Apr 28, 2020
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 28
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear held his April 28 press conference. He apologized to a man named Tupac Shakur, after using him as an example of a fake unemployment claim. Read the full transcript of all updates here.
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Andy Beshear: (00:00)
All right. It is five o’clock the time we come together every single day, we get an update on the Corona virus and we recommit ourselves in doing everything we can to defeat this worldwide health pandemic. It is a one in every 100-year occurrence, but we are up for it, we are flattening the curve, we will win. And while it will be hard and while we will lose people along the way, actually today I’m going to talk about the first person we’ve lost that I know personally, we will get through this and we will get through this together.
Andy Beshear: (01:03)
So, say it with me. We will get through this, we will get through this together. One last time. We will get through this, we will get through this together. And we’ll get through this because we see folks out there that are truly doing great things. We see folks like Mrs. Oswald, a second grade teacher at Boonsboro Elementary in Madison County. Her students sent me these letters today. It was incredible act of kindness, talking about keeping people safe, watching Easter service virtually to make sure that the people would stay alive and following the rules and the regulations.
Andy Beshear: (01:52)
This was a very kind act, all covered in a green ribbon to show compassion for everybody else out there. And these are our teachers, these are students, these are Kentuckians. And they did this even though we are more than a month, a month and a half, we’re going to come up on two months into fighting this virus. But our kids are resilient, our teachers, they’ve always had to be resilient in what they deal with, and we’re going to do this.
Andy Beshear: (02:24)
So, even though it’s hard, even though there’s anxiety, even though the decisions we make are difficult, I mean decisions on reopening can be decisions of life or death and none of us have ever done it before. I have hope. I believe we have a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s going to take us a little while to get there but we can get there. And it’s not going to look the same and it’s not going to be easy. There are going to be things that are going to be uncomfortable that we don’t necessarily want to do. I mean, wearing a mask to the grocery store seems different, but if you’re the one person that doesn’t wear it and you are asymptomatic, you have it and you sneeze on something, think about how many different people that are wearing their mask that might pick it up and later get, that you could possibly infect. So, it’s about being a good neighbor, doing the right thing and making sure that we get through this and protect one another.
Andy Beshear: (03:15)
We’re going to get through this because we follow the 10 steps to defeating the Corona virus. We show them every day. Today I’m just going to focus on a few, healthy at home even as we get to be healthy at work otherwise, we are healthy at home. Even as we’re able to loosen up, hopefully in some point in May, a few of the social restrictions, we still have to be healthy at home as much as we can, washing hands and surfaces.
Andy Beshear: (03:42)
As we increase our contacts by gradually reopening work with strict guidelines, it’s going to be more important than ever as your contacts might go from four to 44 in a given day, you got to make sure you’re not transmitting the virus. That’s how you make sure you’re not bringing it home at night to your kids or you’re not spreading it to other people.
Andy Beshear: (04:04)
In applying for benefits, again, very important. I want to give a quick update and then I think we’ll do a more in depth update as we have more. So, we’re now down, I think the specific number is to 37,000 claims that were filed in March that haven’t been resolved. So, we’re down significantly over a 100000 plus even from a day or so ago. Now, some of those checks may be in the mail, some of it’s direct deposited. That’s a little different. But I want to break down this 37,000 because those are 37,000 people out there that are waiting.
Andy Beshear: (04:45)
So with the 37,000 claims, those are individuals that we’re trying to help, there’s about 68,736 separate issues so some claims may have a couple of issues that are holding them back and some may have one. So 8,198 our identity verification that we need to get with these people, identify who they are and then for the most of them those claims can be paid. We certainly hope to get through those.
Andy Beshear: (05:13)
And then their employer separation issues, meaning somebody listed that they quit or their employer are challenging it and some others. Now there’s going to be a subset that we have to work through in the same process that we used to. So there’s been significant steps taken, but we want to get through certainly everything from March this week that is as simple as identity verification and then get as far as we can on some of those other issues.
Andy Beshear: (05:46)
I owe somebody an apology tonight. Last night I spent a little bit of time talking about fraudulent claims holding us up. I Mentioned an individual that filed in the name of Tupac Shakur. I didn’t know and it’s my fault that we have a Kentuckian who goes by Malique whose name is Tupac Shakur. I talked to him on the phone today, I apologized. I told him how it happened, but I owned it. It’s my fault. He was gracious. I said, I’m sorry if I embarrassed him or caused him any attention he didn’t want. He was very kind. He ended the call, God bless, and we’re going to make sure that we resolve his claim. Malique thank you for being so kind and again, I’m sorry.
Andy Beshear: (06:39)
We talk about the 10 steps plus one, fill out your census. We need you to do it. It’s going to help us to rebuild. Right now we’re in about 16th place, we can do a lot better than that. It just takes a couple minutes. Again, if just 2% of Kentuckians go and fill this out tonight, we will be in the top 10 States in the country on the census. Please do it.
Andy Beshear: (07:07)
Okay. In addition to this, every day we’ve been learning a little bit of sign language, a little bit of inclusion. And at a time when more kids are watching something that we would have thought was a very adult topic, this is a way for them to connect, to learn something during this Corona virus that is new, that helps them connect to so many other children. But it’s the same for us. It’s the exact same for us. Just because we have not learned sign language before, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have the opportunity now to include so many more people.
Andy Beshear: (07:44)
So today’s lesson is healthy, healthy, that’s right, at work, at work. Let’s do it again. Healthy at work. One last time, healthy at work. And what I love about this is we’re starting to learn how to build on different signs that we had learned.
Andy Beshear: (08:07)
All right. So, typically we start with the top 10 steps to defeating the Corona virus. We’re going to talk tonight a little bit about the top 10 steps for healthy at work. And like we said, we’re going to start rolling out a schedule tomorrow night starting May 11th, are faced reopening on the business side. Now, we’re still going to owe a government side after that too.
