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Friday, April 17, 2020

Gov. Beshear Releases Guidelines for the Eventual Re-Opening of Kentucky



By Jessie Eden

In his daily press conference on Friday, Governor Andy Beshear announced that 8 people have died from the coronavirus. None of the individuals were from Northern Kentucky.

Gov. Beshear also gave an update on an 11-day-old baby who tested positive for the coronavirus. The baby is now home and doing ok.





In addition, Gov. Beshear announced 134 new cases of the coronavirus. He reiterated that yesterday it was predicted that there would likely be a jump in cases due to the information being compiled into a new system that they will be using to track this data...but thankfully cases did not increase as much as the Governor expected.

There are 18 new cases in NKY;

- 2 in Campbell Co.
- 9 in Kenton Co.
- 7 in Boone Co.

Metrics for Reopening Kentucky:



Gov. Beshear joined Dr. Steven Stack to talk about metrics for reopening Kentucky. Gov. Beshear said that President Trump's document was very similar to what Kentucky was considering for reopening the state. 

"It's very gradual and in phases. Even before the phases, states should meet certain thresholds before taking certain steps. Number one, what they're looking for, is a decrease in 14-days, of new cases," said Gov. Beshear. "Right now, we are kind in that plateau." 

"They want us on the downslope of that mountain so that we are in a 'recovery' period. A 14-day downward slope is a significant hurdle, at best, right now we are at a flat point," said Dr. Stack.

The second step is a decrease of patients in the the health care system and a return to normal capacity.

The third step is robust testing for health care workers so the spread does not continue. 



The New Normal:
The White House is also saying that each state needs the ability to complete testing and help with isolation of patients, those who are symptomatic and those who are in the danger zone...even if they are not symptomatic. (This would include testing of patients going in for other procedures at the hospital) "If you have a positive test, you'll have to work. You'll have to work with healthcare workers to identify who you may have come in contact with and self-isolate for 14-days." said Dr. Stack. 

"This will be a part of our new normal until a vaccine is created," said Gov. Beshear.


The Ability to Protect Those Most Vulnerable:
Gov. Beshear said that states will also need to have the ability to protect the elderly populations and those who are high risk in order to reopen successfully. 

States Must Be Flexible as New Cases May Spike:
Gov. Beshear stated that the White House's recommendations still require states to be flexible as we adjust to our new normal. 

Per Dr. Stack, "Because this infection is something that people haven't been exposed to, we are going to see a spike in cases, even as we return to some of the activities we once participated in."

Businesses Will Need To Have PPE, New Practices for the New Normal:
As we move into the first steps of reopening, you have to be ready to complete temperature checks and other procedures to keep employees safe. Gov. Beshear emphasized the importance of teleworking, if possible. "If you are a business that can survive on telework, you ought to continue doing it. There is less likelyhood to lose a portion of your work force, it is what is best for your employees."


PHASE 1:



Benchmarks for Kentucky:
Gov. Beshear and Dr. Stack outlined the seven benchmarks for how Kentucky can reopen safely;

- Number and rate of new cases

- Increased testing capacity and contact tracing

- Personal Protective Equipment availability

- Ability to protect at risk populations

- Ability to social distance and following the CDC's guidelines

- Kentucky's ability to handle a second peak.

- Status of possible vaccine, not likely to be available until next year.


Still No Final Decision on Schools Reopening:Gov. Beshear will be speaking with all KY superintendents before making a call on schools reopening anytime soon...but given President Trump's recommendations, it may be unlikely.


===

The following release is the current update from the NKY Health Department:

254 Cases of COVID-19 in Northern Kentucky; Guidance for Essential Businesses


FLORENCE, Ky. — As of 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 17, 10 additional cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Northern Kentucky, for 254 total cases. There are 118 cases in Kenton County, 52 cases in Campbell County, 70 cases in Boone County and 14 cases in Grant County. There were also two new deaths reported today. One individual was a Campbell County resident in their 90s. The other was a Kenton County resident in their 80s. Our thoughts go out to their loved ones during this difficult time. There have been 20 total deaths related to COVID-19. For more data on COVID-19 infections in Northern Kentucky, please visit https://nkyhealth.org/individual-or-family/health-alerts/coronavirus/

As the Governor works out plans about when and how to reopen businesses and other organizations in accordance with the established benchmarks, it is important that essential businesses that are currently allowed to operate are taking action to ensure a safe and healthy workplace. According to Dr. Lynne Saddler, District Director of Health, “There are steps that employees and employers must take to prevent COVID-19.” These steps include:
Staying home if you are sick, and sending home employees that become sick during the workday.
Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces often.
Practicing social distancing as work duties permit.
Proper hand hygiene and not sharing headsets or other objects that are used near the face.

For additional information, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/critical-workers/implementing-safety-practices.html

If you develop a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, stay home and call your health care provider. Even without testing, a health care provider can tell a patient if they think they have COVID-19, and provide the same instructions for care. If you have mild symptoms, you must stay home, take fever-reducing medications and avoid others. Additionally, it is important that you inform those with whom you have had close contact that they have been exposed to COVID-19, should monitor for symptoms, and stay at home. Learn how to prevent the spread of the virus in your home at https://bit.ly/3dBMfCO. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

NKY Health has been actively responding to the COVID-19 crisis for months. We continue to provide guidance and collaborate with local officials, health care providers, first responders, schools, businesses, social service agencies, and others, as well as respond to a high volume of questions from the public. We are also coordinating the distribution of personal protective equipment from the Strategic National Stockpile to health care providers and first responders. If you have personal protective equipment to donate, please visit https://secure.kentucky.gov/formservices/TeamKentucky/PPE.

NKY Health continues to work with other response agencies and Northern Kentucky residents to take the actions necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community. For more information, visit our COVID-19 page on www.nkyhealth.org or www.kycovid19.ky.gov. You can also call Kentucky’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-722-5725. The Governor’s press releases are available here: https://governor.ky.gov/news.

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