Mar 18, 2020

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear Coronavirus Briefing Transcript

Andy Beshear March 18 Coronavirus Briefing
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsKentucky Governor Andy Beshear Coronavirus Briefing Transcript

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear gives an update on COVID-19 on March 18. Read the full transcript here on Rev.com.

Andy Beshear: (00:00)
This is Metcalfe County schools, and all the good work that they are doing. Again, making sure that they are getting healthy food out to their students. And you know what? Look at the smiles that people have on their face. This is a sense of purpose. It is a sense of duty. It’s about when we live up to what we have to do to get through this. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it can bring us joy in times where sometimes we need a smile on our face.

Andy Beshear: (00:28)
Let’s go to the next one. All right, once again, meals being delivered. Rowan County. And we appreciate what everybody is doing there.

Andy Beshear: (00:38)
Let’s keep going. All right, we asked people to do some things that would show different things they are doing as we are having to create that social distance between each other. I really love this one. Again, some of our four-legged friends can be really important to us as we move through this, and I want to thank them for responding and putting out that positive presence in social media that we’re going to need. All right?

Andy Beshear: (01:12)
All right, so apparently this kid is doing his Andy Beshear press conference. I think it’s pretty amazing, but I’m going to tell you he’s doing a lot better than I am. He’s got that microphone, and apparently he’s got a cup that I’m sure is age-appropriate for what he is doing. I really love this one. It reminds me of why I’m doing it and why we’re doing it. And I just again want to encourage people out there to continue to try to spread that good news, model this good behavior. The way we make sure that we defeat this coronavirus is by being good people. It means that we make major alterations and disruptions in our lives, but we do it because we care about each other. We stay calm, we have a little bit of humor, we spend that time with our kids if we have the opportunity, and we will get through it.

Andy Beshear: (02:09)
All right, some other good news, though we haven’t had it confirmed with our state lab, that we have seen that at least news out there that one of our Montgomery County patients that had tested positive is out of the hospital, at least with the reports I’ve seen, with a full recovery. If that can be confirmed, that is excellent news, and that would make at least the second individual. These are stories we need to tell because for 80% of people who get this, you’re going to be just fine. In fact, you won’t even end up in the hospital because you’ll have mild or no symptoms whatsoever. But when we’re able to step up and take care of those who truly needed it, and they come out fully on the other side, those are stories we need to tell.

Andy Beshear: (02:51)
I’m going to give the update on new cases, and we always ought to expect new cases. It’s going to start with some news that’s going to be a little bit tough to hear, but we believe it’s going to be okay. And again, we’re going to need everybody to kind of breathe through this.

Andy Beshear: (03:10)
So, we have some new cases, and one includes an eight month old in Jefferson County. Now, I want to tell you that kiddo is in good condition, is being treated at home, and right now everything is all right.

Andy Beshear: (03:24)
So, this is very rare in what we have seen on the coronavirus. And to every parent out there, I’m one of you, please listen to me: it is very rare.

Andy Beshear: (03:37)
We actually have a graph that I want to show you that is from the United States right now that shows how few patients, not just of that age but under 19, that there are in the United States. That means just a tiny, tiny fraction under 19 have required hospitalization, but no ICU admissions, and certainly no fatalities in that age group.

Andy Beshear: (04:07)
So, this is news that we’re providing to you to be transparent. But again, you look at all of the numbers, this virus doesn’t appear to impact kids in the same way that the flu or anything else does. So, this is important to have facts in context. Again, this kiddo is doing okay. We ought to pray for them and everybody else that has been impacted by this virus, but we got to be able to take news when we get it like this, and we got to be able to deal with it in a healthy way.

Andy Beshear: (04:43)
So, with that, let me go through… We believe right now that we have 29 positive cases, though again… I’m sorry, we have 29, yes, positive cases in Kentucky, and one additional case where that individual is actually in New York, but we have the address here. I believe that the additional cases, it would be three additional cases I believe since yesterday, are an 88 year old female in Bourbon County, this eight month old in Jefferson, and one more female in Jefferson County. The last two we’ve had verbally confirmed. I don’t have the demographics on that last individual.