Andy Beshear: (08:33)
We’ve talked about healthcare, we’re going to talk about business in general and we’re still going to need to get government services, but we’re working as hard and as fast as we can. But there are things that are similar to all businesses. These are things that are in… The White House has plan for reopening. And just like we talk about 10 steps to defeating the Corona virus, I want to talk about 10 steps on healthy at work that are really important. Okay. Number one is, whenever your industry, your business, your store has the opportunity to reopen, it is critically important that you continue telework whenever possible. That’s when we talk about your business shouldn’t look the same when you come back as it did before. I was a partner in a law firm for a while. I think about… You got a question, do all of our librarians need to be in house or can they work remotely to help us with research? What about billing? What about the switchboard, can that be done remotely? We’ve got to think about all of those possibilities because you need to reduce your density at work.
Andy Beshear: (09:46)
Number two is a phased return to work because this is going to take some time and even plans that you have about how to spread people out, how to follow the guidelines, you’re going to need to see them in action. Now this is something that I have seen in so many either business or association plans and it tells me that we can do this and we are going to do it well, and that you want to do it safely. And so that’s really important. Just because an office or a business or a factory opens doesn’t mean everybody’s back on the next day and doesn’t even mean everybody is back that’s not teleworking on the next day. It’s that phased reopening.
Andy Beshear: (10:25)
All right. Onsite temperature and health checks are going to be incredibly important. Every day when somebody is coming in and potentially even multiple times a day, you got to make sure they’re healthy. Remember one person on a shift that is symptomatic or that even is asymptomatic, and we got to do what we can do, can ultimately infect multiple people around them. So, this is something to where if you can’t do the health and the wellness checks, again, not ready to reopen.
Andy Beshear: (10:55)
This is universal masking and this is for the business itself. When you’re going to bring people in your business back together, and this is done in virtually every State right now, your employees are going to need to wear a mask of one sort or another. And Dr. Stack, we’ll talk about this. What we’re meaning especially is when you’re inside a place of employment, this is really important. It’s really important. It’s a way where even when this virus is still out there and very contagious, we make sure we don’t spread it to other people. It’s different, it’s a sacrifice but do we want to wait another month or two months or do we want to go ahead and be able to take steps forward?
Andy Beshear: (11:35)
Again, this is one of those sacrifices that we make to safely restart our economy at a time where we’re still dealing with a worldwide health pandemic. So, one of the things that we’ve thought through that we’ve have had recommendations from public health and Walts’ asking people to do something extra, people are going to get to do something extra too, right? Loosen the restrictions, ask people to wear masks or to wash their hands a little more or do things differently. It’s that natural give and take that helps us move to a different place.
Andy Beshear: (12:09)
Now again, nobody individually is going to get penalized for not wearing one of these, but isn’t it your duty? If you’re out running, you don’t need one, if you’re around your house, you don’t need to wear it but if you’re going out to a grocery store or a hardware store and you’re that one asymptomatic person, when we’re able to start reopening meetings and when we’re able to start reopening things like church services and others, do you want to be that one asymptomatic person that’s not wearing one when other people are that are spreading it to other people? Let’s just be a good neighbor. Let’s try to be kind, let’s try to think about other people. And remember we talked about our two duties in the beginning, protecting yourself but also protecting other people if you happen to have it and again aren’t showing the symptoms.
Andy Beshear: (12:59)
Closing common areas. So, this is a really important one and this is one that we’ve learned from the essential businesses that have continued is that we can have break rooms, we can have common cafeteria seating that has people close together. If that happens, then all of the social distancing that we work on immediately goes away. Again, social distancing is going to be enforced within the workplace. Limit face to face meetings. Just because you’re all in the same office doesn’t mean you get together for a meeting. If you’re all in the same office and you have a telephone, you can have that meeting over the telephone even if you’re in the same office. That sounds strange, but again, it’s part of our new world.
Andy Beshear: (13:42)
Sanitizer and hand washing stations. We’re going to work to try to provide a supply chain, especially to small businesses in the sanitizer. But yeah, it’s going to be tough for some to find everything they need, but if you can’t find all these that you need, it’s not safe to reopen. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should unless you have what you need to make it safe.
Andy Beshear: (14:07)
Special accommodations. Let me stop for a minute on this one. So, the CDC, I’m sorry, the president’s plan on reopening, even when we are in phase one says, those that are in the vulnerable population, 60 year older or who have heart, lung or kidney disease should still be healthy at home, should not be going back to work. And while I know there are individual decisions people out there are going to make, I hope you listened to that. I hope you don’t put yourself at special risk for it. This is the White House and Dr. Fowchee and everybody else involved in that. It’s all of our public health officials.
Andy Beshear: (14:49)
So, we want employers to make special accommodations to those that fall at risk. If you’re coming back, when we eventually talk about different areas and what we’re going to ask for and we say, have 50% of your previous staff level, please offer accommodations for telework first to those that would fall in the most vulnerable population. That may save their lives. So, please think through that.
Andy Beshear: (15:18)
And finally at the end, a testing plan. And we put this on here, not as saying that businesses are going to have to be able to test their own people necessarily, but if that person is coming in and has a fever, we don’t just want them to be sent home we want them to be able to go get tested so we know if we need to contact trace and we know if other people need to be quarantined. So this is about connecting, which we have to do the business community to the testing capacity that’s out there that we’re working on right now. It’s one of those policies where you say, where do I send that person? How do I get the results back and what steps do we take afterwards? And some of that comes down to the contact tracing, which we’re going to talk about tomorrow or the next day as that plan is in process. But this just has to be top of mind because if you got somebody that’s sick, we need to know if they have the Corona virus or not, to know who else shouldn’t be coming into work.
Andy Beshear: (16:17)
So, these are all things that are going to apply to every form of business and they’re just guide posts as we hopefully put out tomorrow what our initial plan and types of industry is going to be just to be thinking about. Because it is a total change of concept in how you run something when we live in this world with the Corona virus.
