Beshear: ‘Please, please mask up Kentucky’

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FILE – In this Feb. 19, 2020 file photo Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaks to the press at the Capitol in Frankfort, Ky. Beshear says protesters who hung an effigy of him were trying to use “fear and terror” to force their will on others. The Democratic governor on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 referred to the protesters as a mob. He said he won’t back down as he condemned the rally that spread to where his children play at the Governor’s Mansion. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WEHT) – Governor Andy Beshear announced 700 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. Beshear said even though this number is larger than Monday’s total, the combined total this week compared to this time last week is lower.

There are 18 new cases in children under the age of five across the state and seven new COVID-19 fatalities. Kentucky is currently at a 5.24% positivity rate, which the governor says he hopes continues to drop.

Governor Beshear said even though the curve needs to continue to flatten, he hopes the numbers continue to head in a better direction.

First Lady Britainy Beshear launched a new campaign Tuesday called Coverings for Kids to help collect mask donations for kids, teachers, and staff in need. Kentuckians are asked to donate homemade or purchased masks, which will then be distributed to schools across the state. For more information on Coverings for Kids, visit www.FirstLadyKY.gov./CoveringsforKids.

After one week of the restrictions placed on bars and restaurants, Governor Beshear said he is hopeful he can increase capacity in restaurants. He said he is still looking at the data and considering options for reopening bars. Beshear said 18% of clusters over the past month have been linked to bars and restaurants, which is why he was urged to follow the White House guidelines to take this step initially.

The governor said he is not surprised by the trend of more schools opting to begin the school year virtually, saying he hopes all schools will continue to carefully weigh the options and choose the best one for their schools.

The governor also discussed concerns students and teachers have about going back to school this fall. When an outbreak occurs, Beshear said the local health department will immediately examine the details to determine the plan such as who needs to quarantine and if a classroom or school will be forced to shut down or move to virtual instruction. He said this will reach a statewide concern rather than by district if the outbreak numbers surge too high.

Governor Beshear said he is working closely with Churchill Downs to determine if the Kentucky Derby can continue with fans next month. They will talk again next week and continue to look at the data at that time. The question came in regards to the announcement earlier Tuesday that the Indianapolis 500 will not allow spectators this year for the first time ever. Governor Beshear said if the Kentucky Derby occurred today, adjustments would need to be made, but he is hopeful for a safe solution in the future that involves some fans being present.

The governor was asked his thoughts on a large National Street Rod Event being held in Louisville this weekend, to which he said he cannot put out a mandate against the event but asked Kentuckians to do the right thing and stay safe. He also urged people coming to Kentucky from other states to get tested before they come into the state.

Governor Beshear continued to encourage everyone who has been to any state listed on the travel advisory to quarantine for 14 days and get tested after about four days. He said not going to these places is always the best option.

“Let me be clear, just don’t go to these places unless you have to,” said Beshear.

Governor Beshear also discussed the current state of the HEALS Act and the lack of agreement in Washington D.C., saying it is crucial they come to an agreement to help Kentuckians and all Americans.

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(This story was originally published on August 4, 2020)

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