TOM LATEK |Kentucky Today
FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Gov. Andy Beshear said on Monday that additional reopening of the economy will start on May 11 and everyone will be required to wear masks.
Beshear said he will give more details on Wednesday about what businesses would be allowed to open.
Eighty-seven new cases of the coronavirus were reported to state health officials on Monday, along with five additional deaths. Kentucky has seen at least 4,146 cases and 213 deaths.
“The 87 is the lowest number I think we’ve had maybe even in a couple weeks,” he said. “We can’t read too much into that because of the weekend reporting, but unless we have a really large jump over the next couple days, on the average I think we have certainly plateaued. My hope is that very soon we will be headed into our decline.”
Beshear also gave an update on the Green River Correctional Complex, the state prison that has seen the most cases. Ten new cases were reported on Monday – three inmates and seven staff members. That brings the overall total to 71 cases; 43 inmates and 28 staff, along with two deaths.
Long-term care facilities such as nursing homes continue to be devastated by the virus. Nine new cases involving residents were reported on Monday, four to staff members, and three resident deaths. Since the pandemic began, there have been 619 cases involving residents of those facilities, 284 staff and 99 deaths – 98 residents and one staff member.
Beshear also repeated his pledge to take care of people who applied for unemployment in March but have seen no benefits.
He said more than 282,000 claims were filed in March, with 183,000 claims paid out thus far. “Tonight, 70,000 claims of people who applied in March, but haven’t received anything, are going to be paid out. (That’s) 70,000 Kentuckians who rightfully have been waiting and are getting impatient (and), you should be, these are March claims. That’s going to leave us with about 30,000 claims that we are going to resolve this week.”
Beshear said people filing fake claims have bogged down the system. “For instance, we had somebody apply for unemployment for Tupac Shakur,” a rapper who was shot to death in Las Vegas. His 1996 murder has never been solved.
“That person probably thought they were being funny,” Beshear said. “They probably did, except for the fact because of them, we’ve got to go through so many other claims. One person thinking they were funny using somebody else’s identity is going to make tens of thousands, potentially, of other people wait. We can’t be doing that.”
Beshear and Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack outlined the four phases of reopening medical services.
Phase one, which began on Monday, included resuming non-emergent/non-urgent outpatient healthcare services including diagnostic radiology and laboratory services. That includes ‘High-touch’ settings (e.g., physical therapy, chiropractic) with enhanced PPE including gloves and eye protection for direct patient manipulation. ‘High-aerosol’ settings (e.g., dentistry, oral surgery, anesthesia, pulmonary) with enhanced aerosol mitigation proposed by their professional associations.
Phase two, which will begin next Wednesday, May 6, allows Outpatient/ambulatory surgery and invasive procedures to resume, with several conditions:
–All patients must have COVID-19 pre-procedure testing per professional association guidelines consistent with KDPH guidance.
–Each facility must maintain a 14-day supply of all necessary PPE based on a projected 14-day burn rate for entire facility.
–Type and timing of cases determined by facility-specific procedure prioritization and oversight committee.
–For acute care hospitals, maintain at least 30% bed capacity, per facility surge plan, in both ICU and total beds for COVID-19 patients.
Under phase three, which will begin May 13, non-emergent/non-urgent inpatient surgery and procedures may resume at 50% of pre-COVID-19 shutdown volume, with the same conditions as phase two.
Finally, phase four, which begins May 27, states that non-emergent/non-urgent inpatient surgery and procedures may resume at volume determined by each facility.