Andy Beshear: (16:43)
All right. Update on testing. We are now up to, I believe it is 13 drive through testing locations throughout Kentucky, having grown by two from yesterday. And I know we don’t have all of them… I do think we have the new ones-
Andy Beshear: (17:03)
Don’t have all of them. I do think we have the new ones up here, which we’ll talk about in a minute. The two new ones are La Grange and Oldham County. In Maysville, we have three new ones, and also Morehead, which we’re going to be providing additional tests to. So this is the most testing that we have had in Kentucky at any point and it’s even growing. And there are multiple, there are two and in Lexington and in Louisville, which is one reason my math is pretty bad. But people are taking advantage of these and need to keep taking advantage of these.
Andy Beshear: (17:47)
To give you an example, today as of 4:00, we had 282 people that had gone through the Lexington testing site. We tested 341 yesterday. For a regular day that is the exact result that we wanted. When we did more than that in Pikeville was because we had them built up on days that hadn’t been through. That’s a good day. Louisville today, 274, as of 4:00, 336 yesterday. Also a very good day. Bowling Green and Owensboro, which both started today, both high volume. We’re going to hit our goals. 234 in Bowling Green, 240 in Owensboro. And just one other report hazard had at single biggest day yesterday with 178 tests. They’re going to get more availability and they’re going to stay open longer. Do we have the slide of some of the changes and in just a few of the testing sites as far as time and ways to sign up
Andy Beshear: (18:49)
Here we go. Well here is, again, these are the Kroger sites. Now, let me clear up confusion. They’re all booked for this week but not a single slot is taken for next week, at least that’s what those that run it have told me, and I hope they would have told me right. They will reopen tomorrow night and I’ll talk about it during this press conference about when they reopen. And they will be for a second week in Louisville, Lexington and Bowling Green. Owensboro isn’t going to be the Kroger testing site for the following week. But we’re going to leave up all of our infrastructure and their local health department and others are going to partner to continue that testing. Can you go to the next one?
Andy Beshear: (19:39)
All right. So these are two new ones that are free and open to anyone with symptoms, right? The Kroger ones are open to anybody. These are open to once with symptoms. This is Oldham County. We appreciate them stepping up and doing this, and this is also the Buffalo Trace District in Mason County. All of this is on our website on how to sign up. So again, more options out there than we have seen in the past, more days. Now this is where we got to go. We talked about getting our testing capacity up to 20,000 plus a week. We need to do that. We eventually need to beat that in a world where we are working with the coronavirus out there, testing and tracing is really important. All right, now, let’s move into masks. Again, I hope I’ve clarified enough tonight that this is something that we are going to be very, very strongly recommending to the general public. You really need to do it to protect one another.
Andy Beshear: (20:42)
And this is something in businesses for employees that is going to be a mandatory because you can’t bring people together in that area safely, depending on the settings, without it. Now, if you’re sitting alone in your office with the door closed and might be one thing, but remember these congregate settings, it’s really important to stop the spread. So what we’re going to do is watch a quick video because some folks have said, “Well, where can I buy a mask?” It’s really easy to make one. I mean we’re talking about cloth masks, not surgical masks or N95 masks for folks. And after the video I’m going to ask Dr. Stack to come up, show us a little bit about how to fit them, and also for him to talk about, from his perspective, why they’re so important.
Andrea Flinchum: (21:32)
Hello, Team Kentucky. My name is Andrea Flinchum and I’m the Manager of the Healthcare-Associated Infection, Antibiotic Resistance Prevention Program at the Kentucky Department for Public Health. And I’m here today to show you how to make a mask out of some common household items that most of us will have around the house. These masks are worn when we make essential trips away from home, like the grocery store or the drug store. And so we’re going to get started now. I have a bandana here. You can use a bandana or any kind of scarf. Lay it out flat in front of you. And the other thing that you’re going to need are two rubber bands and that’s it. So we’ll get started. You make the first fold and you’re going to fold the scarf over to the center, make the second fold to meet it right at the center, and then carefully flip it over. It doesn’t come out perfect, but that’s okay. Get that. Then make your second fold.
Andrea Flinchum: (22:34)
I like that. Smooth it out. Flip it over. Now we’re ready for our ear loops. That’s what the rubber bands are for. You can use a ponytail, holders, hair bands. Sometimes the hair bands are a little tight around your ears. I like the rubber bands, well used rubber bands work well. Last folds, you’re going to bring these over to the center. Pull this out just a little bit and we have a mask. And this is for you to wear on your essential outings. Remember, cover your nose and your mouth and wash this daily. Thank you so much and stay healthy.
Steven Stack: (23:31)
Alrighty everyone. So thank you to Andrea for showing us how to do that. I have a little quick show and tell this is what an N95 looks like. This is not something you should be wearing out in public. These are for healthcare providers, so don’t wear this out in public. Leave these for the healthcare providers so they can be safe when they’re treating you in the healthcare setting. This is an imitation N95 and this may look like a painter’s mask or something you’re familiar with. This too you don’t need to wear out in public. Leave these for people who are going to work on your house or for other people who need them for those purposes. This is a KN95. These the FDA said people could use, but they’re really knockoff kind of things.
Steven Stack: (24:16)
These are similarly good to a regular hospital surgical mask, but they’re really not as good as the N95 because they don’t fit properly in the end, but like everything else, they have these little [inaudible 00:24:28] things. Goes over your face like this. You don’t need to wear these in public either. These the healthcare providers can use. This is a procedural mask. You’ll see these in the hospitals and in doctor’s offices. The healthcare workers will probably commonly be wearing things that look like this. They’re often yellow, this one happens to be blue. Again, they are very same construct as all the other ones. They’re just elastic here. It goes over the face.
