Kentucky Tops 100 COVID-19 Cases As Unemployment Claims Skyrocket

Mar 22, 2020

Confirmed ases of COVID-19 in Kentucky have passed the 100 mark, as Governor Andy Beshear rolls out additional steps aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Credit AP Photo/Bruce Schreiner

At his daily briefing Sunday, the governor reported the commonwealth has now tested over 2,000 people and turned up 103 positives. The average age of those affected is 53. While the hospitalization rate among symptomatic patients who have been tested is "somewhat high," according to Beshear, the "ICU rate is down around 6 percent right now."

"That is a testament to how well our hospitals are doing," the governor said.

Two new labs are now running COVID-19 tests, including facilities at the University of Kentucky and Diatherix. Yet while that capacity is gradually increasing, Beshear says a shortage of personal protective equipment for doctors and nurses remains a major concern.

"We've got some positive potential news that's out there, but again when I talk about hope I'm going to make sure that it is fully real and that we are going to level with the people of Kentucky," the Democrat said. "This is one of our biggest limiting factors about when we can set up that mass testing."

As the state awaits more news on that front, information about the prevalence of the virus is still in short supply. That's leading to another round of top-down guidance. Beshear said, as of Monday night at 8, his recommendation that medical facilities cease all elective procedures will become a mandate, and he is instructing all non-essential retail businesses to shut down in-person operations. Delivery and curbside service will be still be allowed.

"This is the next step that we need to take to reduce the contacts among Kentuckians," he added.

The governor stressed that the order does not include groceries, pharmacies, gas stations, auto repair, or liquor stores.

On a lighter note, Beshear was also asked if he's seen a Facebook fan page dubbed "andy beshear memes for social distancing teens" that's attracted more than 40,000 followers in recent days. His response...

"If it makes people smile right now, I'm for it."

Watch the governor's daily briefings at 5 PM ET.