Apr 15, 2020
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 15
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear held a coronavirus press conference April 15. Read the full transcript of all updates here.
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Andy Beshear: (00:00)
At least six feet apart and this isn’t an excuse to get together and stay six feet apart. It’s about when you are out jogging or getting exercise, when you’re in the grocery store, make sure that you have that distance. Make sure you know when to seek care. You can look on our website and you can see the guidance for that. kycovid19.ky.gov is your source for all accurate information. We’ll talk about this later, but there are versions of the site in virtually every language including Spanish. Wash your hands. Don’t cheat, 20 seconds, soap and water each time, and make sure you’re cleaning surfaces every single day. It’s very important to kill this virus on the surfaces that it can last on. Apply for benefits. We have more people applying, especially for unemployment than ever before. We need you to apply for Medicaid too. It’s going to help all of our healthcare providers and it’s going to help us get through this.
Andy Beshear: (00:57)
On the unemployment front, I know that we have processed more claims than ever before in our history. I know we’re providing more dollars than ever before in our history, but if you were waiting, you shouldn’t have to be, and we’re working really hard. Talk to somebody, I’m sorry, Josh Button, I reached out and had him call somebody directly today. It’s featured in one of the newspapers about how long that she had had to wait. Her checks coming tomorrow. It had already been approved or her approval is coming tomorrow. I understand. I understand how frustrated she and so many of you all are. This is my responsibility. We’re going to make it right and I’m sorry it’s taken so long. Prioritize your mental health. This is a real important one for me and for you. Let’s make sure we get through this in a way where we are strong, where we come out of it ready to do the work to rebuild our economy and we will, let’s make sure that we are keeping ourselves in a good place.
Andy Beshear: (01:53)
Don’t travel and don’t present an opportunity for other people to travel to where you are. Whether that’s counties or states, that spreads the Corona virus, it’s not helpful. And finally make sure you report noncompliance. So those are our 10 steps to defeat the coronavirus. We always talk about one more, make sure you complete your census. Now the census, provides significant dollars for every person, every person that fills this out to the States. When we talk about having to rebuild our economy, we are leaving dollars on the table if every family across Kentucky doesn’t fill out this census. And let’s look at the dashboard on where we are. I’m proud of how we did. From my call yesterday, we went up half a percentage point, but we only went up one spot from 18 to 17. Folks if 3% of Kentuckians fill out their census before five o’clock tomorrow, we’ll be in the top 10. That’s just 3% of us. I know that we can do better.
Andy Beshear: (03:01)
And you look, you can see the rankings by county and by cities. Spencer County doing absolutely great work, but I know even Spencer County and Boone County and Oldham County can do better. This is really important for the work that we’re going to have to put in over the months ahead to make sure that we don’t just restart our economy, we revive it when we are at that point. The other thing we ask you to do every day, and I think it’s something special that keeps us all going when we’re down, we can look at in Kentucky on social media when we’re just needing a little extra support or when we want to see the type of behavior that needs to be emulated all over Kentucky. Here are some of those examples. These are the hashtags that we use.
Andy Beshear: (03:51)
All right. This is Taylor Mill, the city practicing social distancing. This is law enforcement and notice he is protecting himself and engaging in social distancing. We appreciate all our first responders all across Kentucky and what they’re called to do. All right. It took me a little while to get this up, but this is Brenda Allen from the city of Campbellsville. They lit their whole downtown up green. This is honoring the families that have been lost showing compassion and renewal. It’s also showing unity. Folks, not everybody is going to agree with the steps that we have to take, but we have to take them. There’s no Democrat or Republican, it’s just Americans versus the Coronavirus. And we know regardless of the noise that we’re in this together and we’re going to win it together.
Andy Beshear: (04:40)
And you’re seeing things like this all over Kentucky. I’ve never seen something like this in my lifetime. It’s because we care about each other and we’re going to pass that test of humanity and we are the good neighbors that we have been called upon to be. All right, here’s the Bourbon County courthouse and again, we put different counties up every single day, but in all 120 counties, there are green lights. In almost every neighborhood there are green lights. I saw a picture of an apartment complex where almost every balcony has a green light. That’s because we love each other and we’re trying to do the right thing as we get through this.
Andy Beshear: (05:23)
All right. This is the donations again, this is a Breeder’s Cup of PPE. We talked yesterday about what we have on hand. Actually, we got some pretty big shipments in just yesterday and we’ll provide some updates on that. I think we more than doubled our K95 masks that we have, but this is the major way that it comes in. It comes from Kentuckians, knowing what we’re fighting is the challenge of our lifetime and giving up the supplies that they have. It is the selfless we’re all in it together attitude that we are seeing from everybody. Who knew that the crisis of our lifetimes, the challenge that we face would mainly just call on us to be the best human beings that we can be? And we’re passing that test.
