FRANKFORT – (KT) The number of deaths related to the coronavirus has topped the 300 mark in Kentucky with the total number of cases now standing at 6,440.

During his daily press briefing on Saturday, Gov. Andy Beshear reported 158 new cases and six deaths, four in Graves County and one each in Jefferson and Meade counties.

Beshear noted while the number of new cases has plateaued, even with greatly increased testing, it doesn’t mean COVID-19 is gone.

“It just means that we’re doing the right thing, and we’ve proven we’re doing the right thing and are saving lives,” he said. “Remember that COVID Act Now model? It’s still saying the difference between us following the rules, doing the right thing, and not, is about 21,000 lives here in Kentucky. So let’s keep it up, let’s be our brother and sister’s keeper.”

One aspect of next week’s gradual reopening of the healthcare industry for non-emergent services is a change in visitor policies.

“At the discretion and the policy of a hospital or health care facility, they can permit up to one visitor per patient,” said Dr. Steven Stack, Kentucky’s public health commissioner. “We never wanted to separate people from their loved ones, it was all a safety measure. But that will change on Wednesday.”

While Beshear announced Friday that restaurants can reopen at 33 percent of indoor capacity and unlimited outdoor seating on May 22, clubs and bars are not scheduled to open until July 1.

“The challenge is social distancing,” he said. “It’s really hard to see how that would work until we get to the point where you can have 50 or more people.”

Beshear continues to emphasize, “we’re not trying to be the fastest but the smartest, and ultimately doing this in a safe way.”

There was no briefing on Sunday due to Mother’s Day, but Beshear returns to his daily schedule at 4 p.m. Central time Monday.

(By Tom Latek, Kentucky Today) 

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