Andy Beshear: (05:34)
So, we are going to see new cases every day. That’s why we’re taking the steps that we’re taking. That’s why we’re doing what’s necessary to make sure that we have all the capabilities of our healthcare system, and in fact we’re trying to increase it. That’s why we’ve asked for elective procedures to end by the end of today so we have every single bit of capacity ready when we see more cases, and we ought to expect in the future that we are going to see more cases, and probably in a rapid fashion even as we move into the future.

Andy Beshear: (06:07)
What we’re trying to prevent… Can you show the line graph? What we’re trying to prevent is a spike of cases that would be expected if we continue as business as usual in Kentucky. That is the blue line. The blue line puts more people at risk. Puts the health of especially our parents and grandparents, those with heart, lung, and kidney disease, more at risk. And we don’t want to do that. We are better people than that.

Andy Beshear: (06:38)
So, what we’re asking everybody to do is to engage in the social distancing, to cut their contacts. And we’ve had to make some very difficult decisions. I’ve had to put out some very difficult orders that I know are directly impacting many of you out there. But that is so that we can get as close to being that red line as possible.

Andy Beshear: (06:59)
Remember, it is all of our duty to follow this guidance. It is our duty as neighbors, it is our duty as citizens of the commonwealth, and it is our patriotic duty as Americans. We are protecting the most vulnerable, which means everybody has to be onboard.

Andy Beshear: (07:16)
If you are that one facility that is staying open even when every other one is closed and been required to, what you are doing is allowing for the spread of the coronavirus, and you are undermining the sacrifice that so many others are making. I’m a Governor who ran on creating more opportunity, more educational opportunity for everyone. And you look at the orders that I had to make, but more than that, you look at the sacrifice that our kids, and our small business, and our families are having to make. Don’t be the individual, don’t be the business that undermines those sacrifices.

Andy Beshear: (07:52)
So, if you are a bingo parlor in Pike County, you ought to be closed by the end of today. All those parlors cater to an older and more at-risk crowd. Do not, do not, engage in the type of conduct that can put people at risk.

Andy Beshear: (08:14)
We saw a story about funeral homes today, and we’ve touched based with that association. It is hard. It is a time when families come together. It is a highly emotional time. But folks, even there we’ve got to limit things to the closest of family only. It is just where we are to protect everyone else out there. I know that’s hard to hear, but it’s what has to be done to get us where we need to go.

Andy Beshear: (08:40)
Let’s just all buy in. This is our duty. This is the challenge that we face in our lifetimes. None of us have seen anything like it before, but I believe we’re up to it. I believe we can do it, but we can only do it, or we will only do it, when we all do it together. This is a test of the type of neighbors that we’re willing to be, and I know we’re going to pass it.

Andy Beshear: (09:03)
Now, we always talk about how much we love coming back to Kentucky when we’re gone. There’s actually a former Governor from almost 100 years ago that had a whole speech about it, and it was amazing to see because we think that’s just us, but it’s been a feeling we’ve had in Kentucky for a long time. We have to take that same love of place and of people. I understand that in these times it means that we got to care about each other, but we got to distance ourselves from each other. I want to invite Dr. Stack up here to once again talk about how important what we are doing is. Then we’re going to go through the steps that we’ve taken, and some additional steps for today.

Andy Beshear: (09:41)
Dr. Stack.

Dr. Stack: (09:45)
Thank you, Governor, and good evening, everyone. I wish this weren’t as familiar an experience as it is at this point, but…

Dr. Stack: (09:51)
So, I have a video on the website, on kycovid19.ky.gov, at the bottom, where I talk about why we’re doing this. And the Governor’s done a wonderful job showing you some of these line graphs repeatedly.

Dr. Stack: (10:03)
This is a disease for which 80% of us will not have a problem. We will do just fine. We are taking all these actions because, for the people it affects most strongly, they can get hit pretty hard. And so, for the vulnerable population, so that would be people over 60 and people with chronic medical problems, the disease can hit them very hard. And in order to protect them, the only tool we have at our disposal is to minimize the spread of the disease until we get better diagnostic tools and better treatments.

Dr. Stack: (10:33)
So, the scientists are hard at work, and hopefully those things will come down the road. But what we have to do for right now is keep a distance between ourselves.