Andy Beshear: (06:13)
Yeah, and here’s again, this is outside the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience. By the way, all of our distillers doing such a great job in the amount of hand sanitizer they’re putting out, it’s really incredible. But here’s for the helpers, the healers and the heroes. And for all of our health care professionals, for all of our first responders, for our grocery store workers, for those utility workers that are out there right now, making sure that we can be healthy at home. For all the kids that are sacrificing for not being in person classes. For everybody out there that would otherwise be going to work. For all the small businesses where you don’t know if you’re going to be able to reopen when this is over. You’re in this too. You are the heroes that are getting us through this. And it’ll be amazing to look back and say that everybody did their duty. Everybody was a hero and that’s how we save lives.
Andy Beshear: (07:15)
All right, so it’s this so important to make sure that we are continuing and what they call NTI, nontraditional instruction. The ability to be learning at home and keep our kids intellectually involved. Our school systems have done an amazing job. All 120 counties are doing this and it helps to create a level of normalcy with kids that are experiencing this anxiety too. Oh, and this is again, a letter carrier here in Kentucky whose neighbor knowing what she was doing each and every day made her a mask. This is actually being a good neighbor, not just metaphorically but quite literally. And here next we’ve got a little something that I think Virginia has taught us and we’ve seen our frontline healthcare workers doing it and videos today all over social media.
Speaker 1: (08:13)
We will get through this together.
Andy Beshear: (08:22)
This is Norton, a hospital system that has been doing a great job like so many others, but I will tell you that this isn’t the only video like this today. When you fill up social media, when you’re doing the right things, I want you to know that those health care providers see it and they feel it and when they have to go in that next day after a difficult day, knowing that they may expose themselves, knowing that they will expose themselves to the Coronavirus, once you put out on social media, you say to them, the things that you do, they matter. They matter. They help lift up people in a very difficult situation doing something that we need them to do. Make sure that you keep doing this. It’s almost like we have everyday heroes in this and the opportunity for heroism is more possible now for all of us than we ever thought would happen. All right, now we have another video. We’ve had a number of coaches from around the Commonwealth that have encouraged us to be doing the right things and to help with the Team Kentucky fund. Here’s the newest.
Coach Stoops: (09:34)
Hey, Team Kentucky. This is Coach Stoops. As you know, all of us have had to come together to defeat our new opponent in COVID-19. This opponent attacks all of us and it preys on the most vulnerable. Any coach will tell you, in order to have success, you have to execute the game plan. And our game plan is this. Stay healthy and stay home and keep a safe distance from family and loved ones. That is how you win. That is how you defeat the Coronavirus. But much like a team, you also need a strong supporting cast.
Coach Stoops: (10:09)
That is why the governor and the Team Kentucky Fund has put together an initiative and a fundraiser and you could donate to this cause at donate.ky.gov. Once again, that’s donate.ky.gov. Some Kentuckians are being hit so much harder than others and they need our support. Please join Chantelle and I in the governor’s initiative to raise funds for these folks. We thank you all so much for what you’ve done. All the people on the front lines, all the people that are working so hard to keep us safe. We greatly appreciate you. And once again, please help these Kentuckians in need. And God bless you to stay safe. Thank you.
Andy Beshear: (10:57)
And when Coach Stoops sent me that video yesterday, he committed to giving directly to the fund from him and his wife as well. We appreciate him and everybody else that has supported. Now is a new thing that we’ve been doing the last, especially a couple of days. And I will tell you, we have seen a great response, especially from our young Kentuckians. And that is when we learn a little bit of sign language each day, again, believing everybody, everybody should be included.
Okay. Today I think we’re going to be talking about the one thing that the governor says periodically is you can’t be doing that. So there’s different ways of doing it and facial expression is your grammar. So you can’t be doing that. And it’s in your face too, so you can’t be doing that.
Andy Beshear: (11:58)
One more time.
You can’t be doing that. So your eyebrows might be knitted when you say that.
Andy Beshear: (12:07)
Well thank you to Virginia and it is really amazing to see, we’ve got a lot of children that watch this. This is something that they are living through as well and this gives all of us an opportunity to be more inclusive, to make sure that we can communicate and include all Kentuckians. But I really wonder if one thing that’s coming out of this is more people that are going to not only have an interest in, but master sign language to include everybody else and that’s something I certainly hope will happen.
Andy Beshear: (12:41)
All right. I wanted to take a few minutes to talk directly to our fellow Kentuckians in Eastern Kentucky today. While dealing with this Coronavirus has been a lot for all of us, many of our fellow Kentuckians have had repeated hits this year and I want you to know that I’m thinking about you. Not only are our neighbors and Leslie, Knot, Perry and Letcher counties and other hard hit areas in Eastern Kentucky fighting the Coronavirus, but earlier today they still had more than 42,000 Kentuckians without power and water after they were hit with powerful storms.
