Apr 5, 2020
Gov. Andy Beshear Kentucky COVID-19 Transcript April 5
Governor Andy Beshear of Kentucky held a press briefing on coronavirus on April 5, 2020. Read the full transcript of his update speech.
What is Rev?
Governor Andy Beshear: (03:50)
All right. It’s 5:00, the time we get together every single day. We talk about the coronavirus but mainly we recommit each and every day to doing what it takes to protect so many Kentuckians, so many that live around us to make sure that we not only get through this but we make sure we protect each other while we do it. So let’s start the way that we always start by knowing and saying that, we will get through this, we will get through this together. So say it with me, we will get through this, we will get through this together. And the one last time, we will get through this, we will get through this together.
Governor Andy Beshear: (04:35)
And let me say that while it has been a beautiful weekend and while we have had different reports, whether it’s from stores to the rest, we believe that folks have done a lot better than what we saw last weekend on our social distancing. And we’ll show the projections again that we shown the last couple days. But how we do on our social distancing is the difference in the number of lives that we can save as we go through this coronavirus. Remember, while it doesn’t feel it that you, you individually have more control during this crisis than probably ever before in our history that your specific actions make a difference in how protected the rest of the population is.
Governor Andy Beshear: (05:26)
So, remember it is your patriotic duty as an American, your duty as a Kentuckian to stay healthy at home. The way we’re going to defeat this coronavirus is through the 10 steps that we talk about at the start each and every day. Number one, stay healthy at home. Unless you’re going to work or unless you are getting exercise, you should be at home. When you’re getting exercise, when you’re taking that walk and we want you to do that because we want you to be mentally, physically and emotionally healthy as we go through this, make sure you maintain your social distancing which is number three.
Governor Andy Beshear: (06:05)
But social distancing is not an excuse for being healthy at home. We can’t try to have a party where everybody is six feet apart, that does not work. Number one, stay home, be healthy at home. Number two, when you’re out getting exercise, if you’re coming past somebody be six feet apart. That’s where social distancing comes in. If you have to go out and get supplies which we understand, make sure again that you are six feet apart. Social distancing isn’t an excuse not to be at home, it’s what to do when you can’t be at home to make sure you are reducing your contacts. Avoid crowds and gatherings. Absolutely no exceptions.
Governor Andy Beshear: (06:47)
We’re going to have to start cracking down a little bit more on those that are willfully denying or willfully refusing to comply with this. What that means is that they spread the coronavirus and what ultimately happens with that is more people die. I wish that there weren’t people out there that were willing to make decisions knowing that, that will happen and we’re going to have to make sure that we lessen those opportunities. But remember it’s incumbent on you too, if you are pulling up at a store, if you are going out for a run and there is a big crowd there, go back home. Find another way to do it. Make good decisions that protect yourself from getting the coronavirus but also acting like we all have it making sure that you’re not spreading it.
Governor Andy Beshear: (07:33)
Know when to seek care and let’s throw that slide up too. This is going to become more and more and more important every day as we continue to see an escalation of cases. We’ve got to make sure that we have enough healthcare capacity for those that are truly sick with the coronavirus. So if you are healthy but nervous, maybe going through seasonal allergies, call the coronavirus hotline. Don’t go to a facility, don’t overwhelm our healthcare capacity. If you are sick but would have not otherwise sought care, call your primary care physician or another provider, don’t go in, call them. And everything you can do by Telehealth you should be doing by Telehealth. What that means is you get to talk to that doctor, nurse practitioner, whoever you need to talk to. They can hopefully meet your needs and you don’t have to go to a facility that most likely the coronavirus is at. Make sure you use Telehealth. But number three, if you are really sick, you need care, get the care. If you are injured, get the care that you need.
Governor Andy Beshear: (08:40)
All right. Number five, kycovid19.ky.gov, that as always is the number one source for information both on our number of positive cases, unfortunately our number of those that have passed away, but more importantly guidance. Like the new guidance from the CDC that we’ve gone through and now put up Kentucky’s version of that guidance on wearing a cloth mask in public. That’s some of the newest guidance that’s up there. Make sure you go to that website.
Governor Andy Beshear: (09:11)
Washing your hands and disinfecting surfaces. We talk about it every day. It is that critical. Don’t cheat on the amount of time you take to wash your hands. If you don’t wash them for 20 seconds, it doesn’t count. And continue to monitor your kids. I have a nine and a 10 year old, I know exactly what that’s like to make sure they’re doing it too.
Governor Andy Beshear: (09:32)
Apply for benefits. We are working every day to process more and more benefits. Remember be patient with us, but we are getting more positive results for people out every day than we ever have in our history. That is unemployment, that is Medicaid. Make sure that you have the dollars that are out there to get by and we need everyone to have healthcare coverage. That is important for you but it’s also important for the hospitals and other healthcare systems that are going to help us get through this. Everybody who is covered, everybody who is on Medicaid, it will provide dollars to those systems that helps them expand by that PPE that we talk about. Do all of those critical things. So make sure that you are on Medicaid if you qualify. Prioritize your mental health.
Governor Andy Beshear: (10:20)
We know we’re going to be at this all through April and folks right now, it looks like we’re projecting a peak in potentially early May so we’ve got to be ready to do this as long as it takes. And it doesn’t mean forever. As opposed to other challenges that other generations have faced we know it’s not years, right? It’s months. We just can’t tell you exactly how many. So let’s be strong enough. Let’s be ready for it. Let’s remember that all we’re being asked to do is to stay home to limit contacts and yes, a number of sacrifices for our small businesses and our individuals that are not going to work. But this is how we meet the challenge of our times and I need you to be mentally and emotionally healthy and strong enough to stick with this as long as it takes.
Governor Andy Beshear: (11:08)
Do not travel anywhere for any reason. If you need to go out and get supplies, that’s one thing. If you’re going out to get exercise, that’s another thing. Don’t travel to another state. Remember that if you do and you come back, it’s a 14 day quarantine. If you’re from another state and you’re coming in here, that is a 14 day quarantine. Unless you’re in one of the three or four exceptions that are work, caring for a loved one, a court order or if your closest grocery store is right over the border. But do not travel.
