FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 28, 2020) – As Kentuckians take the first steps toward restarting our economy, Gov. Andy Beshear on Tuesday shared new guidelines to help businesses reopen safely as we fight the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).
The Governor unveiled a new, 10-point plan that aims to guide businesses as they prepare for a gradual reopening while continuing to keep all workers and patrons safe. He said the guidelines apply to most employers.
“There are things that are similar to all businesses. These are things that are in the White House’s plan for reopening. And just like we talk about 10 steps for defeating the coronavirus, I want to talk about 10 steps for Healthy at Work,” Gov. Beshear said.
This week, Kentucky began the phased reopening of health care services as the first step under Gov. Beshear’s Healthy at Work initiative, which set out public health benchmarks for reopening Kentucky’s economy. These benchmarks closely follow the White House’s Guidelines for Reopening America.
The 10 rules to reopening a business under the Healthy at Work plan are:
- Continue telework where possible
- Phased return to work
- Onsite temperature/health checks
- Universal masks and other necessary PPE
- Close common areas
- Enforce social distancing
- Limit face-to-face meetings
- Sanitizer/hand wash stations
- Special accommodations
- Testing plan
Gov. Beshear praised the partnerships and personal efforts that are expanding Kentucky’s capacity to expand testing throughout the commonwealth. The Governor highlighted new testing options in Oldham and Mason counties.
The Oldham County Health Department is asking everyone to register for testing there through its website, and Buffalo Trace District Health Department asks those seeking tests to call 606-564-9447.
“This is the most testing we’ve had in Kentucky at any point, and it’s growing,” the Governor said. “People are taking advantage of these testing sites, and they need to keep taking advantage of these.”
Gov. Beshear is urging Kentuckians to fill up all available testing slots at multiple sites throughout the commonwealth. Anyone can now sign up for the free COVID-19 testing. For the latest information on drive-through testing, visit kycovid19.ky.gov.
Gov. Beshear played a video Tuesday showing an easy way for everyone to make a cloth mask. The Governor said that by May 11, everybody working for or visiting an essential business that is reopening should be wearing a mask.
“This isn’t something you can be fined for, and again no one is going to be arrested for not wearing a mask,” the Governor said. “But should you if you’re going to the grocery store? Yes. Think about it: None of us knows if we are infected but asymptomatic with this virus. This protects you and other people.”
He said every Kentuckian should wear a mask when going to the grocery, into any place of business or any place where social distancing of keeping at least six-feet apart might be broken.
Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner for the Department for Public Health, displayed a variety of available mask designs and showed proper use.
“When you wear these, it has to cover your nose and go beneath your mouth,” Dr. Stack said. “Ideally, it also should go below your chin.”
Gov. Beshear provided an update on the state’s efforts to work through an unprecedented number of unemployment insurance claims. He said nearly 174,000 claims have been paid out totaling more than $173 million.
However, he noted that about 37,000 claims from March remain unprocessed. The Governor said a variety of issues were causing the delays, including employer separation and identity verification issues.
“There have been significant steps taken, but we want to get through everything from March this week,” Gov. Beshear said.
As of 5 p.m. April 28, Gov. Beshear said there were at least 4,375 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 230 of which were newly confirmed.
Unfortunately, Gov. Beshear also reported 12 new deaths Tuesday, raising the state’s toll to 225 deaths related to the virus. Today’s totals for cases and deaths include one that is being listed as a “probable case” pending more investigation.
The deaths include a 75-year-old man from Adair County; two women, ages 77 and 85, from Campbell County; two women, ages 71 and 84, from Graves County; a 55-year-old woman and a 69-year-old man from Jefferson County; two women, ages 89 and 92, and two men, ages 77 and 89, from Kenton County; and a 72-year-old woman from Russell County.
“That’s a lot of Kentuckians to lose in a day, even to something this deadly,” the Governor said. He urged everyone to remember the families who are grieving by lighting up houses and business with green lights, the color of compassion and renewal.
Gov. Beshear also talked about the death of Lillian Press, who with her husband, Leonard, helped create Kentucky Educational Television among many other initiatives. The Governor noted with grief that Lillian Press, who died out of state on Sunday night, was a personal friend of his who had a great, positive influence on his life.
“She was 95 years old, but let me tell you: she was healthy, she was sharp,” the Governor said. “She’s really special and she had more years that she should have been able to give to us.”
He noted that Lillian Press organized and directed the Governor’s Scholarship Program.
“More than a decade after she made it happen, it was something that changed my life, that changed the course of how I felt about myself and how I interacted with others,” Gov. Beshear said. “She did get to see the first person who graduated from the Governor’s Scholar Program become a governor. I’m very proud of that, and I know she was too, because I had an opportunity to talk to her after the election.”
At least 1,617 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.
“That is a real positive. We love every time somebody moves to the recovered column,” Gov. Beshear said.
For additional information, including up-to-date lists of positive cases and deaths, as well as breakdowns of coronavirus infections by county, race and ethnicity click here.
Read about other key updates, actions and information from Gov. Beshear and his administration at governor.ky.gov, kycovid19.ky.gov and the Governor’s official social media accounts Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Kentuckians can also access translated COVID-19 information and daily summaries of the Governor’s news conference at tinyurl.com/kygovespanol (Spanish) and tinyurl.com/kygovtranslations (more than 20 additional languages).