Andy Beshear: (13:17)
Your local leaders let us know the Kentucky Power and Cumberland Valley RACC had been working nonstop with city and County officials since Sunday night. I want to thank all of those that are working, all of the local leaders for responding in such a difficult time. Nearly 500 Kentucky power personnel are already working to address the outages. Our emergency management team is also assisting, but let me say to those that are providing leadership and services in Eastern Kentucky and also to all those tough residents that are taking this at the same time that we are fighting the Coronavirus, I appreciate you, I appreciate you. And I want to note that everybody even in that circumstance is still doing what they can to flatten the curve. One house in Perry County, even though it was on a generator power last night, still had a green light on display for all of those that had been lost in this virus. How thoughtful in such dark times after a disaster like that to be looking out for other people. That’s the example of why we are where we are in flattening this curve. All right, so a couple of big announcements today. The first is while we have been working with Ohio and Indiana and directly with governor Holcomb and DeWine, as we have taken steps that we have taken, we’re announcing today that we’re going to continue that cooperation in planning how we will eventually ease restrictions and open up the economy. You’ve seen these announcements and other places, and we’ve already been doing this work, but I may be underestimating how-
Andy Beshear: (15:03)
… important it is for you Kentuckians to know the steps and the planning that we are taking to make sure that, first of all, we do this thoughtfully. We do it thoughtfully to make sure that we don’t see a reemergence of the virus. And regionally it is so critical, because if you live in Northern Kentucky, and Cincinnati is right across the river, we got to make sure that we are working together to make sure that one area on top of the virus and the other brings it in, and vice versa. The same with so many counties that share a border with Indiana. These two governors and I have been on a call at least once a week and let me tell you they care about their people.
Andy Beshear: (15:44)
There hadn’t been one political moment in it. Just three people trying to do the best they can, surrounded by teams trying to do the best that they can. In the end, each state will have to sign off on any of their plans. None of us are going to relinquish our obligation to serve our people. But we believe that these three states have been doing a good job in what we face with the Corona coronavirus, and that our experience is very similar. And so by doing this we believe that we can have a more effective eventual opening of different parts of our economy. And I’m going to talk on Friday about the metrics that we’ll be looking at to know when we can start taking some of those steps and easing restrictions. The things we’ll be looking at and what will be guiding us tomorrow, on Thursday, we will be talking about additional testing opportunities. And that will be pretty exciting too. All right. So with that announcement, let’s talk a little bit about where we are.
Andy Beshear: (16:50)
I want to talk first about where we are in comparison to other states, because the work you’ve been doing has been phenomenal. But remember, we still believe we are in the escalation. So we’ve got to keep at it. I know we want to talk a lot about what comes after, but I don’t want to be that coach that comes in at halftime in a very difficult game and starts telling you how we’re going to play the next game. That we continue to do all of that planning, but then at the same time we make sure that we are laser focused on saving lives. So if we can look at us versus other states. Again, this is normalized by population. And look at what you’re doing, what you’re doing there is making sure we have the healthcare capacity to protect one another.
Andy Beshear: (17:40)
I’ve never been more proud to be your governor, based on the sacrifices that you have made for your fellow human being. Look at that. And for those that think that we shouldn’t have taken the steps that we have and that everything should just be open and people should be walking around, look at the difference. This is normalized by population. Look at New York or New Jersey. Look at so many other states. And you know what they’re experiencing that we’re not? They’re experiencing significantly more deaths and significantly more cases, even normalized by population. Folks, this is what sacrifice does. And I know some don’t want to make the sacrifice, but the rest of us are going to be willing to do what it takes to protect our fellow human being. We have got to keep this up. We have not reached the peak here in Kentucky. And while models are very different, all of us, all of us agree on that.
Andy Beshear: (18:32)
So we are not at halftime, we are not. And we are going to win this game. We’re going to get through this together. Let’s make sure that we are focused and that we don’t let being anxious to get out and to do different things, ultimately lead to the death of more Kentuckians.I want to look at Philadelphia versus St. Louis for a very important reason. So when we look at that again, and I know it’s been a while. In Philadelphia, you see how the cases spike up, there is a huge amount of harm. And then because there have been so many cases so fast, the surge has overwhelmed everything, the virus dies out a little bit faster. But you know what? You’ve lost a lot of people when that happens. But when we look at St. Louis, a couple of things, first, you’re in it a little bit longer. And you’re in it a little bit longer, like we’re going to be in this a little longer than some of the states that spiked first, because you’re doing the right thing and you’re protecting people.
Andy Beshear: (19:40)
But for those that are just really eager and anxious, and I get it, to try to go back to where we were before. I want you to look at the second spike in St. Louis, that killed more people than the initial one. And so when we look at how we flatten the curve right now… If we don’t do this right, folks, if we don’t follow public health officials and we just willy-nilly make the changes and reopen everything and let let everything go back like we don’t have the coronavirus out there, look at what happens. You lose more people based on that decision to not stick with it the right way, than otherwise would have happened. And if we can look at Louisville, which just the last one. Again I believe we’re more like St. Louis in the first part, but if you have the commitment then you can make sure that that resurgence ultimately does not cause the harm that we want to prevent.