Governor Andy Beshear: (11:42)
And finally I’ll report noncompliance. We have the number up there. We need to create that positive social pressure to make sure that we are all doing our part. We’ve told a number of examples of just one public gathering and how many cases it can create and how many deaths that it can create. Every time people refuse to follow these instructions and get a big group of people together, unquestionably the coronavirus spreads and unquestionably the death toll goes up. So that line helps to create the positive social pressure that we want.
Governor Andy Beshear: (12:21)
We always talk about the 10 steps plus one. It is also your patriotic duty to fill out the census. It’s important. You’re healthy at home, you have time to fill out the census. As we rebuild our economy which we will as we come out of this, this is going to dictate the number of federal dollars we get for so many programs. It is really important. Before all of this had happened I would have said that this is a big key to changing where we fall in the different rankings that are out there and how we do better on so many to have the extra dollars that we need to do it. Now it’s going to be more important than ever in how we rebuild. So make sure you fill out your census.
Governor Andy Beshear: (13:05)
We’ve also been asking everyone to model the type of behavior that we want to see and we’re actually going to show you some graphs here in a minute. You are doing a great job. It doesn’t mean we don’t need more people to make sure they’re following the recommendations. But I know one of the reasons we have more and more and more people engaged in social distancing and staying healthy at home is because you all have filled up social media with the positive examples of what we need people to do. So we’re going to show those today like we do every day. Here are the hashtags, if we can go back to the hashtags. So I jumped in front of James that time, that one’s on.
Governor Andy Beshear: (13:47)
#TeamKentucky, #TogetherKentucky, #TogetherKy, #Patriot and #HealthyAtHome. And let me tell you that these have been pretty special. I will tell you and times are hard for me when we’ve had days where we’ve had more death than I ever thought that I would have to announce. Seeing the positivity that you all are putting out there is really special. And it’s shown me what I believe that right now there aren’t Democrats, Republicans or Independents, they’re only Kentuckians and Americans versus the coronavirus. And you show it every day on social media. So let’s take a look.
Governor Andy Beshear: (14:23)
We are seeing almost a revival in chalk art out there all over the place. I will tell you, somebody left me one of the nicest messages they could on my way from the mansion over here to the capitol. It Made me smile, it made me more committed than ever. And we’re seeing it all over and look at this, not only talking about we will get through this together, but actually drawing who our heroes truly are right now. Those frontline health care workers. That’s really special. Thank you Jaylen. All right. Again, it’s a tough time. It’s a time where we have a lot of anxiety but it’s also a time where if we are lucky enough to be in a stable home and we can spend probably more time with our kids than we ever thought was imaginable. And here’s just that moment where we can try to look at what positives we can take out of this. And this one is Mos after dinner.
Governor Andy Beshear: (15:38)
Here is Lexington city center lit up green to honor those that we’ve lost and just sending a very positive message that’s out there. The other night when instead of posting a picture of the capitol or the governor’s mansion, we posted photos of your houses, of everybody out there who’s doing it. And we probably posted five but then the number of pictures that came in from all over Kentucky of people doing that, showing the color of compassion, it’s truly special. It shows that I’m not just saying it, we all feel it, that we are all in this together. So keep doing it. Every day we lose somebody let’s make sure that there are more houses, more facilities that are lit up. It reminds us that we are not alone and it’s why we ring those bells every morning at 10: 00 AM.
Governor Andy Beshear: (16:36)
Admittedly, I just liked this one, right? Being healthy at home doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy and certainly doesn’t mean that our kids can’t. And our kids through this, I mean they’re suffering from anxiety too. And there’ve been moments and conversations that I’ve had with my kids that I never thought that I would, but they are so resilient. They don’t feel sorry for themselves, they make the best out of the situation. And when we’re healthy at home that’s what we need to be able to do too.
Governor Andy Beshear: (17:07)
All right. And this is in Pikeville. Sam took the time in his day to make sure that everybody walking through was seeing a little bit of team Kentucky too, which you can see as you look through there. Just need to see all our communities coming together and everybody trying to find a way no matter what they do, to just try to find some way to connect, to be a part, do their part to lift people up, to encourage the type of social distancing that we need. And we appreciate every single bit of it. We now have a special video. It’s from our Lieutenant governor. Lieutenant governor Coleman has been instrumental especially in our team Kentucky fund. She’s been out there working hard to try to raise dollars that we’re going to be able to help those that have been harmed through this crisis. And here’s the message from her.
Lieutenant Governor Coleman: (18:03)
Governor Andy Beshear: (18:03)
And here’s the message from her.
Jacqueline Coleman: (18:03)
Hello Team Kentucky. As much as I have wanted to be with you at the press briefings, as you can see, I’ve been a little bit busy. But Governor Beshear has done a great job of communicating with Kentuckians every day during this crisis. And can we get a shout out for Team Kentucky’s favorite, Virginia Moore.
Jacqueline Coleman: (18:21)
Josh Benton, the deputy secretary at Education and Workforce Development cabinet share with you how the unprecedented amount of unemployment insurance claims have taxed our phone and online systems. As cabinet secretary, I want you to know I get how frustrating it is when you have trouble getting through to us. Our team is working diligently to fix the problems that you’re having. We now have a revamped website. It’s mobile friendly and it focuses on giving you all the pertinent information that you need about unemployment insurance.
Jacqueline Coleman: (18:50)
I encourage you to visit kcc.ky.gov if you have any questions about unemployment insurance, chances are you can easily find what you need there. If that doesn’t work, call the regional center that is located nearest to your home.
Jacqueline Coleman: (19:06)
I promise you we are working hard to make sure you get all the benefits that you deserve. We have over 300 state workers from several different cabinets and the governor’s office that have volunteered to help us get the unemployment system right. That all hands on deck attitude is team Kentucky at its best and it’s indicative of what’s happening all across our Commonwealth.
