves day in and day out.”
Gov. Beshear also issued an order Tuesday allowing critical workforce sectors to rehire previously retired workers to fill key roles. The order, which last the duration of the state of emergency, applies to law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical service personnel, park rangers and corrections officers.
Gov. Beshear also praised the Kentucky Board of Nursing for working with officials to moderate enforcement of some training and licensing requirements during the emergency. Among the issues addressed by a new order from the Governor: It eases restrictions on nurses who live out of state and makes it quicker to obtain a license.
“Right now, it’s just us versus this virus,” the Governor said. “What we do every day matters. Let’s commit that we are going to do the things that it takes to make sure we don’t have a lot of days like this.”
As of 5 p.m. March 31, the Governor said there were 114 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Kentucky. There were seven new deaths reported Tuesday, raising the state’s toll to 18 deaths related to the virus.
Key recent updates
Out-of-state travel restricted
Gov. Beshear issued an order Monday restricting out-of-state travel by Kentuckians during the state of emergency. The decree allows for a range of exemptions, including travel to other states for work and groceries, to care for loved ones, to obtain health care and when required by a court order. Kentuckians arriving back in the commonwealth from out of state are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
10 Steps to Fight COVID-19
“Stay Healthy at Home” is the very first measure on a new 10-step plan to fight the coronavirus that Gov. Beshear unveiled Monday. The 10 Steps to Fight COVID-19 include tips on sanitation and social distancing as well as information for those seeking help with unemployment, mental health issues and health care benefits.
Federal disaster aid, CARES Act help Kentuckians
Gov. Beshear announced two moves by the federal government to help the commonwealth’s coronavirus response and recovery efforts. The Major Disaster Declaration issued by President Donald Trump broadens access to the Public Assistance Program statewide to pay for emergency protective services. And the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act provides a variety of assistance and hope to Kentuckians whose livelihoods have been harmed by the coronavirus outbreak and response. Among the provisions are a $600 raise to the maximum weekly benefit, an additional 13 weeks of coverage and expanded eligibility for unemployment insurance.
Team Kentucky Fund
Gov. Beshear, along with the Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet, took executive action to establish the Team Kentucky Fund, a GoFundMe-style online platform to provide financial help to Kentuckians whose employment is affected by the coronavirus. The Governor has challenged those who are able to help to make a tax-deductible donation to the fund. Monday, Gov. Beshear shared a video from University of Louisville head football Coach Scott Satterfield encouraging people to contribute to the fund and to do their part to stop the spread of the virus. Last week, University of Kentucky basketball Coach John Calipari urged people to help their neighbors.
Gov. Beshear announced the COVID-19 Reporting Hotline 833-KY SAFER (833-597-2337) for complaints about non-compliance with coronavirus mandates. Labor Cabinet personnel monitor the hotline from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET. Kentuckians can also visit the website kysafer.ky.gov to register complaints online.
To read about other key updates from Gov. Beshear visit the news section on governor.ky.gov.
Gov. Beshear has taken decisive action to protect all Kentuckians since the first case was confirmed in the commonwealth. To read the full list of actions Gov. Beshear has taken to protect Kentuckians and limit the spread of the coronavirus, visit governor.ky.gov/covid19.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages people to follow these steps to prevent illness. Kentuckians who want advice can call the state hotline at 800-722-5725 or call their local health care provider. To read Gov. Beshear’s news releases and watch other news regarding COVID-19 visit governor.ky.gov.
Each day at 5 p.m. ET, Gov. Beshear holds briefings for Kentuckians that are streamed online at his Facebook and YouTube pages.
Gov. Beshear continues to urge Kentuckians to be cautious of rumors and depend on proven and good sources of news, including governor.ky.gov, kycovid19.ky.gov and the Governor’s official social media accounts Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Team Kentucky hashtags for social media
#TeamKentucky, #TogetherKY, #Patriot and #HealthyAtHome.