Andy Beshear: (20:45)
So, I know we’ve been at this a long time, but you view this like we’re at half halftime. Right? And that we are fighting tooth and toenail, as our friend Rocky Atkins likes to say, to make sure we defeat this virus. Let’s keep our eye on the ball. Let’s make sure we keep going, because that’s how we win, and winning is saving lives. All of this is saving lives and you are doing it. You are all going to be able to look back and say you did things that saved lives directly. All right. One quick testing update and then we have another big announcement. Frankfurt where our Kroger testing partnership has now been going on for three days, new total day one we had a hundred 100 people tested, day two we had 183 people tested. And right now, at least when we were coming out here, we were at about 155 today. That’s really positive. That’s going in and adding to our overall numbers in the state. We have to increase our testing capacity.
Andy Beshear: (21:57)
King County, today being the first day was over 201 people tested as I was coming out to do this. And significant signups going all the way through there four days. So I believe that partnership is going well. I believe that testing is going well. And we will announce more sites. The sites that we will be doing next week, there’ll be four of them. We will be announcing those tomorrow. All right, so our next announcement is also a pretty exciting one and it is a partnership between the State of Kentucky, Louisville Metro Government, the Christina Lee Brown Environmental Institute, and the University of Louisville, which will be doing this special work. UofL hospital is going to be in the first stage of a unique testing regimen, starting with frontline healthcare workers designed to save lives and hopefully to provide a type of test that we can get people back to work maybe a little bit faster. As we look at what the future looks like. It’s called the co immunity project.
Andy Beshear: (23:09)
The three key elements are first comprehensive testing centered on antibodies and focused on our healthcare workers. It’ll test for antibodies for those that have been infected in the past and may have developed immunity. So the thought here is, and again we’re still waiting to see this, but if you have levels of immunity and you’ve had it before, it may mean that we can get you out doing things either to help people or ultimately as we’re able to start reopening parts of our economy. We know that certain folks are safer having gone through it. The second element is a lab that allows them to identify subjects with not just large amounts of antibodies, but strong neutralizing antibodies who can be chosen as donors of plasma to treat our sickest patients. And the third step will be to establish a pool of high quality donor plasma that can be used to treat our sickest patients.
Andy Beshear: (24:01)
And tonight to talk about this partnership, we have President Bendapudi, from the University of Louisville. And let me just say like so many other partners out there, has been trying to innovate, to work, they’ve gotten their lab and its ability to test and the amounts, up significantly. Very significantly since the beginning of this. I know care has been an instrumental part of what we’re doing. President Bendapudi.
President Bendapudi: (24:35)
Thank you so very much Governor Beshear for this opportunity. I’d like to say that through the Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute at the University of Louisville, we are trying to promote a holistic view of health. This group, working with the Louisville health care CEO council, has been able to leverage a partnership that’s unique across three hospital systems. So I want to make sure that I thank, in addition to Cedric Francoise and Tammy York Day of LFCC, the Baptist CEO, Jerry Coleman, Norton CEO of Ross Cox, and UofL Health CEO Tom Miller. As well as of course the local and state government officials.
President Bendapudi: (25:19)
This, as you said, is a unique opportunity for us to leverage all of the research capabilities of the University of Louisville. From our Center for Infectious Diseases to our Center for Predictive Medicine, which has one of only 12 level three BSL labs. So we are very eager to try to work with the entire population, first of all to protect our healthcare workers and then everybody in the community. And hopefully from Louisville we are able to take this and extend it to enhancing the health of the entire Commonwealth. So thank you very much governor.
Andy Beshear: (25:59)
We greatly appreciate this partnership. We really look forward to it’s potential. Next I want to briefly thank… And there’s lots of people out there to thank. But we have eight new volunteers, a mix of med school and nursing students headed out to help so many out there that need additional help right now. They’re going to Hopkins and Lyon County to help in specific areas. These are people answering the call. Right? This is the reason I think that they decided to go into medicine, to go into nursing, to help their fellow human being. And we want to thank them so much for what they’re doing. Next we’re going to have an update on the field hospital at the fairgrounds. And given it is being put together by the National Guard. We have our adjutant general, General Hal Lamberton, here. Our Guard is the best in the country. And we have seen that based on their work in this. General, I’m so proud of you and I’m so proud of all of our Guard’s men and women.
General Hal Lamberton: (27:16)
Thank you governor, I appreciate it. And just to share with each of you… At this junction, I’m sure many of you are aware, but at our governor’s decision as just mentioned, we’ve been into the process of converting the Louisville Fairgrounds Convention and Exposition Center into a hospital setting. Or what I call an acute care facility. And at this moment it is operational. We currently have 250 beds there. We have the potential of expanding that, should the need arise with it. And the governor mentioned the hospital capacity in our areas previously, that the intent of this acute care facility is if there’s a need and there’s an overflow at our local hospitals in the Louisville area, that this is a means to send some of the light medical care, COVID-19 afflicted patients. We can’t wait until that need is already there. We’ve got to have this prepared in advance of the need, thus the operational date now, well ahead.
