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Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Gov. Beshear: wearing a mask is not a culture war

There is no press conference from Governor Andy Beshear today. His next scheduled conference is Wednesday, June 17 at 4:00 p.m. 

Monday 6/15/20 - SUMMARY UPDATE from Governor Andy Beshear:

NEW CASES: 85 new cases on Sunday, 120 today. (Total number in Ky: 12,647). 

Boone Co. - 1 Sunday; 1 Monday
Kenton Co. - 0 Sunday; 0 Monday
Campbell Co. - 0 Sunday; 0 Monday
Grant Co. - 0 Sunday; 0 Monday

- Over 325,065 tests completed to date in Kentucky.
- Total patients who have been hospitalized: 2,433.
- Total Patients Currently in Hospital: 383.
- Total Patients admitted to ICU: 969.
- Still Currently in ICU: 63.
- Recovered Patients: 3,416. 

DEATHS: 1 Sunday, 5 Monday
Total Death Toll: 505

At his conference Monday, Beshear spoke about the importance of wearing masks and aiding contact tracing efforts in preventing spikes of the virus in the commonwealth. Officials also reminded Kentuckians that today is the deadline to request an absentee ballot for the upcoming primary elections and of the need to fill out U.S. Census forms. Updates on education and corrections also were provided.

Gov. Beshear and Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner for the Department for Public Health, stressed the importance of wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to protect Kentucky from experiencing the surges and spikes that are being seen in other states.

“The one most important thing we can do to prevent a spike, to make our reopening go the way we want it to, is to wear a mask. I know this has become part of what some people call a cultural war. Folks, this is not. This is key to keeping each other alive. It’s the key to keeping our reopening,” the Governor said. “You want our kids to be back in school as soon as possible and you’re not wearing a mask? You could be preventing what it is you want to see. I know it’s not comfortable. But when every single health official – those working for President Trump, those working for me – say this is the very shot we have, shouldn’t we be willing to do it?”

The renewed emphasis on wearing masks comes as several states are starting to see troubling growth in the number of coronavirus cases. Dr. Stack showed graphs showing recent increases in Arizona, South Carolina and Florida.

“If you look at all three of these other states, you see a sudden increase. That sudden increase is roughly 30 days ago. That’s about the middle of May,” Dr. Stack said. “That corresponds roughly with when social distancing restrictions were lifted in many of these states.”

He noted that in Houston, Texas, officials there are considering reopening NRG Stadium as a field hospital as cases in the state have soared to an average of more than 1,700 daily last week. He pointed out Arizona’s increase is happening despite a heatwave.

“If you’re hoping that the coronavirus will take a nap in the summer, it’s 106 degrees in Phoenix, Arizona, today,” Dr. Stack said. “It kind of suggests that if that kind of heat doesn’t slow it down, I’m not sure what kind will.”

Education Update

Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman offered an update on recent proposals for changes aimed at helping schools better represent all the students they serve and the road ahead as schools hope to reopen for the fall.

“The task force includes representatives of Kentucky’s educational cooperatives, educational partner organizations such as the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, Kentucky School Board Association, Kentucky Parent Teacher Association, Kentucky Education Association and Kentucky High School Athletic Association, as well as Kentucky Educational Television, the Southern Regional Education Board and other relevant partners,” Lt. Gov. Coleman said. “This task force focuses on providing timely information, research and instructional resources to our school districts as they dealt with an unprecedented length of school closure and are now trying to figure out ways to reopen amid the crisis.”

On March 16, the Kentucky Department of Education created the Education Continuation Task Force, which is comprised of K-12 education stakeholders, that is charged with developing plans to continue education in the state during this unprecedented time.

Right now, the task force is working to create guidance to help districts plan for fall.

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