Dr. Stack: (10:41)
So, this is something they did in 1918 with the Spanish Flu, and the Governor has shown you repeatedly how it worked dramatically well for St. Louis; and in Philadelphia, where they delayed, it did not work, and they had more than double the people lose their lives in Philadelphia.

Dr. Stack: (10:58)
So, here in Kentucky I want to keep reminding you… And I agree with what the Governor continually says. At Team Kentucky, we will be able to pull together, and we’re going to be able to keep the most people safe. But in order to do that, it is absolutely essential that you follow the guidelines we’re giving you.

Dr. Stack: (11:13)
And I want people not to lose the forest through the trees. Stop looking for excuses for why your community is different than other communities. I continue to be astounded how many of us are getting one-off requests, “Does this apply to me?”, “Does this apply to me?” Any time people are close together… And it doesn’t matter to me if it’s 10 people, if it’s 50, if it’s 100, those numbers are artificial. Whenever any of us come together because we are such social people, we expose each other to the infection if one of us has it; and then when we go around and get around 10 other people, and 10 other people, you can have it spread rapidly.

Dr. Stack: (11:52)
In Korea, in South Korea, they were able to contain the initial outbreak to about 30 people; and then a single individual who traveled to different places, who traveled through airports, who went to a convention, who went to a church, that one person triggered the epidemic again.

Dr. Stack: (12:09)
So, when we ask you to stay home, I know it’s hard. I’ve got a kid at home who’s really not happy with her dad because she can see I’m on TV, telling everybody to stay home. So, I know what this is like, just like the Governor. I’ve got a kid at home, and she’s not happy. But this is what we have to do to keep ourselves all safe, to keep the people we love safe. And I want to keep reminding you, I believe if we do these steps, we can keep ourselves safe. I know it’s hard. We’re feeling it ourselves. Both of us are parents. And I just ask you to please do what we recommend and what we ask, because this is what we have to help make sure we avoid harm, if at all possible.

Dr. Stack: (12:46)
So, thank you, Governor.

Andy Beshear: (12:47)
Thank you.

Andy Beshear: (12:47)
All right, and since we’ve started, we got our state lab results in for the day, and we have five additional positive cases. Again, totally expected. It’s what we got to expect as we go forward. We all make sure that we know what’s coming, that 80% of people are going to be just fine.

Andy Beshear: (13:09)
The new cases are in Kenton, Fayette, Warren, Clark, and one is in the Wedco region, which could be one of three counties. I don’t have that right now. I don’t have any of the demographics right now. Warren and Kenton are the new counties, but we expect this ultimately in every county. And that’s why we’re taking the steps we’re taking, and none of our regions ought to be saying, “It’s not here.” We got to take the steps right now because most people are asymptomatic or minor symptoms that have this.

Andy Beshear: (13:40)
We got to know we have two duties. Number one, do everything you can not to get it yourself; but number two, make sure, especially with the most vulnerable, we treat ourselves like we have it, and we don’t give it to those that could be harmed. So, don’t be the person that tries to find the exception, that tries to create the crowd or go to the crowd. Let’s just make sure we all do our duty and get through this.

Andy Beshear: (14:03)
Could you show us Philadelphia and St. Louis. You all are getting used to these, I’m sure.

Andy Beshear: (14:09)
One of the reasons we are taking such aggressive steps, when you might say, “Oh, we’ve only got 34 cases,” is because we’ve got to act early to ultimately make the biggest difference. This is Spanish Flu. And again, the coronavirus we do not expect to be nearly as deadly as the Spanish Flu, and our healthcare system is much better, and we have a lot more knowledge right now. But we’d like to be able to learn from the past. This was a pandemic too. Philadelphia did not take the steps that they should as quickly as they should, they weren’t aggressive, and what they saw was a large spike of cases that overwhelmed their healthcare system. St. Louis acted very quickly, and were able to significantly lessen that increase.

Andy Beshear: (14:57)
Now, I’ve been repeatedly saying, “We want to be St. Louis and not Philadelphia.” But I’m going to change that today. We ought to be Kentucky, and we ought to do everything we can. If you compare these, in a different way, to the coronavirus, that we have a smaller curve than St. Louis. Now let’s commit ourselves to doing everything we can with the knowledge we have, with the healthcare system that we have, to doing better than anybody has ever seen in a situation like this. And that’s hard because this thing didn’t exist, at least to our knowledge, about three months ago. But we know the things that we have to do, and we are committed to doing them.

