Beshear: Next 2-3 Weeks 'Crucial' to Flatten Curve
By West Kentucky Star Staff
FRANKFORT - During his Wednesday COVID-19 press conference, Governor Andy Beshear provided an update on the situation in the Commonwealth. 

There are now 198 cases of COVID-19 in the state, with 35 new cases since Tuesday. Beshear also announced the fifth death related to the virus, a 75-year-old man from Jefferson County.

He said the sacrifice made by everyone is working. While cases are doubling every two days in several states, Kentucky's outbreak curve is on a slower trajectory. 

"I have no doubt that when we get more data that what we have done and the aggressive steps we are taking is better protecting us than many around us," Beshear said. "It's because so many of you have 'bought in' and are doing the right things."

He said the next two to three weeks are the most crucial period for Kentuckians to truly, "flatten the curve." As more people are diagnosed and the chance of spreading the virus grows, Beshear said the number of contacts by each person will determine the course of the outbreak. He encouraged everyone to limit 75 percent of their personal contacts with others. 

Beshear said, "I can't tell you that after two or three weeks that we'll be able to stop, we probably won't. But I can tell you the next two-to-three weeks are going to make a huge difference in people's lives, so do it for the people you love and care about, but do it for everybody else, too."

Beshear also announced an expansion of those that qualify for unemployment benefits. This list now includes independent contractors, small business owners, substitute teachers, gig economy workers, childcare workers from churches, cosmetologists, and anyone who has had to leave their job because of quarantine or paid leave.

"This means that so many of you how are out there who were worried are now able to file, and we want you to," Beshear said. 

Anyone who hasn't filed for unemployment is asked to do it on a specific day of the week, based on the first letter of your last name:
Sunday: A-D
Monday: E-H
Tuesday: I-L
Wednesday: M-P
Thursday: Q-U
Friday: V-Z
Saturday: If you missed your day

Beshear also announced that beginning on Monday, March 30, Kentucky will have its first drive-through testing facility for COVID-19. It will be for very specific individuals who are showing symptoms. Beshear says the testing site will test their concept, and if it goes well he hopes to open more as quickly as possible.

More information on this will be released Thursday, but Beshear urged everyone to be patient with the limited resources that will be in place. That means that everyone can't be tested right away, so only those who are truly symptomatic should use it when it launches. 

He has also suspended evictions across the commonwealth until the end of the pandemic. Beshear says individuals will still have to pay rent.

Law Enforcement and National Guard troops will begin to be stationed at hospitals across the commonwealth, with the goal of keeping the peace. Beshear says no one will be patrolling neighborhoods, they will just be stationed at hospitals to ensure everyone stays calm and safe.

Telehealth has also been expanded for those that don't need to see a doctor immediately, but have ongoing conditions.

Published 04:41 PM, Wednesday Mar. 25, 2020
Updated 10:32 AM, Thursday Mar. 26, 2020



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