Beshear announces new groups qualifying for unemployment, potential drive-thru testing

Beshear presser 3/24

Katelyn Latture

In his daily update, Gov. Andy Beshear announced the death of a fifth Kentuckian, a 75-year-old man from Jefferson County, and 35 new cases including one in Warren County, which brings the state total to 198 cases. 

The number of new cases was slightly less than new cases announced March 24, which Beshear said is a positive note. 

“The next two to possibly three weeks is going to be absolutely critical in our battle against the coronavirus,” Beshear said. “What we are seeing is an escalation across the country.”

In the new cases, Beshear said there was the first person who went on spring break and came back with COVID-19. 

“We can’t go on spring break,” Beshear said. 

Department for Public Health Commissioner Steven Stack encouraged anyone who did go on spring break to self-isolate and stay away from family members. 

Beshear reiterated the need and “patriotic duty” of Kentuckians to continue and increase social distancing, especially in the face of the increase in cases.

Beshear also said he expects to have the first drive-thru testing facility opened early next week, which he said he hopes to announce and confirm tomorrow. If the first facility works, Beshear said more facilities will be open toward the end of next week. 

Beshear encouraged Kentuckians to “be a model for humanity” by continuing and increasing social distancing. The website will also now serve as a place for people to ask questions related to COVID-19, as well as to report social distancing violations. 

In “good news,” Beshear announced independent contractors, substitute teachers, small business owners, gig economy workers, childcare workers from churches, cosmetologists or anyone who lost their job due to quarantine or paid leave can now qualify for unemployment in the state. 

Beshear said he knew his and other politicians’ decisions led to this unemployment, and he said he wanted all who qualified and were affected by these decisions to apply.

Features reporter Katelyn Latture can be reached at [email protected].