Andy Beshear: (15:34)
All right, I’m going to read through, and I’m going to go a little bit faster this time, the steps that we’ve taken. But I believe doing this the same way that we do it all the time is helpful for all of us, knowing that every day is just going to be another step.

Andy Beshear: (15:48)
We declared a state of emergency. It gives us the tools we need.

Andy Beshear: (15:51)
We activated the Emergency Management Operations Center. We’re what’s called “level three”, which means we have people in seats, planning every single day.

Andy Beshear: (15:59)
We activated the State Health Operations Center, where we’re communicating with all the local health departments.

Andy Beshear: (16:04)
We announced the Kentucky COVID hotline: 1-800-722-5725. And James, can we bring up our new infographic on it.

Andy Beshear: (16:14)
So, as we enter different phases of addressing this coronavirus, our advice has to change a little bit. Now, we’re going to talk about that in a minute.

Andy Beshear: (16:29)
Our advice is on when to seek help and when to makes calls. If you want to go to the website, there you go.

Andy Beshear: (16:38)
Right now, what we are encouraging, and we actually have a new infographic than this one, is if you are feeling well but you are nervous, you’re all right. If you’re not showing any symptoms, you don’t have any harm that’s going to come to you. You’re going to be okay.

Andy Beshear: (16:57)
Now, we asked previously that you call the hotline. We’re getting about 2000 calls a day. What we really need to do is to have that capacity for those that are in the second category, that if you are sick but you would normally not otherwise seek medical attention, that’s who we want to either call their provider… Don’t go in to a healthcare facility. Don’t overwhelm that healthcare facility. Either call your healthcare provider or call the hotline.

Andy Beshear: (17:26)
And then if you are sick and would have sought help, or you are injured, make sure that you do so. I know this is a little bit different than what we’ve been saying before, but we got to be able to adapt as we are moving forward.

Andy Beshear: (17:40)
So again, if you are well, if you are feeling great, understand that we want to get to a point where everybody can get tested even when you are fully well, and we are going to work to get to that point. We are not there yet. Just make sure we are conserving our resources, even the hotline, for those that need it the most. This is our test of being a good neighbor.

Andy Beshear: (18:01)
We want to, again, point you to our website-

Andy Beshear: (18:03)
… neighbor. We want again, point you to our website, KYCOVIS19.ky.gov. Kentucky, you’re doing a really good job of going there. It is the definitive source in Kentucky where we’re going to put everything up that we have. We issued the executive order to prohibit price gouging. Call and report, price gouging if you see it: (888) 432-9257. We adjusted our state government sick leave policy and we were asking all businesses to do the same. We continue to publish CDC guidelines that talks about the most vulnerable, the 60 and over, those that have heart, lung and kidney disease, compromised immune systems, diabetes. We have so many Kentuckians with di-

Speaker 1: (33:30)
Thank you all for being with me. I’m joining you this evening from my home in York County and I come to you with a heavy heart. Earlier today, the Department of Health confirmed that a person in North Hampton County passed away from COVID-19. This is the first death for the novel coronavirus in Pennsylvania. For the sake of the family’s privacy, we will not be providing any initial information on the individual at this time. I bring you this news because it demonstrates the severity of COVID-19. In under two weeks, more than 130 cases of COVID-19 have been identified within our borders and the spread of COVID-19 across our Commonwealth is increasing at an exponential pace. When we first became aware of COVID-19 we had hoped that we could prevent its spread like we have with other diseases in the past, but unfortunately COVID-19 has characteristics that make it difficult to control. We know it can be transmitted- [crosstalk 00:34:36]

Andy Beshear: (34:35)
… we’re not limited. Our institutions are working on that right now. Again, Kroger says that there’s going to be enough and there is going to be enough. They’re going to be some individual limits on what can be purchased of essential items at one time. Buy for a week, don’t buy for a month. It is still going to be there. We’ll take one here.

Speaker 2: (35:00)
Governor, have you started to consider how you’ll use the national guard, if you’ll use the national guard and whether there’ll be called up in the next couple of days?

