FRANKFORT – On a day both the World Health Organization and the United States surgeon general issued predictions that novel coronavirus COVID-19 cases will escalate this week, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear had the duty of announcing the fourth death from the virus in the commonwealth.

Speaking Monday afternoon in his daily COVID-19 update at the Kentucky State Capitol, Beshear reported that an 82-year-old Lexington woman was reported as being that fourth death in Kentucky. Beshear said it appears underlying conditions contributed.

Beshear said 21 new cases were reported statewide since his Sunday press conference. Four of those were in western Kentucky, but none were in the Purchase Area. Three of the cases were in Daviess County, while one was in Warren County as the total state count rose to 124 confirmed cases.

“We are entering what will be tougher and tougher times,” the governor said. “We expected an escalation of this virus and we’re going to see it, but, like I’ve been saying each day, we will get through this and we will get through it together.

“This is game time. We’ve got to stand up and prove we can do it.”

In his updates, Beshear has been incorporating various social media images from throughout the commonwealth that show people, mainly children, adhering to suggested methods of social distancing, as well as a term that he has started using frequently, “healthy at home.” One of those Monday included a poignant image of Mayfield Mayor Kathy O’Nan from earlier in the day looking at her father through the window of a senior care facility.

They could not touch, despite Monday being her father’s 96th birthday.

“This mayor understands that we’re fighting for the life and health of her dad,” Beshear said, praising O’Nan for resisting the urge to enter her father’s room. “Imagine how tough this has to be. Imagine not being able to see your father on his 96th birthday. This is special.”

In addition, Beshear announced that Kentuckians can seek assistance from the United States Small Business Administration online, after that avenue had experienced problems earlier. He also said that claims adjudication is now available for workers of establishments with 50 or more workers, but who have had to lay off 15 workers because of so many businesses having to be closed. The Paducah office can be reached at 270-575-7000.

Also, Beshear announced the start of the new TEAMKENTUCKY fund that will allow residents to do their part online to help fellow residents who have lost their jobs and face uncertainty with bills and food. He also said that a Murray State University graduate, Kerry Harvey, a native of Benton, will oversee this fund with the state’s Public Protection Cabinet, where he serves as secretary.

No new closures were announced Monday, but Beshear reiterated that Kentucky grocery stores have enough supplies and will remain open. He said that when making trips to the store Kentuckians need to “buy for a week, not a month.”

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