GLASGOW — As part of his daily update Thursday on COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus identified last year, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear reported that the commonwealth had its largest single-day increase of cases yet, with a total of 248 — 50 more than the prior day.
He said no new deaths had occurred, leaving that total at five, but said he knew of at least one patient that may not make it another couple of days.
Barren River District Health Department announced Thursday afternoon that it was investigating a total of 15 cases of COVID-19 in the eight-county area it serves: Ten in Warren County, four in Simpson and one in Logan County. That was an increase of one from Wednesday, with the additional one being in Warren. The governor did not report any new ones in the 10-county Barren River Area on Thursday, but had mentioned one in Warren on Wednesday.
The numbers do not always match exactly with those provided through the governor due to different sources reporting confirmations at different times, he has explained.
The other counties the district health department serves include Barren, Metcalfe and Hart, for which no cases have been reported, but the governor has said multiple times, and repeated on Thursday, “At this point, it’s in every community …, and everybody needs to act like they are a carrier of it.”
Beshear said he starts his appearance each day by saying the same thing, but this time he wanted “all of you out there” to join him in repeating it, acknowledging “it may seem hokey.”
“Say it with me: ‘We will get through this. We will get through this together,’” the governor said, reciting it again.
He emphasized again that the next two to three weeks “are going to be absolutely critical in battling the virus in keeping the climbing number of new cases relatively flat as opposed to having a sharp upward trend that would overwhelm the health care system.
“We need everybody’s best, everybody’s best, even better than we’ve gotten,” he said, adding that he’s been very proud to be “your governor” and seeing the sacrifices being made.
He said anyone driving over state lines to places where there are fewer restrictions and proceeds to have all the contacts Kentucky has tried to stop in order to limit spreading the virus are frustrating the sacrifices of their own communities, and he said that should stop.
“The health and the lives of numerous Kentuckians are depending on it; I’m counting on you, but I also believe in you,” Beshear said.
The other primary emphasis from Thursday was that he was asking county judges-executive and mayors to “very closely monitor” parks and other public areas, like basketball courts, and shut them down if necessary to prevent close contacts among people. He said he has received a couple of reports of large gatherings at campgrounds, “and we can’t let that happen,” so he gave the directors of state parks the same authority to take the necessary actions there.
Beshear had announced the plan Wednesday to have the first drive-through testing program available in one location next week, and he had intended to provide more details Thursday but said he needed another day or two before he could do that. He added later in response to a question that it would still be limited to two main categories of people: First responders and other health care workers, “those who are knowingly exposing themselves to the virus” to do their work caring for others, and the people who are in the most vulnerable groups and/or showing symptoms.
He had mentioned Wednesday that two more such locations could follow soon thereafter, depending on how the first one goes.