Jacqueline Coleman: (19:27)
Secondly, I’m happy that Governor Beshear has asked me to spearhead the efforts of the Team Kentucky Fund. As you know, Governor Beshear created the Team Kentucky Fund to provide financial assistance to Kentuckians whose employment has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Donations are tax deductible and 100% of the funds will go directly to help our fellow Kentuckians. To ensure transparency, we ask the public protection cabinet to oversee the fund. The PPC works every day to make sure that you are treated fairly by banks, insurance companies and landlords.
Jacqueline Coleman: (20:05)
I’m really excited about some of the announcements that we have come and seen. A few of our more notable Kentuckians have signed on to help us and soon I will get to tell you who the co-chairs for this fund will be.
Jacqueline Coleman: (20:17)
If you want to make a gift, visit donate.ky.Gov today and make sure that you tell all of your friends about the Team Kentucky Fund on social media by using #GIVE19KY. Every gift from $19 to $1 million will help Kentucky means get back on their feet.
Jacqueline Coleman: (20:36)
I look forward to sending videos just like this one a couple times a week to keep you updated on the important work that we’re doing for Kentuckians and share examples of the famous Team Kentucky spirit. Remember, we are all in this together and we are all a part of Team Kentucky.
Governor Andy Beshear: (20:56)
So that actually started out not just with the Lieutenant governor, but with baby Evelyn who made a great appearance and I will tell you that as we have dealt with this coronavirus, it’s even made us think about how we go about our day. We actually make sure that Lieutenant governor and I are in different places. I’m still working out of the Capitol here and it’s important from continuity of government and ensuring that we’re doing everything we can that the Lieutenant governor works separately.
Governor Andy Beshear: (21:28)
She is a part of everything we do and I couldn’t be luckier to have a partner in governing like Jacqueline Coleman.
Governor Andy Beshear: (21:36)
All right. So we have talked about how critical the next couple of weeks and certainly this month are and we have shown you some projections and we’ll continue to provide new and different ones to show you just how critical this is. But it’s really important since we started this two days ago to remind you some of the numbers that are out there.
Governor Andy Beshear: (21:56)
Let’s start with the White House numbers for Kentucky and this is adjusting what they have shown to Kentucky. And this is just based on a population. If you took in more factors and it’s hard to know exactly what they do, the numbers could be different given our level of number of people that are more vulnerable to this disease. When you think about who is most vulnerable, people with heart, lung and kidney disease. We have one of the highest rates of diabetes and lung cancer and heart disease in the country.
Governor Andy Beshear: (22:27)
So that that means what we do, how we social distance, how we make sure we increase our healthcare capacity is that much more important. So again what the White House said and we are already past the no intervention. We acted fast and I think there’s some graphs that can show that. But they said without intervention if we do, and this is some pretty strict I believe social distance thing, you could see that they estimated that we would have between 1,300 and 3,200 deaths.
Governor Andy Beshear: (22:56)
And let me just point out that’s a big spread. Those are Kentuckians. If those numbers are accurate, how well we do there, how well we do there is the difference in almost 2,000 Kentuckians. That is worth sacrificing for. It’s worth given up a trip to the hardware store. That is worth everything that we are doing and sacrificing to make sure that those folks are still with us.
Governor Andy Beshear: (23:24)
Now let’s look at Covid Act Now. This is from Covid Act Now. Again, their numbers are a little bit higher. And we internally believe that the White House’s numbers are more on the optimistic side that we saw. We certainly hope that we ended up with the most optimistic scenario. But our job is to present all of them. So what Covid Act Now said is with… Go ahead and show the last one James. Is it depends. It depends on the job that we do.
Governor Andy Beshear: (23:56)
And we talk about the three areas that we can address this virus with. And it’s social distancing, it’s increasing our healthcare capacity and it’s testing. But social distancing, it’s the one that we fully control. So one that we ask Kentuckians every single one of us can be a part of, and we’ve shown this. The difference between us doing this well, being healthy at home, staying away from one another, making sure we don’t spread the virus. Making sure that we all comply could be the difference here in 11,000 Kentuckians. And whether or not they are here with us this Christmas.
Governor Andy Beshear: (24:40)
Easter’s coming up. It is a special day for me. Christmas will be the time when we know if we have those 11,000 Kentuckians with us or not. So again, let’s remember, these are real people. These are real families. They’re all around us and we cannot, we cannot allow 11,000 extra people to die because we couldn’t follow the rules well enough. So let’s make sure we recommit and we do our part.
Governor Andy Beshear: (25:14)
So that’s what we have to talk about every day. We have to make sure that people are complying. But let me say there is already I think a couple of ways to show that you are doing a good job that we always need to do better. James, let’s start with the influenza. I know we’ve got two new ones to show.
Governor Andy Beshear: (25:34)
So influenza spreads at least similarly if not very similar like in just the form that it would spread, in that social distancing should decrease the number of flu cases if you’re doing it, and it is. What we are seeing is cases of the flu are going down significantly in Kentucky. That shows we have taken aggressive action. That shows that we are making an impact, and while we don’t know, because everybody is still just modeling, guessing, trying to do the best they can on the number of cases of coronavirus that we’ll have. This shows that what we’re doing will absolutely reduce them, but we got to reduce them more, right? We’ve got to do more than we ever would if we were just talking about the flu.
Governor Andy Beshear: (26:23)
And we’ve got a couple of graphs today that show how Kentucky is doing as opposed to a couple of other States. Let’s throw them up and then I know Dr. Stack wants to comment on them too.
Governor Andy Beshear: (26:36)
All right, so this is showing… And yes, there are different numbers of tests that are out there, but there is also the escalation overall of different States compared to each other. Now this is showing us Kentucky versus a number of other States. You see New York and what they’re going through and we got to make sure that that doesn’t happen here. At the same time we should be thinking about our brothers and sisters in New York and praying for them as well.
Governor Andy Beshear: (27:06)
You see New Jersey, Louisiana especially what happened there. Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and others. And if you look at where we are at the moment folks, it shows that we are working really hard. And it’s not just the overall number of cases, but if you look at the escalation for us in terms right now it is not as significant or as severe as in other States. And we’ve got to make sure that it doesn’t get there.