Steven Stack: (24:59)
These are the kinds of things you should use. These or if you want to show Kentucky spirit, the one the governor has. It says Kentucky on it. Things like that. You can do a bandana, like Andrea showed you how to make it home into a mask, and it just requires a bandana and rubber bands. Or these which a lot of people can probably sew or make in the community. And I think this would be a great time to show Kentucky spirit or Team Kentucky spirit and for other people to express yourself in all sorts of ways with the ways you can get fabric and materials to make masks. This one is made by the Department of Corrections here. And so thank you to the Department of Corrections and the inmates who have made these. They do a wonderful job and produce them daily. And we’ll keep them in production for quite a long time so they too can contribute to Team Kentucky and help us stay safe.
Steven Stack: (25:48)
And this one is one that the mother of one of our staff members at the Department of Public Health made for me. So I’ll use this one to demonstrate. It was a gift and your thank you card is in the mail. So when you do these things, you want to make sure you have the inside is the inside and the outside is the outside. If you keep flipping inside to outside, you’re going to take your germs and put them on one side and then turn it around and put them right on the outside. So remember, maybe even label it if they’re the same appearance, which sides the inside. When you wear these things, and it’s hard because I’m talking to you in a television camera here. When you wear these, it has to cover your nose and go beneath your mouth like this.
Steven Stack: (26:26)
It should cover your nose and cover your mouth. Ideally should go beneath your chin. Next level ones. If you’re able to, when you make these, you can put a pipe cleaner or something flexible in here so it can mold. So if you have glasses, like I do, it helps to minimize the fogging on this. A few more words about masks. Remember, the governor has been very clear about this. From a purely public health standpoint, we would prefer everybody stay healthy at home right now. We would rather you weren’t out and about interacting with each other because we still don’t have a vaccine and we won’t in 2020. It’ll be next year before we have a vaccine, and we still don’t have any specific treatment for coronavirus. So until we get specific treatments or we get a vaccine, the only way we have to keep you safe is to keep you from spreading the infection among each other.
Steven Stack: (27:20)
But since society has to be able to get back to certain activities and since there are a lot of other considerations to take into account, we’re going to start letting you resume some activities and the governor will announce that in a staged and controlled manner over a period of time. Starting first with healthcare and then with other industries. By wearing a mask like this, you do a number of things. One, if you have the infection, whether you know it or not, because remember quite a few people can be infected and have no symptoms, your secretions will stay on the inside of the mask instead of spewing forth in the air, and you will help protect other people. That is the single biggest reason we are doing this, is to help prevent people from spreading infection to others. And the other hand, the second point, it is a visible reminder that social distancing is absolutely essential.
Steven Stack: (28:13)
So whether you’re wearing a mask or not out in public, if you are, you should still keep a six foot or more distance between yourself and other people. If you walk into a group and five people are wearing a mask and one person is not, you should all probably add a few extra feet to your distance and stay away from them a little further because everybody should be complying with this any time you come anywhere near someone. And the final thing is there is probably some limited amount of benefit that someone else’s secretions won’t hit you and get in your nose and your mouth, so it may help protect you a little bit. But the first two reasons, protecting others from you spreading infection to them and a visible reminder about the importance of hand hygiene and proper social distancing are probably two of the most important considerations. So thank you for doing this. It’s really important and I appreciate it. Thank you. Thanks, governor.
Andy Beshear: (29:07)
Well, let’s remember as we move from healthy at home to healthy at work, our chances of being asymptomatic and spreading it, of us having it and not knowing it are much larger. Because remember, if I’m just healthy at home and it’s my wife, Brittany, my son, Will and my daughter, Lyla and that’s the only interaction we have, that’s just for contacts. But if I go to work and even if it’s a small place and I interact with 10 people, but they have the same size and type of family, then I’m potentially 44 contacts, my four plus the other 40, my chances of being asymptomatic are greater. And so by having that opportunity, even knowing the risk, this means that if I have a greater opportunity of being asymptomatic, I’m also taking that one extra step of making sure I don’t spread it to everybody else.
Andy Beshear: (29:59)
And none of us knowingly or unknowingly want to be a person that spreads this to somebody else. It’s tough when people have it, then it hits hard. We’ve read and we’ve seen people’s stories of struggling. We’ve got 170 people currently in the ICU. Many of those fighting for their lives. Let’s just make sure we’re doing the bare minimum to not spread this to other people. We’ve been so good about being good neighbors. We have been so good about doing what it takes, even when it’s inconvenience. And when you look at all the other sacrifices we’ve made, again, nobody’s going to be penalized, but isn’t it something that we should be willing to do to help out our fellow human being. It’s something that I’m going to do to help out our fellow human beings.
Andy Beshear: (30:49)
All right. Our numbers today are a little higher in multiple areas. Now we expected this because labs and others don’t report necessarily over the weekend. So I think those, these are actually spread out over a day or maybe even two for all of it. But today we’re first reporting 230 new positive cases of the coronavirus. Again, these could be from the week before with some of our labs reporting 10 days late. It could be even before that. It does not change the fact that we believe we’ve plateaued because when we saw a much lower number, again, you got to, you got to look at where we are on the average, whether it’s a three day average and where we really are as a projection.
Andy Beshear: (31:39)
But 230 new cases. Total number of tests, 52,411. That’s up almost 4,000, a little less than that from yesterday. So that 230 is within those four plus thousand. Ever hospitalized, 1,331. Currently, 320. Let’s think about them. Ever in the ICU, 625. Currently, 170. This is up from, I believe, 164 to 166. So that means there’s more people that are in and let’s continue to think and to pray for them. Number recovered, 1,617. That is a real positive. We love every time somebody moves to the recovered column. New cases by county, 84 in Jefferson, 29 in Warren. Warren County has been hit really hard, and I want to say this to the counties around Warren too.
Andy Beshear: (32:40)
This isn’t just a single county deal. It means we have a hotspot and growing hotspot in the entire region. Bowling Green is in the top 10, right now, in counties that are seeing a growth, significant growth in the coronavirus. So let’s realize what we’re dealing there is serious. Mike Buchanan, their county judge, certainly does. And we’re doing everything we can, committing significant testing. We’re going to be there with them every step of the way, but everybody around them and multiple counties out. Again, you’re in this with them. So we’re going to do it. We’re going to get through it together.
