Gov. Andy Beshear on Sunday said there will be a need to crack down on those who continue to ignore guidance and gather in public without practicing social distancing if people continue to risk the lives of fellow Kentuckians and spread the novel coronavirus.
People can go out for groceries and supplies — and when practicing social distancing, for walks or other exercise in their neighborhood — but otherwise need to stay at home.
“You individually have more control during this crisis than probably ever before in our history,” Beshear said. “Your specific actions make a difference in how protected the population is. So remember, it is your patriotic duty as an American, your duty as a Kentuckian to stay healthy at home.”
Beshear said he will likely announce further steps to reduce gathering this week.
“It really shouldn’t take this,” he said of the need to take further action because some are being irresponsible.
The Governor is asking all Kentuckians to continue to fight the spread of the virus by following his 10-step guidance, which includes practicing social distancing and staying healthy at home. He said these efforts have the potential to save the lives of as many as 11,000 Kentuckians.
“Do not travel anywhere for any reason,” Gov. Beshear said.
The governor said social distancing is the key to blunting a surge in cases and urged Kentuckians not to let their guards down, even during the nice weather.
Steven Stack, commissioner for the Department for Public Health, said Kentucky’s increase in cases has been slower than almost all other states because Beshear took decisive action and most people are listening to the guidance and direction.
On Saturday, Beshear said Kentucky is adopting — on a voluntary basis — the new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending that people wear cloth masks in some situations.
The new CDC guidance on masks can be found here.
Stack said even with masks, people must remain six to 10 feet apart.
“Cloth masks do not eliminate the need for you to do all of the social distancing,” he said. “That’s what’s going to help us. The hand hygiene, the covering your cough and your sneeze, that’s what’s going to keep us healthy.”
As of 5 p.m. Sunday, Beshear said there were at least 955 cases in Kentucky, 38 of which were newly confirmed. Of those cases, at least 306 patients have recovered.
Officials have confirmed that at least 18,767 people have been tested, but the Governor said that the real number of tests (and results) likely is larger as there is some lag in reporting from different labs.
There were five new deaths reported Sunday, raising the state’s toll to 45 deaths related to the virus.
The Owensboro Health coronavirus hotline is available 24/7 by calling 877-888-6647. Call the hotline before seeking in-person care. More information from OH can be found here.
For the latest information and data on COVID-19 in Kentucky visit kycovid19.ky.gov or dial the Kentucky state hotline at 800-722-5725.
For the latest health guidelines and resources from the CDC, visit their website here.