Governor Andy Beshear: (27:36)
Some might argue that others are just peeking or getting close to it or accelerating faster. We hope that’s not the case. But even if it is, the longer that we can push that out, the more healthcare capacity we’ll have and the better we’ll protect our people. So this ain’t because of me, it’s because of you. While I’ve taken some aggressive action and put them in place, you have bought into it. And I just want to continue to say the harder you work, the better we will look, not just compared to other States, but the better that we will protect people in Kentucky. And I know we got one more.
Governor Andy Beshear: (28:17)
All right. So this is even if you normalize it by our population and where we are, this is trying to show it in many different ways because there are lots of different factors that can go in. And you can see there that still what we are doing is making a difference. Has us in a place where we ought to be proud of how we’re doing. But proud is not enough when what we’re talking about are the lives of our fellow human beings.
Governor Andy Beshear: (28:45)
So let’s say that the sacrifices we’ve made, we can look at these two graphs and we can know they were the right sacrifices and that they were the right steps. And while they have been difficult and while they’ve created uncertainty and anxiety, I know in our economy and in your economic security, we can already see that they were the right steps to take and because we took them sooner than most, I believe that plus your compliance, you’re willing to do the right thing has us where we are.
Governor Andy Beshear: (29:15)
I want to call a Dr. Stack up. I know he has some comments especially on these two as well.
Dr. Stack: (29:23)
Thank you governor Beshear. So I wanted to go into just a little bit more detail about what these mean. And I try to be as clear as I can about the science and where different assumptions have to be made. So there’s no slight of hand hears transparency about how we use these different tools.
Dr. Stack: (29:39)
So this is a publicly available website. I put the website at the bottom so you can find this if you want. They update the data on a daily basis. Of course there’s delays in the data. Of course not every State does the same number of tests and so factors into this. And of course our States are not the same. So the factoring all that in and the fact that I look at a lot of different sources of data with a whole team doing this, I think that these are useful for a number of different reasons.
Dr. Stack: (30:07)
First of all on this graph, this shows and helps you to appreciate just how much steeper the trouble could get if we stopped doing all the good stuff we’re doing. So New York and New Jersey obviously are very densely populated. I think New Jersey is one of the most densely populated States in the country. That affects this because what are we telling you? We have to stay away from each other. That’s a lot harder if you live in Manhattan than if you live on a farm in rural Kentucky.
Dr. Stack: (30:35)
That being said, it makes a big difference because anytime you put a handful of us together or you put 50 people together at any kind of gathering or even five people together in a gathering, you recreate the same thing you can have in Manhattan with everybody crowded together. So New York and New Jersey are probably a little bit different.
Dr. Stack: (30:52)
Louisiana is a lot less densely populated. So perhaps there are some decisions about policy choices, about whether they’re being aggressive or not on social distancing. So there’s a lot of different things that go into this and it’s even more complicated than that.
Dr. Stack: (31:08)
The point I wanted to really draw your attention to though is Kentucky is all the way at the bottom here. And this is one of those times and we should celebrate as Kentucky. So we face a lot of public health challenges and unfortunately we are at the bottom in a number of other areas that we want to work real hard to fix. This is a time where being at the bottom is being the best. And so you should celebrate the work that Team Kentucky did. You should celebrate that Governor Beshear took hard actions and that you have overwhelmingly chosen to follow them.
Dr. Stack: (31:37)
And for those who don’t follow those recommendations, you are endangering our success on this. If we don’t follow those recommendations, if we don’t socially distance, we run the risk of undoing this and going up the steep part of the curve. We don’t want to go up the steep part. That’s when people get sick and that’s when more Kentuckians die. So James, if you could show the next chart.
Dr. Stack: (31:59)
The reason I showed this, one’s a logarithmic scale, one’s a linear scale. This fans out the different datasets more easily. So you can see that there’s very few States beneath Kentucky. Our growth curve is flatter and better than just about every other State out there except for a small handful. That’s because Governor Beshear didn’t hesitate and took strong action at the very start. If you go all the way to the left, they normalized it so that it’s when each State had one case per 1 million population. So from that point forward you can see that Kentucky jumped on it, took hard action and our curve started to flatten right away. Others didn’t take as prompt action or had other issues and therefore, their curve was much steeper.
Dr. Stack: (32:43)
A few other things before I finish. Cloth masks do not eliminate the need for you to do all the social distancing. In fact, if you wear them and you find them helpful, there is some potential they could help minimize the spread of disease from someone who’s infected. But I would tell you, I think overall they’re a distraction. The most important thing is you have to do all this social distancing. You have to stay away from each other, six to 10 feet. That’s what’s going to help us hand hygiene and covering your cough and your sneeze. That’s what’s going to keep us healthy.
Dr. Stack: (33:17)
If you’ll wear a clock mask and you use it properly and you really should read the guidance both that we posted on our website and then the CDC’s longer guidance, there’s a lot of qualifications for how to use them so that they are helpful and not perhaps harmful. But I want to just celebrate. This is one of those times that Team Kentucky is in the top five for a good reason. It’s because you listened to what we asked you to do, because the governor took decisive action and this is one time when a lot of people’s lives are on the line and your actions have really markedly helped us to have a better chance of success, so thank you very much Governor Beshear.
Governor Andy Beshear: (33:50)
Thank you. All right. Just a few updates and then we’ll get to today’s numbers now. The first is thank you to our National Guard. We now have 334 guardsmen and guardswomen engaged across Kentucky. They’re doing everything from helping at hospitals to helping at our food banks, which need that help now more than ever, and we will see more of our guard being activated as we go.
Governor Andy Beshear: (34:25)
Second announcement, and this is an exciting one. Again, it’s going to rely on the supplies that we can get. While our drive through testing at the moment is on pause that we wanted to do, we have entered a new agreement that we’re pretty excited about, and it’s with Gravity Diagnostics in Northern Kentucky. That agreement will provide up to 2,000 tests a day that we will be able to use around the State.
Governor Andy Beshear: (34:55)
The goal is going to be to use that outside the golden triangle which right now has [inaudible 00:35:00] and a number of other avenues to get quick testing. The amount of that 2,000 per day will depend on the number of swabs that we can get. Swabs are in critical demand and we are looking at options on the manufacturing side and any way that we can get them.