Andy Beshear: (33:20)
But let’s remember that we are together. 17 for Kenton, Northern Kentucky still hit significantly. 12 in Davis, 10 in Butler, 9 in Boone, 9 in Henderson, 4 in Campbell and McCracken. 3 in Fayette, Graves, Hopkins, Jessamine, Muhlenberg, and Trigg. 2 in Adair, Ballard, Floyd, Grant, Meade, Ohio, Pike, Pulaski, Taylor. And 1 in Allen, Bullitt, Carter, Clinton, Crittenden, Johnson, Lincoln, Marshall, Metcalfe, Montgomery, Nelson, Oldham, Owen, Todd, Wayne, and Webster. And again, these are.
Andy Beshear: (34:03)
Wayne and Webster. And again, these are as of the best information we have, try and provide you a timely daily update. Again, when we adjust duplicates in the rest, actually we only had one that we had to remove that didn’t qualify or was in a different state or other reasons. Our total number of cases is 4,375. So again, it’s a contagious disease. We’re testing more so we’re seeing more cases, but I still know now that I think I know that your work has flattened this curve and has plateaued this virus, but we are not in any way out of the woods. Just because we’re doing a great job doesn’t mean we can stop. So let’s remember that we’re still in dangerous times. We’re still in a once ever in every hundred years pandemic and let’s continue to do what it takes to defeat it.
Andy Beshear: (34:57)
Harder news today is we have lost 12 new Kentuckians to COVID-19 and that brings our total number of folks that we have lost to 224 with also one probable death on top of that. And those breakdown as a 69 year old male from Jefferson, a 72 year old female from Russell, a 71 year old female from Graves, 77 year old male from Kenton, 77 year old female from Campbell, 85 year old female from Campbell, 89 year old female from Kenton, Northern Kentucky. Hit very hard today. Another 89 year old, this time a female from Kenton, an 84 year old female from Graves, 92 year old female from Kenton.
Andy Beshear: (35:50)
A 75 year old male from Adair and a 55 year old female from Jefferson. That’s a lot of Kentuckians to still lose in a day, even to something this deadly. So let’s remember there are a lot of grieving families out there. Let’s light up our houses green more now than ever. I know you’ve been doing it a lot, but every day these families need us. They need us. They don’t care if we’re tired and they shouldn’t. What they need is our very best, our very best to honor them by showing the color of compassion, our very best by being there for them while still being distant, and our very best at bringing it every day to make sure there are fewer families that have to go through what they did. So let’s remember wherever we are and whatever we think about the speed of what we’re doing, whether we think that we shouldn’t be doing this step or we should, that there are folks out there that have lost and let’s make sure we prioritize them.
Andy Beshear: (36:52)
And none of any disagreements get in the way of showing that green light and of ringing the bells at 10:00 AM every day. Our race and ethnic background, total cases on race, 75.25% white, 13.63% black or African American, 6.2% Asian, 4.81% multiracial ethnicity. And this is just total cases. It’s about 91 and a half percent non Hispanic and eight and a half percent Hispanic. Total deaths on race, 80% white, 17.5% black or African American, one and a half percent Asian and 1% multi-racial and then in ethnicity it’s 99% non Hispanic and 1% Hispanic. That’s going to be the hardest part for me of tonight because while she wasn’t in Kentucky when it happened, we lost a very special Kentuckian, and I think yesterday, it was Sunday night, and it’s somebody I know very well. This is Lillian Press. Lillian and dedicated her life to public service in Kentucky.
Andy Beshear: (38:12)
She died Sunday night at an assisted living facility in Washington. It’s where her son is. She moved out there after her husband, Leonard Press died, I think it was just last year. She died from complications of COVID-19. She was 95 years old, but let me tell you, she was healthy. She was sharp, she was really special. She had more years that she should have been able to give to us. Lillian was known to many as Lil and she and her late husband, Leonard, moved to Kentucky and committed to improving education in the Commonwealth in so many ways. Their dream grew into KET, which unites Kentuckians with programming dedicated to arts, history, culture and public affairs. She was a mental health leader and an advocate. She did something that changed my life that she never knew and she certainly didn’t know me at the time.
Andy Beshear: (39:12)
She organized and directed the governor’s scholars program, helped put that together in the very first time. Never known, nor would she, that years after that, more than a decade after she made it happen, it’d be something that would change my life, that would change the course of how I felt about myself and how I interacted with others. And she did get to see the first person who graduated from the governor’s scholars program become governor. And I’m very proud of that. And I know she was too because I had an opportunity to talk to her after the election, but she didn’t stop there. Not just with Kentucky. Lillian organized 28 other state governor schools to make sure they could do the same. In her retirement, she organized the women’s network and served as a member of the Center College Board for 17 years. Every person we lose is just as important, but this was a friend of mine so.
Andy Beshear: (40:19)
I know we’ll miss her. All right. Moving on to some specific updates we give each time. This time just the longterm care facilities update continues to be a very hard place where we’re hit very hard. We have 65 new residents that have tested positive, 10 new staff, and three new deaths and that’s tough. This is an area where we are experiencing the most loss where it moves through, whether it’s an assisted living facility or a nursing home. Now we are also doing significantly more testing in each and every one of them. It continues to be an area where we are sending a whole lot of our resources. All right, we’re going to move into questions and I might take just five seconds.
Andy Beshear: (41:13)
All right. Today we have a lot of written, submitted written questions. We’ll get to as many as we can in the time that we have. We have four journalists here. We have Karen Sar, Christina Rosen, Phil Pendleton, and Joe Saka and Karen, we started with you yesterday, I think. So we’ll start with Phil.
Phil Pendleton: (41:42)
Businesses, do they have to require, could they be sided? Could there be penalties for businesses? They’re saying maybe they’re not open now they’re about to reopen today. What will be the guideline for that?