General Hal Lamberton: (28:23)
And as the governor’s also alluded to that he mentioned… And thanks, I appreciate your comments about the Guard and the quality of the men and the women we have in it but it sure as heck was a collaborative effort more than just your Kentucky National Guard, but it involved the National Guard, emergency management, the Department of Public Health, Homeland Security, and numerous other organizations at the city, local county and state level. Quite simply, this is not only a all of government type of response, but it’s an all of community type of response. Thanks sir.
Andy Beshear: (29:02)
Andy Beshear: (29:06)
So right now, this field hospital doesn’t just have the beds, it has showers, other facilities, and even a pharmacy. So is ready to go when needed. One of the most important things in dealing with the pandemic is you have things ready before they are needed. If you wait until the surge is already there, then the harm has been done. All right. The next piece, and it as promised, is about our Team Kentucky Fund. So many folks that have been coming together to try to help their fellow human being. And we have a special guest that we’re going to bring in by Skype to talk us through what we’re doing. Hello, Jacqueline.
Jacqueline Coleman: (29:54)
Hello Governor. Hello, team Kentucky. I hope everyone is doing well, staying healthy at home tonight. I have some great news to share with the state about the-
Jacqueline Coleman: (30:03)
… team Kentucky fund. First of all, I have recruited five co-chairs to serve as the team that leads the charge here and it is a bipartisan group of folks that you might recognize because they have all held my position as Lieutenant governor in the past. So, our co-chairs are Jerry Abramson, Steve Henry, Crit Luallen, Steve Pence, and Dan Mongiardo. A second exciting announcement is that we are going to be partnering with Community Action of Kentucky and we’re going to be partnering with this group because they have a long history of impactful work and this organization is going to serve as the hands and feet of this mission. We will have an application process that will be released in the coming days and we are working really diligently to make sure that the Team Kentucky fund is well organized, accessible, and equitable to all Kentuckians on Team Kentucky.
Andy Beshear: (31:04)
All right. Jacqueline, we appreciate your work. To date, we have raised $1.9 million to the Team Kentucky fund. More than 7,000 people have donated. Most of the donations were less than a hundred dollars. We’ve also had some businesses and private donors step up with gifts from $10,000 to the $1 million announcement we had from the Kentucky Colonels just yesterday. So, a couple of different things. The folks that have contributed. HealthTech Solutions, we appreciate your $25,000. We had the Lexington Bluegrass Association of Realtors give $50,000 today. LG&E came through with $100,000 for us and Bret Walker and Emilee Stites, in cooperation with Teespring Inc, who are operating besheargear.com, have already generated $65,000 for the fund. Jacqueline, you want to talk about some of the ways this money may be spent? Rent and other utility help?
Jacqueline Coleman: (32:09)
Yes. So, the Community Action of Kentucky has a system already in place where they support our fellow Kentuckians through uses like rent and mortgage, utilities, and food and groceries for folks who need it. So, that is the work that we will continue to do and we will luckily be able to take these funds and expand it even further to every corner of Kentucky.
Andy Beshear: (32:36)
I want to thank everybody for their generosity in this because nobody’s personal finances are in a positive place as we go through this. thinking about the fact that people would donate already 1.9 million to help out their fellow human being is once again passing that test of humanity. Thank you, Jacqueline.
Jacqueline Coleman: (33:00)
Thank you, Governor.
Andy Beshear: (33:01)
All right, so now we’re going to move into the numbers for today and the numbers for today are going to be a little different. We are moving into a new reporting system where we don’t have all of the data from today in. Our hope is that the new system, which is updated, allows us to have some more accurate data as we go. So, today, and this number is understated, we have 88 new cases of the Coronavirus and when you remove duplicates and others, our total number is 2,291. We know there are at least 50 cases, 50 positives that that came in today, that haven’t been imported into this number so we know it is significantly higher.
Andy Beshear: (33:53)
New cases by County are 11 from Daviess, 7 from Hopkins, 7 from Jefferson, 6 from Boone, 4 from Calloway, Campbell, and Graves, 3 from Jackson, 2 from Adair, Carter, Christian, Fayette, Garrard, Grant, Kenton, Muhlenberg, Oldham, Shelby, Todd, and Warren, and then 1 from Allen, Ballard, Bracken, Breckinridge, Bullitt, Butler, Floyd, Hardin, Laurel, Lincoln, Marion, McCracken, Pike, Rockcastle, Webster, and Woodford. So, what we know is that we are still in that escalation and that is absolutely everywhere. We have tested at least 28,324 Kentuckians. 807 have ever been hospitalized. 412 are currently hospitalized. Let’s be thinking about those 412 people tonight. 367 have ever been in the ICU and folks, we have 252 people currently in the ICU. That’s an intensive care unit. That’s the most people that we have ever had in the ICU at one time. So, know that Kentuckians out there are in harm’s way and we are doing everything we can and our hospitals are to help them.
