Beshear announces 171 new cases of COVID-19, 5 new deaths

Michael J. Collins

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced 171 new cases of coronavirus and five new deaths in his daily update on Saturday. A total of 3,905 cases and 205 deaths have been confirmed in-state.

Beshear reminded listeners that despite infection rates declining, quarantine still plays a vital role in containment. Despite this, protesters chanting “let us work” gathered outside the address room demanding an end to Beshear’s quarantine order.

“Our goal here has to be to do this right,” Beshear said. “If we don’t do this right and we have a second spike, we end up with more economic damage than we do if we simply hurry up and try to adjust.”

Beshear said the decision to open the state back up rests on a number of benchmarks, ranging from the status of vaccine development, testing and protective gear stockpiles and the rate of new infections.

“While I hope to find out that [new infections] are on the decline, we have to make these decisions right,” Beshear said.

Beshear said as of Monday, Kentucky will have 11 separate areas where people can receive drive-thru testing for the disease, including Louisville, Lexington and Bowling Green. Beshear said he anticipates more testing locations will open in the coming weeks as tests become more available.

“This is a big increase in our testing capacity and availability and in fact, since we have opened up our Kroger sites to anyone and everyone who wants a test, we have seen very significant demand,” Beshear said.

A number of pharmacies including Walgreens, Kroger and Walmart have begun offering drive-thru tests while the state struggles to pull together materials such as test kits and PPE.

“In the state, we continue to do better [at collecting PPE],” Beshear said. “This is really important in our hospitals, making sure that they have stockpiled enough in case we get a surge or a second wave. It’s also going to be important for our businesses.”

Beshear said that a lack of PPE could mean extending the time in which businesses must remain closed as employees must be given proper protection before reopening.

If you have PPE to donate, you can call 833-GIVE-PPE (833-448-3773) or go to Kentucky.gov.

News reporter Michael J. Collins can be reached at [email protected] Follow Michael on Twitter at @NotMichaelJColl.