Andy Beshear: (41:55)
So we will be putting out specific guidelines for industries or groups that fall within an association. We’re going to pass those by the association. We’re going to get input before we put them into effect. And I think there’s going to be a lot of agreement amongst them about how we do this safely. But virtually, every business that operates indoors, it’s going to require for reopening, masking, and it’s public health all over the country. This is at least a requirement in most states that we are following, certainly for the employees. We know that it’s going to help us reduce the spread as more people are having more contacts.
Andy Beshear: (42:41)
All right. Another question on the masking. Are you saying that everyone should wear a mask out in public until there’s a vaccine? Okay. This isn’t going to be something that people can be fined for and again, nobody’s going to be arrested for anything like that, but should you, yes. I mean if you’re going on a run, no, that’s going to be hard. But should you, if you’re going to the grocery store? Absolutely, you should. Just think about it. None of us know if we’re asymptomatic at any point, which means we could be infecting the people around us and so a 50% of the people going to a hardware store or something else are wearing these and 50% aren’t. Well, these people are preventing the spread and others aren’t.
Andy Beshear: (43:21)
You wear it for the period of time you’re in there. It feels strange. It’s different, but guess what you’re doing. You’re protecting everybody else around you. You’ve done that act just like you have done heroic acts to protect every person you may come around and if you sneeze or if you cough, you’ve done your part on making sure that if you don’t know you have this virus that you’re not infecting another person. Folks. Again, I know it seems strange and it may generate a lot of topic, but if you can protect somebody else by doing this, I hate to bring it back up but if you could protect Lil, wouldn’t you wear this? I would and I hope you would too.
Andy Beshear: (44:03)
[inaudible 00:44:04] just had express concerns about the testing requiring registration via online portals only. That can make testing more difficult for those who can’t afford internet access, rural populations with limited broadband, and older populations who may not be technology friendly. Are there any plans to open up registration for testing with something more accessible to everyone? Like 800 numbers?
Andy Beshear: (44:25)
So the question is some of the tests … and can you go back to the full testing slide … requires signups file online portals and those are partnerships we have with outside organizations that are handling all of those sign ups. We want to get to a place for those specific ones where there are other opportunities because you’re right, if you don’t have access to get online, it makes it significantly more challenging and they aren’t walk up either. And that’s something that we eventually have to get to the point where we can address to. Now our goal, and we’re moving fast. We got to increase our testing capacity as quickly as we can, so we’re not turning down a partnership just because it’s not perfect yet. But yes, we need to get to that point. But if you can move through a couple of slides about different ways to sign up, not all of them require that online portal and I want to point that out, especially some of the more rural-based.
Andy Beshear: (45:23)
Now these are the ones that do. Can you move to the … here we go. So Hazard is just a drive up, open to everyone. Mount Vernon again, you can make that call and sign up to get to it. Morehead is online but we’re working on different opportunities for that. And on our website we will put as much of that up as possible. Walgreens and Walmart, I believe, right now are online portals as well. But that’s something that we’re going to make sure that we work on to make it more accessible. There’s no question. We’ve got to get to a place where you can do testing in so many different ways, but do let me note that a lot of these are totally full and that’s a good sign. We need to get more people tested. We need a better idea of how many asymptomatic people that we have. But if anybody has symptoms, if anybody is truly sick, call your local healthcare provider. We provide thousands of additional tests out there to our hospitals that you can get without going through the online portal if you are truly sick.
Andy Beshear: (46:41)
Okay. Another question about masks, I think we’ve talked about that. Again, it’s a strong suggestion to the public. We want to ask everybody to do it under the appropriate circumstances. It is going to be a requirement in a lot of business openings just like it is all over the country. That’s pretty uniform. Just about everybody agrees that if you’re going to bring that much density back together, that that’s something that we need to make sure that we have. Have I attempted to recover Kentucky’s $15 million from Brady Industries? We are following updates on that now. I want to make sure that it is not a viable project before we take steps like that. Again, you have kind of two sides right now battling it out, looking for exactly where the truth is, but let me tell you if that project ultimately doesn’t move forward, I’m going to go get our money.
Andy Beshear: (47:44)
Yesterday, Attorney General Cameron filed a motion to join a lawsuit against you over your travel order today. He threatened to sue you over an order banning mass gatherings, including in-person church services. Do you have a reaction to both of them?
Andy Beshear: (48:03)
Question is yesterday, Attorney General Cameron, after originally saying he didn’t want to be a party to the suit on our ban of people traveling into Kentucky unless they’re going to self quarantine, especially from states that have significantly more cases than we do. And today, said that I had a specific order that that bans church services. No, we ban all mass gatherings. No one is singled out at all there. And my comment to it, in both cases we’ve had early rulings by a judge indicating that they are likely to rule that everything we have done is legal. Folks, I’m not trying to set rules that are difficult and I’m not trying to set rules that are controversial. I’m just trying to set rules that save people’s lives. We have safe opportunities to worship. Right now they are virtual. And they are drive-in services.
Andy Beshear: (49:00)
Many states didn’t allow drive-in services and that’s really where the litigation is around the United States. Something that we worked with churches across Kentucky to make sure that we can do. We just want to make sure we save as many people’s lives as possible and I’m not going to get in the back and forth with anybody. I’m done with politics. Not worried about what decisions either help or hurt me politically or help or hurt anybody else. I just want to get through this by losing as few people as possible and as you can tell, the loss is little bit personal to me today. Now that I know, personally know the first person lost to this, though I’m sure I’m connected to many others.
Andy Beshear: (49:48)
What is the priority on reopening the State Police Academy and DOCJT? We are working through that right now, so we have healthcare, we have business and then we have our state and local government functions. And we are trying to triage those as we go and we will have a plan when it’s ready on the state side. Certainly, we want to work to make sure nobody gets penalized if they can’t get their 40 hours that you get at … That’s the department of criminal justice training. We have some of the best trained officers in the entire country, law enforcement because we have some of the highest … it’s not a training requirement, but you get a stipend for doing it. We don’t want anybody penalize this year when you can’t. However, we want to keep that going. It’s very important to us not having some problems, at least in some areas that you see in other states.