Andy Beshear: (35:10)
The question is, have we thought about how we’re going to use the national guard when and where? We are making plans for every contingency. We’ve even had a small group doing different things as we’ve moved forward. It’s going to be everything from helping. Once we are at a place where we can have those drive- up testing that everybody wants and everybody out there, I’m working towards it. Each and every day, the moment there is that capacity, my goal and my job is to be able to set up our end of that as quickly as possible. So you would see the national guard’s help once we are at a stage where we can do that. You will see the national guard at a stage, if we see a surge in cases, helping out in our hospitals and our other facilities. They are ready. They are good at their job and we appreciate them. A concerned citizen, physical therapy…

Andy Beshear: (36:03)
… shake them. So concerned citizen physical therapy and occupational therapy require close and personal contact. Folks, those are a public facing operation. We need them to close down as well. We know that that is difficult. We know that that is going to be tough. I have a child that has gone to OT and we know that there are ways virtually to provide some of those services, but again they are just additional steps that we have to take as a people. Next question from in here.

Speaker 3: (36:36)
Can you just clarify exactly the number today. Is there anything [inaudible 00:36:41]?

Andy Beshear: (36:45)
So, the numbers are going to change and have changed even while we’ve been in here. I believe that if I look at my last sheet and add one, that I believe we are at 35. And understand that as more labs get up and online and that’s a good thing. Every time there’s more capacity, it’s going to mean that it’s harder to have the numbers all at one time and sometimes when you have to confirm, the numbers may adjust a little bit. And while that may be less accurate, it will be better for all of us as that testing is increasing. Next one, are there any plans being discussed to help independent contractors financially? We are working on it. Right now, independent contractors that cannot operate, go sign up for Medicaid and anything else you qualify for. I know the challenge is unemployment. There’s an issue there with the federal government and federal law. We are working on it. We know these are extraordinary times and you are making amazing sacrifices. We are on it and we will do everything that we can.

Speaker 4: (38:03)
We have seen other states greatly increase the number of tests that they’re running. We’ve not seen that in Kentucky at this point. What is the problem here? Is it a lack of tests or is it a lack of labs out there to do those tests?

Andy Beshear: (38:17)
The question is they’ve seen more testing in other states. I will say that there is a greater view out there because you see some of them on TV for the number of drive up tests. That is actually the reality. They are occurring either in what they’re calling hotspots that the federal government has picked or they are occurring in places where they already have large labs that have repurposed and are able to do more. Kentucky thus far has not had a hotspot of the level of some that are out there and that’s a good thing, that we do expect to see more cases and we don’t have one of these large industrial labs in Kentucky like exists in a couple of other states. New Mexico is one where they have one. But with that said, we are working every single day to get there. We are planning every single day to get there and we want to be there as quickly as possible.

Andy Beshear: (39:20)
My goal is to get to a point where we can have a test for every single person who wants one, both for our emotional health and it helps us as a state in how we address. Until then, knowing that there are limited resources, even though there are more tests now than we had say even a week ago, we’ve got to remember that resources have to be there for our most vulnerable citizens. It’s a tough test. It’s a tough test at a time when we are all nervous, but I know we can pass it because we love those around us.

Andy Beshear: (39:53)
Let me get to another one. For Kentucky residents who are studying in another state, this is about unemployment. If you were working in another state, you do have to apply in that other state. Will there be a grace period for Medicaid? We answered that. Did Governor Beshear sign a letter to the federal government to delay Real ID? Yes, I did, but let me just, everybody out there, don’t worry about your Real ID. We’re past that. You shouldn’t be flying. You should not be flying. I’m sure the federal government will push it back, but that is also the least of our worries. We have closed our facilities. This is a time when we’ve got to do what you need to protect your family and friends. I will admit a month ago I was worried about Real ID. Now we’re just worried about keeping you safe. Morgan.

Morgan: (40:44)
Some places around the country are considering issuing shelter in place orders. Is that something that you’re planning for as a potential contingency and is that something people should be prepping for in the future here?