Andy Beshear: (35:20)
Here’s the great news today. We have 862 Kentuckians that we can confirm have recovered. That number has jumped a bunch, meaning a bunch of people have gotten better and so we are really excited about that. I don’t know on the broadcast there’s some noise in the background. We do have some folks up here in Kentucky today and everybody should be able to express their opinion. They believe we should reopen Kentucky immediately right now. Folks, that would kill people. It would absolutely kill people. We know we’re not to that point. Even New York, with what they’ve been through is not to that point. So, my job isn’t to make the popular decision, but the right decision and the decision that saves people’s lives because today we’ve got a report that we have lost seven more people to the coronavirus. Seven Kentuckians who are loved by their families, who are loved by their communities.
Andy Beshear: (36:21)
These seven people are a loss to all of us, so let’s make sure that we light our houses up green tonight, our places of business. Let’s make sure that we ring our bells at 10:00 AM tomorrow. Seven Kentuckians that added to everything else are 122 deaths related to this coronavirus thus far. How it breaks down is a 93-year-old female from Jefferson, a 65-year-old male we don’t have a county on at the moment, a 48-year-old male in Simpson County, an 88-year-old female in Jefferson, a 93-year-old female in Jefferson, a 94-year-old female from Hopkins, and an 89-year-old female from Jefferson County. Again, those are six folks. Hopkins has been hit again and I know how hard it has been for them, so to all the families that are out there, we care very much about you.
Andy Beshear: (37:27)
How the racial and ethnicity breakdown to total cases. We have 74% of all cases the data on races, it is 80.62% white, 11.63% black or African American, 2.68% Asian, and 4.93% multiracial. Ethnicity of overall cases, we know 66%. 93.41% non-Hispanic, 6.59% Hispanic. Our death rate continues to be really problematic, especially when we look at the racial breakdown and we’ve been on calls today and we’re working on some plans to do what we can to address this. It’s based on hundreds of years of inequality and healthcare inequality, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do everything we can to address it right now. So, of the racial breakdown on deaths, we know 82%. of that, 77% white, 22% black or African American, 1% Asian, and as we go to the ethnicity, 98.99% of deaths have been non-Hispanic and 1% have been Hispanic. So, again, those are some concerning numbers just like all these numbers we face are concerning.
Andy Beshear: (39:01)
So, again, remember to everybody out there that’s lost somebody today or has somebody in the ICU or has somebody in the hospital or who is otherwise in a hospital bed, let’s send all of our thoughts and our prayers to them. And let’s remember that every time we reduce our contacts and all the sacrifices that we’re making, whether it’s not going to work, whether it’s not going to a crowd, whether it’s not engaging in a mass gathering, what you are doing is saving lives. All right, we’ll move into questions now. We have, I think, four of our reporters here. We have Phil Pendleton, Joe Ragusa, Joe Sonka, and Mike Valente and I think I made you go last, last time didn’t I, Joe? All right, we’ll start you off first.
Speaker 4: (39:49)
I hope you can hear me over-
Andy Beshear: (39:52)
I can hear you.
Speaker 4: (39:52)
But I wanted to ask you about those protesters. They were talking about telling businesses to open back up in defiance of your orders and you can obviously hear them outside. What’s your message to them?
Andy Beshear: (40:04)
Well, the question’s about some protestors that are here today in the Capitol. They want businesses reopened immediately and that would cause the death of more Kentuckians. Listen, Kentuckians out there are noble and have engaged in this sacrifice. Understand what’s on the line and want to protect everybody else out there. And remember we’re following the White House guidelines. White House guidelines have asked us to take the steps that we have made even though we made them oftentimes a little bit earlier in this. We’re in conformance with the suggestions not only of the White House but of our neighbors. We talk about Ohio and Indiana that are led by governors from different parties. There is not partisanship in this. It’s just us doing what it takes to protect people. And it’s a fact, an absolute fact that this thing, this virus, spreads quickly and is deadly.
Andy Beshear: (41:07)
All you have to do is take a look at the numbers today, especially in our nursing home facilities. We could put those up. I didn’t do this update, but in our longterm care facilities, just today we’re reporting an additional 39 total cases. That’s 10 more staff. I’m sorry, it’s 39 more residents, 10 more staff, and 3 more deaths. So, every time that there’s an opportunity for more contacts, every time that people engage in a mass gathering, what happens is it’s more likely that this gets into our nursing homes where people have been really harmed. This is where the virus comes, this is who it comes for, and we’ve got to do everything we can to protect them. I think I heard that at least one legislator today said we should open up visitations in our nursing homes. I mean, that would ravage them.
Andy Beshear: (42:04)
That is a very dangerous suggestion. While we’re doing this, let’s show the Green River Correctional Complex. I believe we have six additional cases to report. Two more inmates, four more staff. That’s why we’re taking the actions that we are taking. And then in Western State, we have three total cases additional, which are three new staff. All right. Several outlets are calling for a response to the federal lawsuit filed by a couple of folks who attended a church service in Bullitt County alleging our orders against mass gatherings violate people’s rights to free exercise of religion. Folks, here in Kentucky, there are so many different ways to worship and all but one church in this Commonwealth are engaged in them.
