It’s Easter Sunday, but Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear is still keeping Kentuckians updated regarding the current state of the Bluegrass. He reinforced the idea that these next few weeks are critical for the state due to Coronavirus’ two-week timetable, and the state is doing its part to increase access to COVID-19 testing.
During Sunday evening’s briefing, Gov. Beshear announced Kentucky’s new partnership with Kroger in an effort that will test up to 20,000 people statewide over the next five weeks, which will nearly double Kentucky’s current number of tests. Kroger will be providing the medical staff, the personal protective equipment, and the patient signup portal required for the additional tests.
The state is also contracting with UPS and Gravity Diagnosis to provide a 48-hour turnaround for test results. One location is expected to open in Frankfort on Monday, while other locations are expected to open across the state within the next two weeks.
Each location will operate from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday-Thursday each week administering 250 daily tests for free. Each location will be providing self-administered swabs that are less invasive for the patient, preserve PPE for medical professions and increase the number of tests that can be administered daily.
These tests will be administered based on the CDC’s guidelines for tier 1 and tier 2 testing criteria, which are explained here:
Gov. Beshear also said increasing the nation’s ability to provide and process tests is essential to “re-opening” the Commonwealth and the rest of the nation. These additional tests provided by Kroger are helping the state take that step.
(Plus he referred to Kroger Field as Commonwealth Stadium, which deserves some respect).
He also provided the latest COVID-19 numbers. As of Sunday evening, there are 134 new cases in Kentucky. By county, there are 35 new cases in Adair (many of which have been reported from inside a nursing home), 30 in Jefferson, 15 in Fayette, 16 in Christian and Muhlenberg, five in Daviess, four in Jackson, three in Boone, Hopkins and Scott counties, two in Owsley, and one new case in a handful of other counties across the state. There are also additional unconfirmed cases.
Three new COVID-19 deaths have also been reported, bringing the state’s total up to 97 confirmed deaths. Gov. Beshear says he hopes the state will be lit green tonight in honor of these men and women our state lost on Easter.
In total, there have been 1,963 total positive test results (stemming from 25,866 total tests administered). 667 Kentuckians have spent time in the hospital, with 289 still receiving care. 256 Kentuckians have spent time in the ICU, and there are currently at least 136 still receiving care inside ICUs across the state. 607 Kentuckians have recovered from the disease.
Gov. Beshear also addressed one of the day’s biggest stories: mass gatherings at churches that still held in-person services for Easter. The Governor said he believes less than seven churches across the Bluegrass held such gatherings today. He thoroughly thanked the thousands of churches across the Bluegrass that did the patriotic thing and “proved your faith” by holding drive-in or virtual services to protect their members and others across the state.
However, Maryville Baptist Church in Hillview, Kentucky did hold service today. Gov. Beshear noted there are now reports coming in of at least two visitors who came to the service all the way from New Jersey, a state that recorded 3,000 new cases on Saturday alone. According to the Courier-Journal, Bevelyn Beatty and Edmee Chavannes traveled from New Jersey to Kentucky for the sole reason of attending the service. Another man, Seth Powell, came from Dayton, Ohio to “stand with these people.” They joined about 50 other worshipers in Bullitt County.
“From a video, they had two people who drove in from New Jersey who sat in that mass gathering with everybody else, from the state that may be the new epicenter. You might have brought all of that contact into Kentucky,” Beshear said. “If you’re in Bullitt County, how do you feel about that? You’ve made sacrifices. You worshiped virtually… And now, because of this open invitation, even on a special day like today, there could be thousands upon thousands upon thousands of more contacts.”
Any Kentuckian who attended an in-person service today will be expected to self-quarantine for 14 days, according to the Governor.
“None of this is about attacking faith,” Beshear said. “My son was supposed to be baptized today. He was sad about it, but he knows he’s protecting other people.”
“Love thy neighbor as thy self,” Beshear said earlier in the press conference. “That’s what we’re doing, and it’s our test of humanity. But it’s Easter, and I know we are going to pass it.”