Andy Beshear: (50:42)
[inaudible 00:16:43]. We’re already seeing that people who are carrying their masks are leaving them in their car. How often should you sanitize it for just running into the store as opposed to working all day? And if you’re in an office setting and you’re in your own office, but people are coming in and out, should we leave it on the whole day or can you take it on and off?
Speaker 4: (51:03)
[inaudible 00:51:00] should you leave it on the whole day, or can you take it on and off?
Steven Slack: (51:04)
So, for the sanitizing, I think you should generally try to wash these things if you can fairly often. So I think as this becomes part of our new normal, people will probably have more than one cloth mask or face covering because they’re relatively inexpensive and people can make them at home. So I would suggest people try to get a few of them and launder them at least every couple days. I mean, it’s sort of like wearing clothing. You want to wash it.
Speaker 4: (51:28)
[inaudible 00:51:28] necessarily every use?
Steven Slack: (51:30)
No, no, no. So you could wear a cotton mask all day long. I would expect people are going to use this for a whole day, and I wouldn’t expect people are going to launder it more than once a day. Some may, if it’s clean and they only used it lightly, use it for multiple days. But, I mean, obviously use some judgment call about keeping it clean.
Steven Slack: (51:47)
As far as if you’re in an office, and people come and go. If you go into a building and you’re in forward-facing interactions, you should be wearing it. So anytime you’re engaging with someone person to person, you should be wearing your mask. If you’re sitting back in your office, and other people are coming in and out of your business in front, you can probably sit in your office and not have a mask if you’re by yourself. But as people are interacting face to face, you should wear a mask.
Andy Beshear: (52:16)
So, in the end, it’s common sense that we all have. Knowing that anybody could have this, and we didn’t know, and we don’t know. And just doing what you need to protect yourself and to protect others.
Andy Beshear: (52:33)
Sports Academy for Children, estimated 20 to 30, now that won’t be able to happen in phase one. We’ll see as we move forward. Sports is something everybody’s interested in. Sports are direct physical contact between people, where you have no social distancing. So we’re going to work on that and the timing as we move forward. But if we allowed that in phase one, it would exponentially spread those contacts.
Andy Beshear: (53:01)
And, again, there’s some things we’d love to do, but we wouldn’t be able to reopen when we’re reopening if we do them. And so this phased, gradual reopening is about moving our contacts from a very small area to a slightly larger area, which allows us to resume portions of our economy. But a lot of things that we’d like to do but can’t do would just significantly expand those contexts, which is a risk during the virus that we can’t take. Phil?
Back to the masks, regarding customers inside a business. Will businesses be told to help provide masks for customers coming into the grocery stores? Will they be encouraged to do that?
Andy Beshear: (53:45)
Yeah. This is a question we’re going to work with on our business community. But, yes, especially our larger retailers, we would love to see help with masking. We want folks that are going to go to the grocery store or Lowe’s or Home Depot to have their own. But I hope that we can get to a point where they’re more readily available for customers as they come in.
Andy Beshear: (54:09)
This is, again, moving towards our new normal, it would protect store employees. It’s not going to be a mandate of reopening to have those available, but it’d be a really good practice. And we’re handing out masks. We’re handing out almost 5,000 this week, and we’re going to continue to do that to the extent that we continue to have production.
Andy Beshear: (54:29)
We don’t want this to be difficult on people, but we want you to be able to protect yourself and your family. So I got to work, right? And as work expands, and my work’s going to expand as more people are there, I got to come home to my kids every night. And while kids are pretty resilient to the coronavirus, I don’t want to bring it home to them. I think that’s a basic duty that I have as a dad. And so I know that if I have this, as we further open up, that that I better protect them as well. Specific update on how many tests were done at the Owensboro site. I think I answered that earlier. The current estimate of the pandemic’s effect on the financial position of the state’s pension system and they’re underfunded liabilities. This is going to be part of a bigger conversation that we are going to have about our state budget. We’re going to get new estimates from our budget director on either the 30th or the 31st. And it’s going to show that just like every other state, this coronavirus has deeply and negatively impacted our state budget and everything compared to it.
Andy Beshear: (55:39)
And I, along with every other governor in the country, are pushing our federal government to provide direct relief to state and local governments. Without it, the recession will be longer, unemployment will be greater, basic services will be harmed. The next generation through education will be harmed. This is something, again, we did during the Great Recession, 10-11 years ago. Certainly it’s something that we should do with a worldwide pandemic in front of us. So let’s make sure that we get our federal government to just do that right thing. It’s important for the people of Kentucky. It’s important for everyone across the country. Yeah.
Speaker 5: (56:26)
The state has made efforts to locate test sites near lower income neighborhoods to improve accessibility, but they point out it’s all drive-through testing. And many lower-income Kentuckians in urban areas rely on public transit. So is there a plan to safely accommodate walk-in, walk-up testing in any future test sites?
Andy Beshear: (56:42)
Question on drive through testing, and I think I mentioned this a little earlier, is right now we don’t have walk-up testing sites, which is a problem. Because in the neighborhoods we’ve tried to locate in, there are many that don’t have a vehicle, and that’s something that we need to make sure we can accommodate in the future. It’s also something that can be supplemented, right? There are other labs, be it U of L and Louisville, UK in Lexington, Solaris in Nicholasville, and other healthcare providers that can also supplement what we’re doing right now. But it is a gap in our testing as we move forward and we build capacity that we have to address.