Governor Andy Beshear: (35:25)
The testing would significantly increase our number of tests around the State. I’m going to read our number that we can confirm right now, but it’s about 18,000. If you think about 2,000 a day and if we have enough swabs to do that, we’ll almost double the number of tests that we can confirm in Kentucky in a full week. This will be next day testing. They will be for tier one patients, symptomatic, high risk patients, healthcare workers, and first responders. The materials are being shipped out Monday, April 6th and testing will begin the 7th and the 8th.
Governor Andy Beshear: (36:03)
April 6th and testing will begin the 7th and the 8th. Again, swabs remain a challenge, but our goal is to scale out to a maximum of 2000 tests per day. We’ll start a little slowly in the beginning wanting to ramp up, wanting to make sure that we’re doing them right, wanting to make sure that the process is there, but I want to say thank you to Gravity, which has significantly increased their capacity and what they’re doing at a really rapid rate. They are a Kentucky group, we are proud of them. And we appreciate them putting us first and what they’re willing to do. But we really want to thank the hospitals, the Kentucky Department of Public Health, Dr. Steven Stack, who took this on himself and others for helping us to get this up and running. Again, it all depends on what comes in and the numbers that we’re going to be able to do, but this is a significant step for us.
Governor Andy Beshear: (36:57)
It means that if we can get the swabs that we need, we can make sure that there isn’t any area of the state that doesn’t have at least compared to the rest of the country a pretty significant ability to test and the turnaround time is really critical. That’s one of the things that we were very excited about here. Some of the large national labs are taking seven to 10 days to get results back and that’s not really that helpful, because somebody could already be through their self-quarantine out of being symptomatic and be almost over this by the time that that comes back. Then so the ability here in 24 hours means if you’ve got a group of healthcare workers that are self-quarantined and we really need them in the hospital, we can get that back and they can get back to work.
Governor Andy Beshear: (37:45)
Also as an announcement, I was asked the other day about a person in Northern Kentucky that had sued me on the travel ban. We won the first round of that. They’d asked for a temporary injunction. The judge said no, and I think that’s all the time that we ought to spend on that. All right today’s numbers, and let me say it’s on a Sunday and we had fewer labs report today than many other days and so we’re going to have to look at this data over a couple of days to realize exactly what it means, but we have 38 new cases of the coronavirus in Kentucky bringing the total up to 955. We have 306 people that have now recovered. We can confirm at least 18,767 individuals had been tested. We believe that number’s a lot higher, but remember we have 32 or 33 labs that report and then we have 60 plus local health departments.
Governor Andy Beshear: (38:46)
We have all the hospitals that give us that data. So I wouldn’t read too much in, and this is me being transparent. It’s a low number. We could really celebrate it, but I wouldn’t read too much into it today because of it being a Sunday and what labs are reporting. But with that said, we have now had a number of days in a row, I think four, where we have been at about the same. And my feeling is when you adjust today we’ll be about the same. When you look at other places in the country, many of which are doubling every three days or even more. Again, that is pretty good news. If you can find good news in the midst of this crisis. And we do have five new deaths today and those are five more Kentuckians that we have lost and that we need to make sure that we are lighting our homes and our places of business up green tonight so that their families can feel our compassion.
Governor Andy Beshear: (39:48)
They can know that while we can’t come to them to mourn with them, that they are in our thoughts and that they are in our prayers. That’s also the color of renewal because at least my faith teaches me that their spirit is leaving their body to go to a better place and it’s the color of renewal that we will get through this. We will ultimately move past all of this. So the five new deaths, three are from Jefferson, an 80 year old female, and a 66 year old female, and we just got in right before this a 54 year old female and Jefferson County announced that one today as well. We also have an 85 year old female from McLean County, and a 90 year old female from Woodford County. Of our new cases today we have seven from Christian, six from Jefferson, three from Warren, and McCracken, two from Scott, Fayette, Davis, one from Woodford, Rockcastle, Pulaski, Pendleton, Muhlenberg, Mercer, McLean, Marshall, Leslie, Jessamine, Hopkins, Harrison and Boone.
Governor Andy Beshear: (40:58)
And if I have that right, then there are a couple of counties in there that this would have been their first positive test. But folks, this is everywhere. And even if on our Kentucky map that right now there’s not a reported case, you know that there are people who have the coronavirus. So we have to be doing the right things. We got to be following the recommendations everywhere. And let’s remember that our actions factor in to those 11,000 plus people that we’re trying to save. And if we needed more motivation, we lost five people today. That’s five more after losing them yesterday and the day before and the day before and the day before that. And it will probably be the case for many days to come.
Governor Andy Beshear: (41:48)
Let’s make sure we keep these numbers as low as possible too. Let’s make sure that we are all doing our part. All right, so with that we will open it up to about 10 minutes of questions. I think we’ve got four folks that are here with us and then I have questions that people have sent in and we’ll go back and forth. I think we’ve got Shelby Smithson, Al Cross. We have Eleanor Buckley and Morgan Watkins. And so I’ll start to my left and we’ll take one and then I’ll go back and forth like that. So Shelby.
Has there been any guidance for counties that are on the edge of different States as far as kind of trying to enforce the traveling back and forth or anything like that?
Governor Andy Beshear: (42:36)
The question is, has there been guidance to counties that are on the borders with other States on how they can try to limit travel. I’ve talked very specifically with a number of County judges on our Southern border, the County judge in Simpson County specifically in talking about it and it’s one where we’ve got to do our best. And when we know of people that have violated that order, we need to be directly asking them to self-quarantine. But they have also made some suggestions including closing our camp grounds to overnight stays that they believe will have a direct impact in lessening that too. My goal is to listen. We’re not able to say yes to every idea that’s out there, but there have been really good ideas coming out of our local leaders, and let me say, our local leaders have been fantastic throughout this.