Andy Beshear: (42:58)
You can do it virtually and you can do it in a drive-in service and in many states, they are not allowing those drive-in services like we are. So, this work, this opportunity to worship, which is so important, is still there. We just ask people to choose one of the versions that doesn’t spread the coronavirus and I think that’s what our faith calls us to do. Yes?
Speaker 5: (43:21)
This would be considered a mass gathering, correct?
Andy Beshear: (43:23)
Well, I think outside our door we do have a lot of people that have gotten together and are close. Right now, I think that they are out there. Hopefully, they are distanced from each other, but still, no one should be engaged in a mass gathering.
Speaker 5: (43:42)
Andy Beshear: (43:44)
Well, if there isn’t social distancing, they’re spreading the coronavirus and that’s really concerning.
Andy Beshear: (43:56)
All mass gatherings we can’t be doing. So, how much is the state losing each day the economy is shut down? Oh, I mean, the state has a real challenge right now in what’s going to happen with our budget. And we have every governor, all 50 right now, that are working on pushing the federal government to make sure that we can get the type of budget help that we need to make sure that we don’t take a recession and make it worse. Yeah?
Speaker 6: (44:27)
In regards to [inaudible 00:14:33], people are reporting symptoms but doctors are not testing them and just telling them to self-isolate. Is there any tracking of these cases, suspected cases, that have not been tested but are still being told to quarantine as though they have it?
Andy Beshear: (44:52)
So, the question is, there are some individuals that have symptoms, but hopefully they are healthy enough in a place where their doctors, without testing, are asking them to self-quarantine. And that’s really-
Andy Beshear: (45:03)
… important when somebody can do that so that that test is available for somebody who is in a more difficult situation. We don’t currently have the ability to track that, but what it does say is that there is significantly more of the Coronavirus out there than certainly our numbers show.
Andy Beshear: (45:24)
All right. Is there going to be an effort or additional steps to make the briefing more accessible to Spanish speakers in Kentucky? All right. Since Friday, March 6th, our website, KYCOVID19.KY.gov has had a Google translate option to over a hundred different languages. Since March 6th, all of our briefings are on a YouTube channel. They can be turned into 50 different languages. We launched the COVID-19 Spanish website on the 27th. We’re working with two Spanish speaking radio stations that broadcast this or at least a summary of it every day and a number of other steps that we are taking that we will put out there. Phil.
The N95 masks, can you talk about what the data and is it something that businesses or manufacturers can make those because everyone is definitely in danger.
Andy Beshear: (46:27)
Right. It’s difficult. Dr. Stack, the question is what the N95 masks are made of and why it’s so hard to manufacture these here in Kentucky. And we have folks that are working on it, but the materials in them make it a real challenge.
Dr. Stack: (46:46)
Thanks. Now, I’m a medical doctor. I don’t want to misrepresent that I’m a engineer and I design these, but in your air conditioning systems, they have filters that go in the HVHC in your house. Essentially, the filters that are in these N95 masks are really, really highly refined filters so they can filter very microscopic little particles from getting into you so if you breathe and wear these.
Dr. Stack: (47:13)
And I did an interview with Renee Shaw for KET on Monday and I talked with them as I was leaving. One of their staff was wearing a mask and was commenting how hard it was to breathe through them. And her mask was like one of those painter’s masks that was rigid on the front, but it was not sealed all the way around. So, these N95s have this very, very finely refined material that’s hard to manufacture, so you can’t just do it in a regular factory. And when you wear it, you have to be fit tested for it so there is no air that gets around the outer seal and then you’re essentially breathing through the filter itself and it’s very hard and uncomfortable to breathe through that for hour after hour. But we can’t manufacture them because the material that’s the filter material is really highly specialized and requires special machines and special fabrication techniques.
Andy Beshear: (48:09)
All right. Is governor where that stimulus checks can be seized by private debt collectors, including banks and thus not get to the people they’re intended to help? If that’s accurate, we need to take some steps to address it. We need to make sure that people have these dollars right now to help in the challenge they’re going through. Joe.
The regional partnership with Iowa and Indiana, I noticed Tennessee isn’t on there. I know we have the longest worker. Why isn’t Tennessee not on there?
Andy Beshear: (48:38)
Ah, so it’s a good question. It’s when we talk about the regional partnership or collaboration, we have Indiana and Ohio, but not Tennessee. And that’s because the steps that we have taken and the time that we have taken them has been very much in line with Ohio and Indiana and I’ve got a personal relationship there with both governors having known one when we were attorney generals to where the lines of communication are just really positive and we all know we share the same commitment. That’s not to suggest that Tennessee might not have, but this is the partnership where we know that we can share knowledge and share resources and that the partnership is working. All right.
Andy Beshear: (49:19)
Amazon notified employees at the LEX2 facility in Lexington on Tuesday of another confirmed COVID-19 case at the facility. Given the company’s designation as essential business, it’s what steps are going to continue? So, we have new guidance from the White House on essential businesses and the different steps you take after people test positive so that the job is for the local health department there in Bullitt County and in Fayette County to make sure that those guidelines are being followed within that facility.
Speaker 7: (49:51)
I have a question-
Andy Beshear: (49:54)
Speaker 7: (49:57)
… About this healthcare test.
