Beshear announces new testing measures, 159 new cases in daily update

Cassady Lamb

Gov. Andy Beshear’s daily update included 159 new COVID-19 cases and seven reported deaths.

According to Beshear, There is now an ever growing increase in available COVID-19 testing and kits in the state, which means more people will be getting tested and begin treatment and self-isolation earlier than they would if the virus went unnoticed.

In two drive-thru testing center locations, the Kroger company was able to test over 400 people for COVID-19 on Wednesday alone.

202 people were tested at the Frankfort location, and 227 people were tested at the Kenton County location. The tests still hold a 48-hour-turnaround.

Four new Kroger testing centers will be opening next week. 

Site one will be in Madisonville, a town in Hopkins County, but the site will also test those from Christian County. Site two will be in Paducah and will be welcome to test anyone from the western Kentucky region. Site three will be in Somerset, and site four in Pikeville.

These testing centers will not just be serving those from their specific county, and will test those from other areas and regions around Kentucky.

Anyone who needs to get tested is asked to first register on the Kroger Health website.

Priority will be given to priority groups one, two and three as listed by the CDC

Priority one includes:

  • Currently hospitalized patients

  • Health care facility workers exhibiting symptoms related to COVID-19

Priority two includes:

  • People in long-term care facilities exhibiting symptoms

  • People 65 years or older exhibiting symptoms

  • People with underlying conditions exhibiting symptoms

  • First responders exhibiting symptoms

Priority three includes:

  • Critical infrastructure workers exhibiting symptoms

  • Anyone not fitting into priority categories exhibiting symptoms

  • First responders and healthcare facility workers

  • People with mild symptoms living in communities with a high rate of hospitalizations related to COVID-19

Sites will be opened from Tuesday to Thursday and are aimed to generate 1,000 tests a day between the four new centers.

300 people will be able to get tested per day at each location.

29,747 people have been tested for the coronavirus as of Thursday.

Beshear said he wants “no test to go unused.”

The way of testing at these centers is steering away from the norm. Self-administered nasal tests are how the sites will be testing those who believe they have COVID-19 or have come in contact with someone who does. Nurse practitioners will be on site at each location.

Gravity Diagnostics, a northern Kentucky-based lab, is reeling out 2,000 testing kits a day.

“I’ve been amazed at the private sector and the government coming together,” said Gravity Diagnostics CEO Tony Remington.

Gravity Diagnostics, Kroger, General Electric (GE) and First Build, an engineering community located at the University of Louisville, all came together to donate personal protective equipment, (PPE), to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Equipment that will not be used immediately will go to the state’s PPE stockpile and be handed out from there.

“We didn’t have one employee turn their back on this problem,” Remington said.

Low acuity facilities will be available April 19 to those who believe they have interacted with someone who has the virus or who believe have contracted it themselves.

These facilities will be located at Lake Barkley and Lake Cumberland and will feature security, WI-FI, television and three meals a day.

The facilities are not  for those who need severe medical assistance, but for those who are capable of taking care of themselves.

Kentucky’s census rates went up 50% from Wednesday to Thursday, and Beshear is urging the public to continue filling it out.

Beshear also urged the public to continue social distancing.

“If you engage in social distancing, you can stop people from dying,” Beshear said. “When we follow the rules and regulations, we come together, we save lives.”

In Kentucky, 477 patients are currently hospitalized, 333 are currently in intensive care units.

Warren County had the second highest amount of new reported cases Thursday, with 18, trailing behind Jefferson County’s 20.

A 10-month-old baby from Lincoln County was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Beshear offered his support for the infant and their family.

“Let’s make sure we lift them up in every way we can,” Beshear said.

Beshear announced tomorrow may be the highest surge of cases to date, with new data coming to light.

News reporter Cassady Lamb can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @lambp0p.