Governor Andy Beshear: (43:31)
Every single one that I’ve talked to is trying to do the right thing and we’re all trying to figure out what the right thing is depending on the circumstance. But I will say that I have seen less partisanship or less divide than I could have ever imagined, whether that’s Democrat or Republican or local and state government you used to have some natural issues that would arise. They are working really, really hard. Now you hear lots of stories and some of them are accurate about people traveling from New York because that’s scary right now. But we got to realize that our goal here has to be to decrease crowds whatsoever and to decrease travel whatsoever. So even though we’re talking about travel between States, I want people to hear, don’t travel within our state either. Make sure that you are being healthy at home.
Governor Andy Beshear: (44:25)
All right. I have a couple of questions on River Bend Retirement Community in Lyon County asking that if I can confirm that there are two staff and two residents that have tested positive, the answer to that is, yes. Two staff and two residents have tested positive. One of the positive residents is at home to recover with family. The second is recovering at the facility with two dedicated nurses serving 12 hour shifts. Those nurses are also self-quarantining, and think about what they’re doing and their commitment right there to help and to protect that person. Thank you. Thank you. If you are one of these folks or the hundreds of others that are doing it. Thank you.
Governor Andy Beshear: (45:03)
The second question is directly on that is, can you confirm the state has provided 13 total COVID tests for River Bend Retirement Community. I can do more than that. The state has directly tested 12, U of L has tested 45, and LabCorp has tested 23 according to our numbers, which if all of that is accurate and that’s the report that I’ve gotten would mean 80 tests and that is for employees and that is for folks in the facility, and most of the folks that have been tested are asymptomatic.
Governor Andy Beshear: (45:38)
It’s trying to make sure. So I know that sometimes misinformation can get out there and fear can get out there. In this instance if these numbers are right, this is one of the most significant amounts of testing in any facility that we have seen in Kentucky. And it’s because it’s that serious. When it gets into a retirement home or a nursing home, it is that serious. That’s why the social distancing is so important. And that will be a big reason if we can keep our numbers down and protect more people that we did. Al.
Al Cross: (46:11)
I had a question but I’ll follow up on that and ask if you’ve granted the judge executives requests down here that everybody in the home be tested? It was his understanding that only one wing had been tested. Has everyone now been tested?
Governor Andy Beshear: (46:25)
Oh, I don’t think every individual in the facility has been tested. 80 tests are more than anywhere, anytime, any place in Kentucky to my knowledge. If we had unlimited tests, we would absolutely like to test anyone and everywhere. But I hope that County judge can understand that we don’t have nearly enough tests in Kentucky for different facilities that have it. And it’s significantly more testing than other nursing homes have had where we have had a positive that unfortunately we have multiple facilities. And to that County judge, I would say we’re doing our best. And this is a significant amount of resources that have been provided. It’s a tough time. It’s a tough time where we wish we could provide a full amount of personal protective equipment, a full amount of testing and that we could increase our healthcare capacity more than we have thus far. But we’re working on it every day.
Governor Andy Beshear: (47:26)
Employees at Heine Brothers in Louisville are questioning how essential the service of making lattes is amidst the aggressively contagious coronavirus with over 40 staging a sick-out to be heard by ownership. And the question is, my thoughts on that? So what we have tried to do with food service is curbside, drive-through, and take-out, and I don’t know the exact with Heine Brothers or any other coffee store, but there shouldn’t be 10 customers in that size store at any one time. It should be a very small amount. And to the extent a facility has a drive-through that can accommodate a lot or can do the curb-side, they ought to look at doing that. And it shouldn’t take an order from me, it should be the right thing to do. And you could probably keep every single employee in any of those places busy doing that.
Governor Andy Beshear: (48:21)
So every day our businesses, our nonprofits, everybody out there ought to be thinking about what’s that next step we can take to protect people. That’s what we do every day. We’re trying to think through grocery stores or other places that people are going to, the concern that whole families are showing up with multiple adults and kids and we can’t be doing that. And every day we think about what steps we can take at the state to try to make sure that’s not happening. But every business caring about your people ought to be thinking every day, not just, we took X number of steps. What’s the next thing that we can do? Eleanor.
With the school districts how transparent do you think they should be if employees are testing positive, how transparent should they be to parents with that information?
Governor Andy Beshear: (49:11)
The question is, how transparent should school districts be with parents or others if an employee has tested positive? I think in these situations it very much depends on how much interaction or possible contact there can be. For instance, if there was let’s say a teacher that has tested positive in the last couple of days but has been working from home for the last what, three, four weeks and hasn’t been involved say in food service, that’s one situation. If someone tests positive that has been involved in the food service, that’s a second different situation where I think that we need to be transparent. The goal here is to make sure that we don’t create a stigma on individuals that have it, but at the same time make sure we’re providing the information for anybody else that could’ve possibly been exposed. Now I will say that people involved in food service, whether it’s schools or elsewhere, are going to test positive. That’s the way this works.
Governor Andy Beshear: (50:20)
That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be doing the food service. This is one of those things where when it happens, we got to breathe and realize that if those meals weren’t going out to their kids, we would have even more people being harmed. And so this is one of those situations, just like grocery store workers are first responders where we’re going to have people test positive and we’ve got to do the very best that we can. And then we also ought to be taking all of the steps to reduce the possibility that it spreads. Nobody who’s sick ought to show up for that food service. Gloves ought to be worn. And it’s all in the transportation too. And to those that are providing the food service, I love seeing the pictures. Just make sure in the pictures that you all are socially distanced too. If we’re doing the food service and then we’re taking a picture and we’re all hugging on each other, that doesn’t work, that doesn’t work.
Governor Andy Beshear: (51:11)
And that’s for everybody out there. So just make sure even when you’re doing something like that, you’re keeping your distance. So that means we probably shouldn’t be handing off trays or boxes to each other. We should be individually taking them and taking them either to the truck or elsewhere. And the more that we can have people individually pick things up or hand them out, the better. So again, just keep thinking through the different ways that we can better protect one another. Okay. Do your orders limiting travel to and from Kentucky restrict the ability of a Kentucky resident to move from another state back to Kentucky with the assistance of a long distance moving company where the movers start in another state, load a truck with resident’s belongings, drive to Kentucky, unload those belongs at the resident’s house and leave the state?
