Gov. Beshear emphasized his priorities – protecting the health and safety of all Kentuckians, restarting our economy and opening our schools – and said wearing a mask is the most important step we all can take to achieve those goals.
“So, what do we have to do? What are the actions that we have to take to protect our economy, to make sure that we protect $10 billion of our economy? It’s pretty simple. Wear a facial covering,” said Gov. Beshear. “Facial coverings help us achieve our three goals. No. 1 goal is to protect the lives and the health of Kentuckians. It is now a scientific fact: Wearing a mask protects both you and other people.”
He noted that cases are surging across the nation, causing many states to roll back their efforts to reopen their economies.
“The second goal is restarting our economy,” Gov. Beshear said. “There are multiple states now rolling back their reopening. I don’t want that to be us.”
Gov. Beshear said that while Kentucky is not posting the positive case numbers that we’re seeing in many places, many areas of the state are seeing worrying increases.
The Governor said Bell, Carroll, Graves and Shelby counties all posted major growths in cases in the past week, with Carroll County leading with a 47% growth in cases from July 3 to July 11.
While social media can paint a distorted picture of public sentiment on some of these issues, Gov. Beshear pointed to a recent poll that found that Kentuckians overwhelmingly back his mandate for face coverings, with 73% supporting versus 23% opposing.
“There’s noise out there. We live in a culture of what I believe is a broken system of social media, where one group can seem to be the majority sometimes because of amplification they get. But today, there was a poll that came out that asked Kentuckians if they supported requiring people to wear masks in certain indoor places, and folks, it’s not even close here in Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “Seventy-three percent support it. It crosses all demographics. It crosses all political parties. This is what the American people and the people of Kentucky want to see from their neighbors. So remember, when you wear a mask, you are a part of an overwhelming percentage of Kentuckians who know this is what we have got to do.”
The Governor also noted that there was a time when some questioned other safety laws, including those requiring seatbelts.
“We wear seatbelts don’t we? And I hope none of us would argue right now that a seatbelt is an infringement on our personal liberty,” said Gov. Beshear. “I don’t know if you remember, the history of seatbelts had the same kind of arguments we’re seeing against masks right now. But seatbelts aren’t even the same as wearing face coverings because your decision not to wear a seatbelt might result in you dying, but your decision not to wear a mask could result in you and other people dying. I consider the mask requirement more like a DUI law. You can’t do something where you could potentially harm somebody else. It’s not forever, it’s just until enough people can get this vaccine and we know our people are safe.”
Dr. Steven Stack, the commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, highlighted Kentucky’s non-partisan approach to battling the coronavirus with science.
“Regardless of party affiliation, [U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Dr. Jerome Adams] I’ve known for a couple decades, and he’s a friend and a colleague. There’s no party and no identity in this. It’s all about the science and trying to advise what are the best steps we can take as people to keep ourselves safe and minimize the impact of this disease,” said Dr. Stack. “It is essential that we use these masks. And if we think, ‘Oh, the kids will be fine,’ one, they won’t all be fine, a very small number are going to have problems. But the older folks, and the people with medical problems, won’t all be fine. If we want to get back to our activities, we have to use these masks.”
MONDAY 7/13/20 - UPDATE from Governor Beshear:
> NEW CASES: 277 (Total: 19,653)
*New cases do not include a small number of results that came in today which will be reported tomorrow*
Cases per County as of 7/12:
- Campbell: 7 (Total: 330 )
- Kenton: 7 ( Total: 886 )
- Boone: 14 (Total: 726 )
- Fayette County has seen a sudden increase in cases.
- There has been a rise in cases for children under 5: 11 positive, most in Fayette County. Youngest is 4 months old.
> DEATHS: 4 (Total Deaths: 629)
- Total Tests Completed in KY: 480,372
- Ever Hospitalized / hospitalized currently / ever in ICU / In ICU currently / Recovered Covid-19 patients: Results pending new system which will have full hospital data points. It is just 4 days old but 88 hospitals have complied. Waiting on remaining hospitals to report.
- General Statement on Hospital Space: We are still in good shape on beds and overall room in hospitals, ventilators
- 4.35% positivity rate, up from a couple weeks ago. In context, KY is 26th in the country on number of test performed and of those 26, we have the lowest positivity rate as of last recording by Kaiser Foundation.
The deaths reported Monday include two men, ages 60 and 79, and a 90-year-old woman from Fayette County, and a 77-year-old man from Warren County.
Gov. Beshear reminded all Kentuckians to take advantage of testing offered through the state’s partnership with Kroger.
“Not only are we back to a time when we’re seeing an increase in cases, we’re also back to a time where testing is a little more concerning. Many of the national labs out there are suddenly going back to the six-, seven-, eight-, nine-day turnaround times that we know are severely problematic,” said Gov. Beshear. “I want the people of Kentucky to know that we have already taken action and have made sure that we have purchased enough kits from here in Kentucky with commitments of a 48-hour turnaround time where we are not going to face that issue. We still need people to sign up and make sure you’re getting tested.”
This week’s Kroger testing sites are in Independence, Louisville and Lexington. Kentuckians can sign up for COVID-19 molecular diagnostic testing online. Tests are being conducted in NKY:
Tuesday, July 14 – Thursday, July 16 – Summit View Academy, 5006 Madison Pike, Independence, KY 41051