Andy Beshear: (40:55)
So the question is other areas are doing what’s called a shelter in place, a few of them, I should say. And is that something that we’re considering? First, folks, shelter in place sounds scary. I get it. And it’s a phrase that I wish people weren’t using because when you actually see what it is and what’s allowed, it’s very different. The shelters in place that are out there still allow you to take a walk when you need the exercise, to go get groceries, to shop for the absolute essentials. So even if there is a shelter in place, it wouldn’t mean that you would need to stockpile your kitchen. But here’s the thing, all it’s trying to do in those places is encouraging the social distancing that we are already trying to do. And the better we do with all that and the fewer exceptions we have with people that thinks that it doesn’t apply to them or their business or the rest, now then the less escalating steps that we have to take.

Andy Beshear: (41:55)
But as you hear that, and I know it’s on cable news, and don’t watch cable news all day and don’t look at the internet all day for your mental health. Understand that any step we take is still going to provide for you to be able to meet your basic needs. We’re not recommending that at the moment, but again, just limit those contacts. If you put up the graph one more time, do everything you can, the line graph, to help us not to be the business as usual blue curve, but the red curve.

Andy Beshear: (42:32)
Next question. The person from New York who tested positive in Fayette County, is that person still in Kentucky? No. Our understanding is that they are in New York. Do I believe that a quick revenue forecast should be conducted before the general assembly passes a budget? At this point, it would just be a guess and I don’t think anybody can predict exactly where our economy will be as we come out of this. What we need is one of two things by the general assembly. There are really only two responsible options. Number one, pass a budget, pass it as quickly as possible and go home. Don’t pass legislation that’s going to upset people. People are already on edge. We are not Democrats or Republicans right now. We are Americans that are battling the coronavirus and anything we do right now that pits people against each other is wrong, so we need a budget in case that this goes for a prolonged period. It would be helpful.

Andy Beshear: (43:35)
But if we can’t do that, go ahead and adjourn. And I will call the legislature back when it’s safe for those members. But I’ve said this before, I’m done playing politics. I’m not going to do any political dealing of this or that or what bills should be on. This is way past any of those things. We need everybody to get with the program. We need to do what’s right for our people. We only need the necessities right now. The budget, and if there’s anything specific you want to do to help with the coronavirus, do it. But I will tell you, I’ve already declared a state of emergency. We have a lot of flexibility and I’m going to use every single bit of it. Yes.

Speaker 5: (44:15)
Many low income immigrants don’t have access to healthcare or they don’t have social security numbers. So what is being done for those communities that don’t have?

Andy Beshear: (44:24)
It’s a question of low income immigrants that don’t have access to some of the services. Have them call us. Have them call the number associated with Medicaid or otherwise reach out to us. Our goal is to help everybody. Let me call up Secretary Freelander. This is social distancing.

Secretary Freelander: (44:49)
Right. Very good. Also, what I would say is we have some fantastic organizations in Kentucky, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Catholic Charities. Those are also people that can help and we work with them every day and we have been in communication. I’ve been in communication with both those organizations, so I would also encourage folks, if there’s not eligibility for some of our programs, we will work with those organizations to provide as many services as we possibly can.

Andy Beshear: (45:21)
Let me read two more here and we’ll take two more here. Are you or will you at any point mandate that public school teachers work from home? Again, we want to first recommend where we can as much work from home as possible. I do want to say for those teachers that are coming in or who need to come in, and you shouldn’t have to come in unless you need to, if it’s just you in a classroom, that is some social distancing that we would like to see from some other employers that are out there. So we will work to make sure as many of you can work from home as possible, but again, I don’t want you to be nervous.

Andy Beshear: (46:02)
Is a massage therapy or hairdresser who has only one employee and only sees one client at a time, can they still do business? No. No, because that allows it to spread from person to person and it is a close contact. And if you’re one of these folks, I’m sorry. I know the decisions I’m making are impacting you and businesses that you probably worked to start for a long time. And I want you to understand the gravity of that situation. As I said, I was a governor that ran on trying to create more opportunity for you, but right now I have one and only one objective, and that is to protect our people, their life and their health from this coronavirus. Mark, we’ll do three.

