Kentucky has “crushed the curve,” Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday during his coronavirus update.
A panel of experts who track virus trends nationwide reports the state is one of the best positioned to reopen its economy, Beshear said.
The governor presented a series of charts that show Kentucky’s COVID-19 journey since the first case was reported March 6.
During the first 30 to 35 days, the number of cases more than doubled each week. That was a pandemic curve, Beshear said.
If something didn’t change, he said, state officials expected to see more than 16,000 cases per week by May 4.
But, in mid-April, the graphs show Kentucky hit a very abrupt plateau that continued for about 35 days.
What changed? About two weeks before, Beshear started the Healthy at Home initiative.
“We took drastic and significant steps,” he said. “It worked.”
Now, cases in Kentucky have been trending downward for 14 days, which is one of the Trump administration’s recommendations for reopening the economy. Increased testing and contact tracing are among other guidelines.
In other news, Josh Benton, deputy secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, reported 15,000 unemployment insurance claims from March and April were processed this week. The ones that remain are the most difficult because they require manual processing.
In addition, Benton announced a limited, internal data breach.
At 9:17 a.m. April 23, a claimant reported the ability to view other claimants’ identity verification documents on the unemployment website. Department officials took immediate action, and by midnight, a software fix corrected the issue.
Benton said no evidence suggests the system was entered from the outside, and it appears no data was used to harm any claimants.
Department officials notified major credit-reporting agencies and will send information to claimants who may have been involved in the breach.
“We take this very seriously,” Benton said.
Initially, Beshear wasn’t told about the incident. He learned about it through interoffice correspondence late last week and requested the information be made public.
Some department officials disagreed, arguing it was not a data breach because it did not involve an outside infiltration, Beshear said. He felt differently and said it should be reported to the public.
It took far too long to let the public know, he said.
“I want to make sure we respond and respond quickly every time,” Beshear said.
Beshear announced Thursday he is reorganizing cabinets to ensure better results for residents dealing with unemployment insurance. That department will move under the jurisdiction of the Labor Cabinet, where it was in the past.
The governor reported 113 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, bringing the state’s total to 9,184.
Beshear announced nine deaths. To date, the virus has killed 409 Kentuckians.
Thursday, Green River District Health Department officials reported nine new confirmed COVID-19 cases — three in Daviess County, three in Henderson County, two in Ohio County and one in Webster County. The total of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the seven-county district now stands at 665.
Muhlenberg County Health Department officials reported one new case of the coronavirus, bringing that county’s total to 494.
Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, email@example.com