FRANKFORT — Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has told citizens to expect higher numbers of COVID-19 cases to be reported every day, and that was realized in a big way Tuesday.
Speaking during his daily COVID-19 update from the Kentucky State Capitol Tuesday afternoon, Beshear said 39 new cases were reported since Monday, marking easily the highest number of new cases in a single day since the pandemic began. That sent the number of total cases in the commonwealth to 163 as the number continued a sharp incline; a week ago, those numbers were only in the 20s.
Of those new cases, four were reported in far-western Kentucky, with two in McCracken County, one in Christian County and another two in Muhlenberg County. So far, three cases have been reported in the Purchase Area, with the two McCracken cases from Tuesday and a Calloway County case from Friday accounting for those.
However, in reporting the new cases, Beshear said that one of those new positive tests for the coronavirus included one that he admitted made him angry. This was the report that a person who attended what was billed as a “coronavirus party” tested positive for the illness at a time the governor had been strongly advising Kentuckians to practice social distancing.
“I’m the person to tell everyone to remain calm, but I’m having to remain calm myself,” Beshear said. “This is somebody else’s loved one they’re going to hurt.
“Don’t be so callous as to intentionally expose yourself to something that could kill other people! We owe each other a duty to protect each other.
“This is one that I hope to never have to report on again and it’s something nobody should be dong across the commonwealth.”
Monday, Beshear reported a second case in Kentucky in which someone who had tested positive for COVID-19 had to be supervised by law enforcement in adhering to self-quarantine inside a residence. This was reported in Jefferson County. The earlier case was in Nelson County.
However, as is the case every day, Beshear added several pieces of positive news to the mix. One was that multiple industries, namely food establishments and bourbon distilleries, have been creating hand sanitizer that will be used primarily in hospitals and by first responders. He also said that starting today, state workers will be making themselves available to provide badly-needed extra hands in food banks throughout the state.
Particularly pleasing to the governor, though, was news that an unidentified individual had come to a Kentucky facility and donated 4,000 COVID-19 testing swabs.
“Whoever you were, thank you very much,” he said.
A new directive was revealed Tuesday, and that is that all non-life sustaining businesses are to close at 8 p.m. Thursday.
However, this does not include grocery stores, supermarkets, specialty food stores, beer, wine and liquor stores, banks and other financial services, pharmacies and drug stores, gas stations/convenience stores, pet and pet supply stores, automotive stores, car rental businesses and hardware stores. It also does not include manufacturing businesses to life-sustaining goods, federal critical infrastructure, media and businesses for transportation, as well as home-base care and professional services, specifically attorneys, accountants and realtors.
“However, I need to let you know that, having been in one of those professional services (attorney), a lot of that can be done over the phone,” Beshear said.
On Monday, he clarified that an earlier declaration that automobile dealerships be closed was amended to say that such businesses can stay open, provided they do business entirely online. Restaurants can remain open but only with a takeout, drive-through or curbside method.
Beshear continued to emphasize the need for Kentuckians to resist the urge to visit with friends and loved ones at this time because that is seen as a way to stop the spread of the virus. He also encouraged Kentucky churches, ordered to not meet because of the need for social distancing, to ring their bells every morning at 10.
He also emphasized that anyone who sees social distancing not being observed can call 1-833-KYSAFER. He said Tuesday that more than 2,000 calls were received Monday, although he cautioned that not all of those calls resulted in actual violations being discovered.