FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 10, 2020) – On Friday, Gov. Andy Beshear re-emphasized the importance of wearing face coverings in many situations to protect Kentucky lives and our economy and to preserve the commonwealth’s hard-won but fragile progress in the fight against the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).
“The more people who wear masks, the more leaders who model wearing masks in any region of the state, the more people there are going to be safer, are going to have their economy reopen and be able to stay open, are more likely to be able to get their kids back in school and are less likely to lose people,” said Gov. Beshear. “Those who don’t follow the mask requirements and don’t model this, again, you’re just risking the lives, the economy and the schooling of the people in your community.”
On Thursday, the Governor issued a new executive order and today filed an emergency regulation requiring Kentuckians to wear face coverings under several circumstances for the next 30 days. The order went into effect at 5 p.m. today.
According to health experts, wearing face coverings not only protects others, it also lowers the infection risk for those wearing masks by 65%. The Governor also pointed to analysis from Goldman Sachs showing that if everyone in America was required to wear face coverings in public, it could save the U.S. economy from losing 5% of the Gross Domestic Product. Gov. Beshear noted that 5% of Kentucky’s Gross State Product alone is $10.4 billion.
Click here to read the executive order’s requirements and exemptions, which include children who are 5 or younger and anyone with a disability or a physical or mental impairment that prevents them from safely wearing a face covering.
Concern Regarding COVID-19 Spread in Day Cares
Today, the Governor reminded Kentuckians of how important it is that day cares follow all public health guidance to limit the spread of COVID-19, due to recent outbreaks at child care centers across the United States. For example, earlier this week, officials reported that at least 1,335 people in Texas tested positive for COVID-19 after contracting the virus at a child care center. The Governor said Kentucky has 22 child care center cases, 15 staff and seven children.
As of 4 p.m. July 10, Gov. Beshear said there were at least 18,670 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 426 of which were newly reported Friday. The Governor said today’s report included several young children.
“So today’s news also has some other tough parts in it,” said Gov. Beshear. “We’ve got a lot of kids under 5 years old in this report that have COVID-19. Folks, I have kids, and they’re older than this now but when they would get a fever, my heart would stop beating. I mean I would stop breathing when they were hurting. Whatever your reason is to wear a mask, this is a pretty good one.”
Unfortunately, Gov. Beshear reported eight new deaths Friday, raising the total to 620 Kentuckians lost to the virus.
The deaths reported Friday include a 68-year-old man from Clay County; an 88-year-old woman from Fayette County; an 89-year-old woman from Grant County; a 69-year-old man from Russell County; an 81-year-old woman from Shelby County; and two women, ages 78 and 79, and a 61-year-old man from Warren County.
“One of the concerns for the country, for all those states we showed earlier, is the death peak that follows the infection peak,” said Gov. Beshear. “I had hoped that we were past having to report these deaths every day, but unless we do what it takes, unless we follow the rules, I’m going to have to read a lot more of these. For anyone who says this thing only comes for really old people, first of all, we should want to protect them, too. But also, look, we’ve got three people only in their 60s that are on this list today.”
As of Friday, there have been at least 470,548 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. At least 5,258 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.
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.
Long-Term Care Update
Today, Gov. Beshear shared that Kentucky has had 72.9 long-term care resident COVID-19 cases per 1,000 residents and 19.2 COVID-19 deaths per 1,000 residents. While the commonwealth’s long-term care facilities, fortunately, have fared far better than those in many other states, Gov. Beshear said he was committed to protecting even more residents from contracting this disease.
“We’re doing pretty well comparatively at keeping cases and deaths down in long-term care facilities,” said Gov. Beshear. “That’s because we’ve done a good job of following the rules. Now, we’ve got to kick it up a notch. The people in these facilities are depending on us.”
Two hundred and eighty-three of 284 facilities have been fully tested. There have been 60,703 total molecular diagnostic COVID-19 tests performed in the state’s long-term care facilities. Kentucky was awarded $313,897 in Civil Monetary Penalty funds for meeting infection-control deadline in 100% of facilities. Those funds will be invested in tele-visitation technology at 224 facilities, allowing hundreds of Kentuckians more access to their loved ones.
“You want to know why we’ve got to step up our game? It’s because COVID-19 is stepping up its game,” said Gov. Beshear. “More people are testing positive, and it’s not just because of more tests. In fact, our COVID-19 test positivity rate, which is based on a seven-day average, two weeks ago was 2.47%, last week was 2.87% and this week is 4.5%. That shows you what’s happening. But we can address this.”