Mark: (46:49)
We received an email from an individual who said he was laid off. He went through the process to get unemployment and then according to this individual, when they checked with his employer, his employer said, “That’s not laid off. He simply has zero hours.” And this individual says that he was denied the unemployment. Are there situations where because of semantics or because of a weird status with employment, they may not qualify for benefits and what’s your advice to those people? Should they come back and keep trying?

Andy Beshear: (47:14)
So the question here was about an individual email that went to one of our reporters about a person that tried to go through the unemployment process thinking they were laid off and then their employer said they weren’t laid off, they just had zero hours. Guys, let’s not play semantics. That individual needs the unemployment that they can get. We are at a point now where we ought to be encouraging all of those that have been laid off or can’t go to work to get unemployment. I know that sounds strange. We are at that point. Let’s make sure we’re looking out for each other. Let’s not do things that make it harder for each other. So, send those individuals our way. We’ll make sure that we have points of contact for them. We want to help everybody on the whole, but we also want to help individuals that are being treated unfairly.

Andy Beshear: (48:05)
One thing I’d ask out there, as we’ve got a lot of people who need help, we want to help every single one of you. We need you to have patience as we’re having to build up the capacity to do that. I know having patience at a time of anxiety, especially with the person that has had to put out the orders that have had this impact is hard, but again, it’s what we have to do. It’s our test of being a good neighbor and remember that fear or panic or anger are all things that can do more harm than this coronavirus will. So we’ve got those two things we’re battling. We’ve got the coronavirus and maybe we even have the worst parts of ourselves. Let’s make sure we beat both of them. Do you have one more?

Mark: (48:50)
What exactly is our testing capacity at this point and are we running at capacity?

Andy Beshear: (48:55)
Well, we now have, I believe at least four labs that are up. One is commercial. Its capacity at any given day is something that is different. It’s based on the whole rest of the country. We have U of L doing some and their capacity is increasing as it comes. We have our state lab and as we continue to move forward, our hope is that we have enough testing capacity that’s created out there to where we are basically where reports come into and we’re the clearing house. That capacity changes every day, but it’s not where we want it to be. It is not at a point where we can have tests for everyone anytime they want it, but I am committed to getting there. Until then, let’s use our resources wisely. Let’s make sure the sickest get the help that they need. Do you have one more?

Speaker 3: (49:42)
This question is based off what I’m seeing from my colleagues on Twitter who are keeping an eye on what’s happening in the legislature. One of them quoted a representative who said that we risk causing hysteria by saying that we cannot meet or that representatives can not meet to do business at this time. Can you respond to that?

Andy Beshear: (49:59)
The question is apparently a legislator said that we could cause hysteria if the legislature didn’t meet at this time. I’m not sure anybody’s going to be concerned if the legislature doesn’t meet at this time. Listen, the legislature does important work. I don’t mean to make light of it. We need a budget. We need anything helpful they want to provide to me to manage this crisis. Otherwise they need to go home. And if they don’t believe that they can do that, and I at least hear that they’re trying. So I’m not trying to denigrate anybody’s efforts or say anything specific about any individual, but those are just the only options as they are right now. And I’m not doing any back and forths. I’m done with that. It’s where I am as governor right now. I’m battling the coronavirus. I don’t care if the person is in my party or the other party. I’m just not doing it.

Andy Beshear: (50:56)
We are in a situation where we are all called on to do our patriotic duty. No more politics. Not one more minute. I want to thank everybody. For those at home, again, it’s incredibly important, especially as it seems like there’s more anxiety today and people are using different and sometimes more inflammatory terms, especially on cable news and the like. Just make sure you stay calm. You remember that 80% of people are going to be just fine who are dealing with this. That we understand that we’ve got to protect each other as we go. If you’re one of the 80%, and I’m probably one of those 80%, that would be just fine if they got this, remember those that aren’t. Make sure you’re not exposing others because you might have this.

Andy Beshear: (51:45)
This is a test of who we are as Kentuckians. We care about each other and we’re having to prove it. Now it is the most unique different test that we have ever faced in that it requires us to use our compassion to stay apart from each other, but that’s what protects people out there. I know we can rise to this challenge. I know it. And I’m going to be here every single day that it takes to make sure we get through it. We will. Let’s just protect our other Kentuckians until we get there. Thank y’all.

Speaker 6: (52:18)
Thank you.