Andy Beshear: (57:24)
And we just did a very quick poll of zip codes, and we’ll have to delve down more into this data, but it does appear that the number one county by signups in Jefferson County is also where Shawnee is located. It is in a predominantly African American neighborhood. But we’ll have to look afterwards, after we get through these four days, and see if we need to supplement. Because I don’t want to say if we need to do things differently, I want to say supplement. Because if we have, in Lexington and Louisville, different parts of the city being tested, well, those parts we need to get tested too. But we do need to set a priority, and that’s what we try to do by their locations. And if we don’t get the results of that prioritization we want, we need to look at some new and some different steps to get there. But, again, it’s trying to ramp testing up 100% from two weeks ago and ultimately move it further from there. This is a question on Kentucky’s unemployment fund, and as the numbers come down, I fully expect we will take a federal loan just like we have in the past. I’m not going to stop paying benefits simply because we need to get a loan. My commitment isn’t just to help everybody that’s had to wait too long, but to make sure that we can continue to get the help, and then we’ll be able to pay it off over time. We’ll be able to dig out, but this is the time where people need us the most, right? The most. And we got to do whatever it takes to be there for them. Joe?
Following up on another kind of sports. Do you think it’s possible that Churchill Downs might be able to open within the next two weeks? Even if that involves no fans in the crowd or anything like that?
Andy Beshear: (59:16)
We’re working directly with Churchill. I had another call with them today, and I hope to have news on that tomorrow. We are close. They have submitted very detailed proposals. They have been very willing to work with us. We’re not announcing May the 14th, or the 11th, or the 18th, or the rest until at least tomorrow. But I will say, like many… I mentioned the Maritime Manufacturers yesterday had a great plan. Churchill had a great plan too that I know a lot of different people worked on. And sometimes being able to see those models that somebody has put together and may have experience with tracks or businesses in other areas, they’re really helpful for us as well.
Andy Beshear: (01:00:08)
Let’s see. While getting unemployment checks to people who haven’t received theirs yet is a priority… It is. On March, we’re down from over 100 and 30 or 40 thousand, to that 37. We hope to at least be able to help another eight in the short term. Some of the others have traditional issues with unemployment unrelated to this virus. But this question is: What about people who are struggling to get their second check?
Andy Beshear: (01:00:35)
So a lot of that happened two nights ago, where we had 150,000 claims that were not new claims from March, but for other reasons that were being held up. So we think a whole lot of people ought to be receiving that second check. We’re continuing to work on this. We have seen some good progress. And it’s not acceptable that people from March haven’t been paid. It is not acceptable, if you’ve been waiting and you need it, that people haven’t been paid.
Andy Beshear: (01:01:03)
But, again, I will take that responsibility. I’m the governor. It stops at me. I do want to say the folks over at unemployment who are working hours they never thought that they would, don’t put it on them. We need them to come into work, work as hard as they can in the best environment that they can. I’ll take the blame for the rest, but we’re going to get there. We’re going to make sure everybody’s paid and nobody is penalized. Yes, it’s a task that no state has ever faced, but we got to rise up and be able to do it. [Tiara 01:01:35]?
We’ve gotten a lot of emails from people who got the unemployment debit cards with nothing on them. And so they still haven’t gotten theirs yet. Will they get an email? Should they keep checking them? How will they know?
Andy Beshear: (01:01:46)
It ought to come directly to it. It ought to pop up on it. Will they get an email, Josh?
Usually they get the debit card first, and then the payment comes [crosstalk 01:01:54]
Andy Beshear: (01:01:54)
Okay. So what happens is they get the debit card first. Payment comes a few days later. So it’s a good sign if they’ve gotten the debit card, Josh? So it’s a good sign if you’ve gotten the debit card. Let’s give everybody one last question. I’ll go quickly, Phil? Okay? Nope. You always have another question.
Speaker 6: (01:02:16)
Yesterday you gave pretty detailed slides on the phases, different phases for healthcare companies opening, certain dates. When will we see something like that for different types of businesses? Like restaurants on a certain day or [crosstalk 00:11:30].
Andy Beshear: (01:02:30)
Speaker 6: (01:02:31)
Andy Beshear: (01:02:32)
Speaker 6: (01:02:33)
Andy Beshear: (01:02:33)
Again, none of us have reopened an economy before, and we’re working through it. And our goal is to put out, hopefully tomorrow and at worse the next day, but I think tomorrow, what we see as general industries. And that gives us a timeline to work with those industries to get the guidance in place. It does not mean that the guidance will be in place because we’re still talking a couple of weeks from now. But, again, it helps us if he’s triaged a couple of times tonight, maybe it’s prioritized knowing what has to be done the fastest.
Andy Beshear: (01:03:04)
And while not everybody will be on that first date, we hope that if there is a date, that you see a light at the end of the tunnel. But, again, phased in return with a whole lot of changes. Karen?
Andy Beshear: (01:03:19)
All right. Again, I want to thank everybody. We’re going to do something a little different tomorrow. We’re going to be in our Emergency Management Center, where a lot of the work in addressing this virus is done. We have a lot of technology there. It ought to freshen us up just a little. I know that you’ve seen me standing at this podium and a lot of the same people a lot. It ought to give you a view into so many people and how they’re working out there. And we’re going to do four or five days out there because it’s going to give us the ability to show more things and to do more things.
Andy Beshear: (01:03:58)
I believe we’ve got a closing video tonight, but let me just say, let’s keep it up. It’s a difficult time, where we’re making difficult decisions. Some are nervous that we’ve been closed too long. Some are nervous that we’re starting to open things up. Folks, I’m trying to thread a needle in a way and get things just right, knowing what the consequences are.
Andy Beshear: (01:04:20)
I want to make sure though that people can see hope and that hope helps you to continue to follow the guidance and to continue to live within the restrictions we’ve had to put in place. We have come too far, we have sacrificed too much. We have flattened this curve and saved so many lives. Let’s not stop now. Let’s do what it takes. And I know tonight was a little hard on me, like it’s been hard on a lot of you. It is very real when we lose folks. And so to those out there saying, “Well, it’s just X number of people.” No, it’s all special people like Lil.
Speaker 7: (01:05:09)
Andy Beshear: (01:05:09)
That’s a very different sign off. We don’t have a video tonight. I’ll see you at five o’clock tomorrow. If this was my only mistake today, as compared to yesterday… I’m sorry, Malik, then hopefully I’ve done a good job. See you tomorrow.