Andy Beshear: (50:02)
Speaker 7: (50:02)
When you say this healthcare test will be available to all workers? And how will that work?
Andy Beshear: (50:03)
So, this is about the Louisville partnership we announced. I’m not sure about the overall numbers, but yes, health care workers in all the major hospital systems are going to be tested first. The goal there is to make sure that when people come in and are sick, they may or may not have the Coronavirus, those that are taking care of them don’t have it. And then also, we’re protecting those that protect us. I’m reaching out to find out whether or not nursing centers are able to move residents to other facilities doing to the COVID-19. So, nursing centers, nursing homes are all different. Some may be very with fragile folks. And with those, we may have to do a major move like we did in Treyton Oaks. And Treyton Oaks a facility that it’s always been rated very high. But the folks are so fragile that we made that move, but still a lot of folks have been lost from that facility. Other facilities could be assisted living. And in some of those, a separate COVID wing may be the very best place for folks to go because some of the same people can take care of them. So, it’s a very complicated process that Dr. Stack is directly involved in in how we respond to each and every one of these nursing home outbreaks.
Speaker 8: (51:22)
Protestors aside, lawmakers are talking about why abortion centers are allowed to continue on with providing services. So, I want to ask you that question, why is that considered essential?
Andy Beshear: (51:36)
At this point, I’m not doing politics. I’m not in any divisive issue. I’m focused solely on the Coronavirus and all decisions upon what is an elective procedure or not are made by the health care professionals. And I’ve had zero input on those decisions whatsoever.
Andy Beshear: (51:56)
Folks, you got to drown out the politics. And there’s a lot of politics with the legislature back in session. We can’t be divided. People are dying and we got to make sure that we protect those around us. It’s just us against the Coronavirus.
Andy Beshear: (52:11)
Can I confirm whether there is any way that a new Kentucky resident who lacks photo ID can obtain one through the State at this time? That’s a really big concern. All of our clerk’s offices are closed and at the moment, it would be incredibly hard to get a version of an ID that you could present at the polls. Phil, you get the last question.
Tennessee’s governor has announced that there will be testing for anybody who has Coronavirus symptoms. Is that a possibility in Kentucky as well?
Andy Beshear: (52:50)
The question is, is there a possibility of testing for anybody who wants one, multiple sites across Kentucky? Yes. There’s a possibility in the future and we’re working to get there. When you look at where we are in testing now versus where we started with what you U of L and gravity diagnostics and everybody else has done, I mean starting next week, we’re going to have four separate mobile sites with one partner. We’re going to have an extra 2000 kits a day going out to hospitals and that’s on top of what you of U of L and UK and all the private labs are doing. So, we are seeing a significant increase in our testing capacity and what I’m excited about is it’s home grown. It is what we have done right here in Kentucky.
Andy Beshear: (53:32)
All right. Folks, I know that tonight probably sounded a little bit different, but we cannot step back one moment for what it takes to protect each other. Now, not everybody is going to be on board all the time, but your actions, what you do each and every day, how we respond, how we protect each other, the type of neighbor that we’re going to be is going to depend on how many people we lose to this Coronavirus.
Andy Beshear: (54:02)
I want to end by putting up the COVID Act Now slide just so that we remember as we go, what we’re fighting for. Those that don’t want any of the restrictions are willing to file lawsuits against them. That’s the limited action. That’s not the poor action. The no restrictions is the 47,000 deaths at least as predicted under this model. If we don’t do our job, if we don’t all sacrifice, that’s the 13,000 deaths. But if we continue to do what we’re doing, we stay strong even when there’s noise out there, that we make sure that we pass this test if humanity. That’s how we get to that small number. We are in it together.
Andy Beshear: (54:51)
There will always be people who object, but we are more united than ever before. I’m proud to be your governor. I’m going to continue to do the right things and I know you are too. Thank you all very much and tonight, we’re going to leave you with something The Owensboro Times did honoring all of their houses of worship that have changed their practices to make sure that we are protecting people out there. Thank you all very much. Thank you Virginia. Thank you James and thank you Kenneth who’s broadcasting this from home.
Speaker 9: (55:33)
Our community faces unprecedented challenges. In these times, we unite to protect one another. Faith-based leaders have made difficult decisions as they adapt to new technologies, explore innovative ways of sharing their message and work to keep their congregation safe. Churches may have closed their physical doors, but they are opening their services to the world. As Kentuckians, united we stand, divided we fall is more than just a motto. It’s a way of life. Across all faiths, our houses of worship have United. They share a common goal: defeating this Coronavirus.
Speaker 9: (56:19)
The Owensboro Times was founded on a principle that positive news can be found even on the cloudiest of days. In addition to thanking healthcare professionals, first responders, and our other essential workers, we say thank you to our communities’ faith leaders. Thank you for your discernment. Thank you for loving your neighbor as yourself. The community is invited to join us in our thanks. Tag a church, pastor or faith leaders and say, “Thank you.” We will get through this together.