Governor Andy Beshear: (51:58)
All right. First, if you’re the individual and you’re moving into Kentucky, you’re going to have a 14 day quarantine. It’s what we’re asking you to do. And I know that’s not what the question is about. There is a lot of moving that is essential across the United States. But here’s what I’m asking Kentuckians to do. Make sure we reduce the possibility of this scenario. Listen, we have enough time and there are enough companies to where we ought to be able to contract. If you’re moving from one state, people from that state load you up and people from this state unload it.
Governor Andy Beshear: (52:29)
But here’s the other thing. Now is probably not the best time to be moving. That’s a whole bunch of people touching your stuff. That is a number of other opportunities for this to potentially spread to you. I know there’s going to be some that needs to happen. We don’t want to have to make a rule about everything. The best case scenario, if you have to move knowing that you’re going to have to self-quarantine is either do it yourself, which would be the safest, and I know that’s hard on many people. I couldn’t do that with my family. Or figure out a way to make sure you’re not spreading contacts from one state to another. Morgan?
There’s been some reporting about the fact that the death toll in the US maybe basically being underreported because of mix-ups or problems with how to properly track that. The shortage of testing, meaning some people may have it and die from it and corners and stuff like that don’t realize it. So I was wondering about your confidence level in the numbers that you guys are getting right now here on the death toll.
Governor Andy Beshear: (53:31)
Sure. The question is whether there’s questions raised nationally about whether the death toll might be artificially low based on either a lack of testing or it being believed that it was something else. I believe our numbers here in Kentucky are fairly accurate and I believe that’s because early on we said that if the coronavirus is believed, if someone had the virus, we are going to list that as the cause of death in our numbers, even though-
Governor Andy Beshear: (54:03)
As the cause of death in our numbers, even though all but one person to my knowledge had what you call multiple comorbidities, which are other things that contributed to to that death. There are likely people that we have lost that the other comorbidities would have been sufficient, but we have tried to be, I guess transparent is the right word there, to say if it could have been a factor, then it matters. Then it matters. And we ought to treat it as such.
Governor Andy Beshear: (54:32)
We have also used testing, especially in suspicious situations. We have gotten positive tests back after someone has passed away, and we’ve updated it. But there is certainly a possibility, more than a possibility, that we will lose people, and we won’t know that the coronavirus might have been the cause, just like there are tens of thousands, if not more, of Kentuckians that will have the coronavirus and never even know it because they are asymptomatic, and it might not… I mean, especially what we think we see in kids is that they’ll never even notice that they had it as they move through it. We have tried and we are going to continue to be committed that anytime that we think it is the cause and there is a test that can be done, that we will list it.
Governor Andy Beshear: (55:25)
What is the reaction to multiple employees at King’s Daughter Medical Center in Ashland testing positive? There are rumors of some doctors being on ventilators, but the hospital’s not commenting further. So, according to the health department in Ashland, we have two hospitalized patients, but neither of them are physicians at King’s Daughter Medical Center. They have had several healthcare workers test positive in Boyd and surrounding counties, but that’s pretty similar to other places around Kentucky.
Governor Andy Beshear: (55:56)
And let’s remember that not only are healthcare workers going into these situations with the possibility of getting the coronavirus, they’re getting it. And then almost every healthcare worker probably knows another one that they work with that has come down with the coronavirus. And guess what? They still go into work to help people. I mean, that is truly special, truly heroic. Thank you to everyone working at any and all of our healthcare facilities. I’m not sure in my lifetime, well, a lot has been asked of us at different times. But from the healthcare community, this has been the most significant difficult call to answer, and you are answering it, and we need you to keep answering it.
Speaker 2: (56:40)
So we’ve been hearing about some new possible treatments, specifically the one that I’m thinking of from Baptist Health. How closely has your-
Governor Andy Beshear: (56:50)
Speaker 2: (56:50)
Yes. Been working with different places that are trying these new treatments, and any timeline on [inaudible 00:56:57] will be widespread, or?
Governor Andy Beshear: (56:59)
So, the question is on new treatments or treatments out there that people are talking about. They’re talking about plasma, they’re talking about the malaria-related drug. I think we got a company in Owensboro that’s been pretty successful in the past that is working on trying to create a vaccine as well. We’re following all of it. And those are different groups that do report or send information to us. What we’re doing is we’re pushing them to work as well as they can while we are managing the situation, trying to buy PPE, trying to expand our healthcare capacity every day.
Governor Andy Beshear: (57:35)
It is still really early. I mean, other people will get out, and we’ll maybe give other comments. But it is still really early. We don’t know whether or not plasma from somebody who’s recovered is going to help. I certainly hope it does. We don’t know if there’s immunity from people who’ve recovered, but we certainly hope that there is. Still too early on the malaria drug. But I certainly hope that it works. And let’s remember, it doesn’t have to cure something. If it helps, then at least it’s something that can be in our arsenal. Yes.
Speaker 3: (58:08)
Can you tell us about the [inaudible 00:58:08]?
Governor Andy Beshear: (58:14)
The question is on the two gyms in Frankfurt that we busted that were letting people in the back door. They’ve been officially cited, so we can get you the names. I don’t know them. But I mean, honestly, physical exercise is important to me. But if you run a gym where people would be in close proximity, all using the same equipment, spread the coronavirus, and it is already killing people, and with an order out there that you cannot operate, you would open up the back door? My goodness. I mean, come on. We ought to be better than that, and shame on those that that are doing that.
Governor Andy Beshear: (58:55)
I wanted to see if I’ve been notified that a pastor in Ashland at the Christ Temple Church has tested positive, did a Facebook Live last night about his diagnosis. Church has been doing drive-in services the last few weeks, but still do so today, but the pastor wasn’t there. We did a story with them, the first service two weeks ago, and people didn’t stay in their cars. They sat on lawn chairs. Should the church stop having services at all until everyone is tested and safe?
