Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday afternoon that another Kentuckian has died from the coronavirus, or COVID-19.
A 64-year-old Jefferson County man died on March 13.
And Beshear announced during his daily press conference another child was diagnosed with the virus. A 6-year-old from Jefferson County tested positive but is doing well.
The state’s number of positive COVID-19 tests rose to 47 as of Thursday afternoon. Daviess, Henderson, Pulaski and Christian counties were new to the ever-growing list.
“There’s always an increase in cases before there is a decrease in cases,” Beshear said.
Regarding newer cases, several of those diagnosed ranged in age from 26 years old to 51. Beshear said it is an indication younger people are not abiding by recommendations, such as social distancing, because they believe they are not as vulnerable as senior citizens.
It is important for people of all ages to follow state guidelines, which can be found at kycovid19.ky.gov.
During the press conference, the governor made comments to clarify an executive order about gatherings. Beshear has closed all government gatherings, festivals and church services.
“I’m a person of deep faith,” Beshear said. “I’m a deacon in my church. It’s not an easy decision, but it is an absolutely necessary decision.”
Church services put vulnerable residents at risk. To continue holding worship services is not a test of faith, he said, and church gatherings must cease.
The Rev. Corrie Shull of Burnette Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville spoke during the governor’s press conference.
“We believe our governor is leading with excellence, and it is wise,” Shull said.
He asked church leaders to come up with creative ways of worshipping together, such as conference calls and online video streaming.
“Just because we cannot gather does not mean church stops,” Shull said.
If churches feed at-risk populations, they may continue those programs as long as social distancing is practiced. Federal officials said earlier this week people should not gather in crowds larger than 10 people. And it is recommended that people maintain at least 6 feet of distance from each other.
During the conference, Beshear talked about bar and restaurant closures. He announced businesses that offer take-out or meal delivery will be able to provide alcoholic beverages with meals.
Limitations and requirements will exist. Guidance will be available on the governor’s website.
During the question and answer session, Beshear expressed disappointment with a proposed Kentucky Senate budget, which included cuts to Medicaid and defunded teachers’ health care for the next couple of years.
“Folks, we are not in a business-as-usual (mode),” he said. “We are in an American people vs. the coronavirus (mode).”
Beshear said the cut to teachers’ health care amounted to an attempt “to get back at political adversaries, meaning teachers.”
It is mean-spirited and wrong, Beshear said. At a time when the world is fighting a health care crisis, it is important to make sure every Kentuckian who needs health care has it.
The governor’s press conferences take place daily at 5 p.m. ET on his Facebook page.
Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, firstname.lastname@example.org