Beshear announces 134 new COVID-19 cases, emphasizes impact on long term care facilities

Max Chambers

In his daily 4 p.m. update Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced 134 new cases of coronavirus in the state and 6 deaths, marking an increase to 1,452 cases. At least three of those deaths came from long-term care facilities.

Beshear also announced that 2,170 coronavirus tests have been administered, 228 people are currently hospitalized and 105 people are currently in intensive care units across Kentucky.

“Let’s think about those 105 people, and let’s be grateful and thankful for those people helping them,” Beshear said.

Beshear said that many of the new cases came from long-term care facilities. 32 residents and 13 staff members have tested positive since yesterday, and three residents of these facilities are included in today’s new deaths.

Steven Stack, Department for Public Health commissioner, mentioned two long term care facilities that were hard-hit: River’s Bend Assisted Living in Lyon County and Treyton Oaks Towers in Louisville. Stack said he was part of a task force that addressed coronavirus cases in these facilities.

River’s Bend responded to their cases by calling in four medical students to assist in caring for residents. Treyton Oaks had 18 residents with coronavirus evacuated by National Guard and Louisville Fire Department personnel to a local hospital. Stack said these measures will not work for all facilities.

“We are working as hard as we can to find solutions for the entire commonwealth,” Stack said.

Green River Correctional Complex also saw two new cases, one inmate and one staff member, and Western State Hospital had three new staff members test positive.

Beshear once again said Kentuckians should not gather for religious holidays taking place this week. He noted one example of a revival in Hopkins County that had resulted in 54 coronavirus cases and six deaths. Beshear also showed a video of several religious leaders encouraging people to stay home this weekend.

“It’s very important that we worship at home,” Beshear said. “Don’t frustrate the sacrifices of so many others.”

Josh Benton, Educational and Workforce Development Cabinet deputy secretary, announced record-high numbers of calls to his office. He said an average of 83,416 people call for assistance in getting unemployment benefits every day, and 208,824 Kentuckians have been paid as of April 9. Also starting April 9, an additional $600 check will be sent to those receiving unemployment benefits — people will now receive $1,200 every two weeks.

A new executive order announced by Chief of Staff LaTasha Buckner allows new categories of employees to apply for temporary total disability payments if they are under mandatory quarantine. These new categories include childcare workers, grocery store employees, postal service workers, domestic violence shelter workers, child advocacy workers, rape crisis workers, active National Guard members, military officers and social workers.

Beshear also announced the closing of Natural Bridge State Resort Park and Cumberland Falls State Resort Park to all visitors. This is to stop the public gatherings that had been taking place there.

“I think I am the luckiest governor in this country because of what you’ve been willing to do and how you’ve absorbed it as our collective duty,” Beshear said.

Copy Desk Chief Max Chambers can be reached at [email protected]. Follow them on Twitter at @chambers_max_e.