Governor Andy Beshear: (59:31)
So, according to the health department there, there’s not been a case reported with a connection to the church mentioned. The church has members from across the tristate area, so it’s possible the pastor lives in another state, but we don’t have confirmation of that. But let’s talk about drive-up church services. It’s creative. It’s an opportunity to be there in person, but you can only do it if you follow the set of rules, right? Number one is only one family in a car. If you put multiple unrelated people in or who don’t live with each other, you’re spreading the virus. Two, the cars have to be more than six feet apart. If not, you roll down the windows, it’s not going to help the same way.
Governor Andy Beshear: (01:00:13)
Three, you cannot get out of the car. If you’re doing that, you might as well be having a service inside the facility. That’s how the coronavirus spreads. And last, you can’t be passing things in and out of the car. Make sure that you are doing an offering electronically or some other means, and ,be very careful in how you would do communion because again, that is a way for it to spread. Now, let me say that those who are doing this are trying to do the right thing. You are. You are, and I appreciate that. Let’s just make sure, because you want to do the right thing, we do it the right way.
Governor Andy Beshear: (01:00:49)
And with Easter coming up, obviously the best services would be virtual. If you’re going to do the drive-up service, you got to be really careful about how you’re doing it, because the goal you want to accomplish is letting people worship, letting them be together in a way, but making sure you don’t spread the virus. Let’s just make sure that we accomplish that goal. Al?
You mentioned the possibility of having to crack down on people who were not obeying the order against gatherings.
Governor Andy Beshear: (01:01:20)
How would you go about doing that?
Governor Andy Beshear: (01:01:22)
Well, I think you’re going to see a couple of announcements from us this week, but if facilities are still trying to open and allow mass gatherings, then perhaps those facilities shouldn’t be allowed to be opened anymore. It really shouldn’t take this. And to the Bullet County pastor that is continuing to have service, he knows now that we have at least three examples of church services spreading the virus in Kentucky, and we have multiple deaths tied to it. So, we know as a scientific fact that him holding his service today spread the virus within his congregation, and at Christmas, he’s going to have fewer people in his congregation. My faith would never let me put someone else in that position. It would tell me to love my neighbor as myself and look at what that is doing, the risk that it’s putting people in.
Governor Andy Beshear: (01:02:25)
You know what? When I was running for governor or, even when I started out, I mean, the thought that I would directly be telling a congregation that they shouldn’t meet, I mean, that’s beyond what you would ever have in political thought. But this is life and death. This is life and death. And what it means politically in the future, I just don’t care at this point. I know that if there is a group that is still meeting inside of a building, that this is being spread, and people are going to die, and we just can’t let that happen. Eleanor.
I think you kind of spoke about this before, but how satisfied are you with President Trump and the overall federal response to COVID-19?
Governor Andy Beshear: (01:03:06)
The question is, overall, how satisfied am I with the president and their overall response? I don’t worry about that on a given day. I think that this thing, we first learned about this, what, about four months ago? And I think everybody is working to try to increase our testing and our healthcare capacity. We certainly have a number of calls and a lot of communication from the White House, and we appreciate that. We have difficulty, but everybody’s having difficulty on buying personal protective equipment because the federal government, typically through FEMA, buys it all first. But yeah, they’re buying it to send it to other places, and those places are pretty hard hit.
Governor Andy Beshear: (01:03:54)
So, my goal is to work with anyone and everyone that can work with us. There are days that I’m frustrated with the White House. There are days that I’m thankful for some things that they’ve done. When the president extended his guidance through the end of April, that was the right thing to do. And that was pretty helpful. So, I say that we don’t have Democrats and Republicans, just Americans versus the coronavirus. Whether we’re praising or criticizing an administration right now, let’s make sure it’s based on what we need done in this crisis and not any of our previous political views. Morgan, last one.
I forgot to write this up, sorry.
Governor Andy Beshear: (01:04:41)
All right. Did you have one more? I didn’t want to limit you to one. Okay.
So, on the church issue with some churches still meeting and having not drive-in meetings but normal church services, we’ve heard some from some folks who say, well, they don’t see the difference between going to a church service with 50 people there and going to a grocery store or a hardware store that has 50 people there. So, could you address that? Cause that seems to be sort of an issue we’ve heard.
Governor Andy Beshear: (01:05:12)
Okay. So, apparently from some that are still holding gatherings in houses of worship, what they’ve said is what’s the difference between that and going to a grocery store? You can have your service virtually. It’s really hard to get your groceries virtually. And in a grocery store, we are trying to take as many steps as we can to spread people out, to limit the number that are inside, to do everything that we can. But I would just say right now, we have direct evidence of this spreading through church services and people dying from it. We don’t have that evidence of grocery stores at the moment. And it’s just, it’s time. It’s time for us to all understand, and most all of us do, what we’re dealing with, and putting the lives of other people ahead of our own.
Governor Andy Beshear: (01:06:13)
All right, so, we got the start of another week. We have the end of a beautiful weekend. Let’s make sure that we stay committed each and every day. It can feel like a grind when we’re not getting out. We’re not being able to see other people. We’re not being able to get together. But what we’re being asked of every day, and it’s actually almost every minute of every day, is to do our duty to protect one another. We know, at least according to the modeling, what we’re being asked. We’re being asked to step up and protect the lives of at least 11,000 Kentuckians in one of the models. And all we have to do to do that is to follow the guidance and to stay healthy at home.
Governor Andy Beshear: (01:06:53)
I know we say it every time, but this is the challenge of this generation. It is our chance to be a great generation. It is our chance to pass that test of humanity and prove that we care about people’s lives more than we care about our own economic security. And what you saw today is what you’re doing matters. And they may say it’s steps that I took. It steps that you bought into. It’s steps that [inaudible 01:07:19], and it’s you trying to do your best every day to follow all of this guidance.
Governor Andy Beshear: (01:07:28)
Remember that we are in this together, and as Kentuckians, we collectively, more so now than ever before, the decisions of every single Kentuckian will determine how we get through this. But I’ve never been prouder to be your governor. I’ve never been happier to be a citizen of the commonwealth of Kentucky. We can do this better than everybody else. And when we do, we’ll have protected more of our citizens. Thank you all, and we will see you tomorrow at 5:00. Thank you.