Beshear asks schools to shut until April 20, warns about all gatherings, business practices; testing expands; more needed

As news develops in Kentucky about the coronavirus and its covid-19 disease, this page will be updated. Official state guidance is at https://kycovid19.ky.gov.
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Saturday, March 21, 2020
  • Gov. Andy Beshear, who has banned all “mass gatherings,” including church services, called on churches to ring their bells at 10 a.m. ET Sunday. “It just reminds us that we’re all here, that our Creator, regardless of your faith, cares about us,” he said at his daily press conference.
  • Beshear said a flea market in Floyd County, which he did not specify, “tried to say their interests should come above others” by staying open. “Don’t be that group.” He urged Kentuckians to “not be the exception that doesn’t honor the sacrifice of others.”
  • The governor announced the third death in the state from covid-19, a 67-year-old Anderson County man who “had a number of other factors that contributed.” The man was among 24 newly reported cases, bringing the state’s total to 87; Beshear noted that the figure will get less precise as more testing sites are established. He said the governor’s mansion will be lit in green, the color of compassion and renewal, to show care.
  • The Food and Drug Administration announced that it had approved a test for the coronavirus that could produce results in as little as 45 minutes. It was approved for doctors’ offices but will first be used mainly by hospitals, which will start getting them next week, said the test’s manufacturer, Cepheid Inc.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that as testing becomes more available, people should not flood testing centers because each test requires heath-care workers to use personal protective equipment that is in short supply. Here are federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for seeking care.
  • A poll taken for The Commonwealth Fund, a national foundation, March 10-15 found that 87 percent of Americans want to get tested for the coronavirus. “Six in 10 said they want to get tested if the test is available, while one in four want to get tested if they think they might have been exposed to the virus,” the fund reports.
  • Epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, who helped eliminate smallpox and warned in 2006 of a pandemic like this one, says we can beat it, starting with a lot more testing, he tells Wired magazine.
  • Lexington speech pathologist Fatima Warren “wants you to know just how big of a pain it was to persuade doctors to test her despite the fact that she had a persistent fever, tested negative for a whole slew of other illnesses and generally felt like crap,” the Courier Journal reports. It took her nine days to get tested.
  • Harrison Memorial Hospital in Cynthiana opened a “cough clinic” to look for signs of several illnesses, not just covid-19. “What we’re trying to do is give people a reassuring place to come to to see if they need further testing or screening or other medical treatment,” Dr. Stephen Besson told the Courier Journal.
  • Illinois Gov. Jay Pritzker issued a stay-at-home order. The chief infectious-disease epidemiologist at the University of Chicago urged compliance, warning, “The healthy and optimistic among us will doom the vulnerable.”
  • Beshear, asked about a possible “shelter in place” order in Kentucky, said that “is a term that evokes emotions in people that don’t line up to what other states have done,” because it suggests taking cover and securing doors and windows to avoid an active shooter or hazardous materials. “What we will be talking about, and will probably have to take some steps on moving forward, is limiting your interactions among people,” while allowing essential outings and going outdoors “with social distance.” He introduced a new hashtag for social media, #HealthyAtHome, as well as #patriot.
  • Keeping preventive social distance is hard because it is against fundamental human nature, but there are ways to cope, The Washington Post reports. Former Courier Journal cartoonist Nick Anderson has a related take:
  • Beshear rejected President Trump’s suggestion that masks be sanitized and re-used. re-use of masks: “We don’t think we ought to be reusing those masks,” he said, reflecting the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says masks should be re-used in very limited cases. Asked how he would judge Trump’s performance, Beshear said he was “done with the political side” and just wants the federal government “to work hard to provide what we need, and make sure independent contractors can qualify for unemployment.”
  • 4-H agents across the state have made more than 3,000 “brown bag kits” for activities that parents can pick up and take home. Counties participating are Garrard, Washington, Casey, Lincoln, Henderson, Madison, Fulton, Knott, Edmonson, Letcher, Jessamine, Wolfe, Carlisle, Pulaski, Hopkins, Crittenden, Bracken, Calloway, Bourbon, Floyd, Washington, Nelson and Rowan. 4-H and Family and Consumer Sciences agents have daily Facebook Live, Instagram stories and Zoom programs, covering topics from art classes to social distancing.
  • FCS and horticulture agents and volunteers are gathering materials and providing other volunteers with “kits” that can be sown into federally approved masks for health-care workers, in coordination with Owensboro Health.
  • The Cooperative Extension Service has assembled resources for agricultural producers at https://coronavirus.ca.uky.edu/producers. UK’s Center for Economic Development in Kentucky has resources to help small businesses at https://cedik.ca.uky.edu/COVID-19_resources.
  • The virus couldn’t have come at a worse time for Kentucky’s Appalachian coalfield, which is suffering economically, has less access to health care, and has one of the nation’s highest concentrations of “health conditions that substantially raise the risks” of developing covid-19, the Courier Journal reports.
  • Amid negotiations on another relief package in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Kentuckians for their efforts to help each other, highlighting a Louisville woman who created a clearinghouse for volunteers. McConnell’s video is here.
  • The Post profiles Fauci, citing his “straight-talking-uncle-from-Brooklyn charisma” and his ability to ingratiate himself with the powerful: “The doctor has been stockpiling capital in Washington for years. His political superpower, say those who’ve worked with him, is his ability to convert whoever happens to be in front of him — a patient, a medical student, a U.S. president — into an acolyte.”

Friday, March 20, 2020

  • Gov. Andy Beshear asked school superintendents to extend the suspension of in-person classes another two weeks, to April 20.
  • The primary election, already moved from May 19 to June 23, could require mail-in voting, Beshear and Secretary of State Michael Adams said.
  • Beshear said the income-tax filing deadline has been extended to July 15, to conform to the federal government’s extension.
  • The governor said officials believe 63 cases of covid-19 have been confirmed in Kentucky, but future reporting won’t be as precise as before because “We have more and more testing labs coming on every day.” Here’s the list; the Lexington Herald-Leader tracks cases.
  • Bluegrass Extended Care Medicine in Lexington began drive-through testing for the coronavirus today, the Herald-Leader reports. Test subjects “must either have symptoms (fever, dry cough, chest tightness, trouble breathing) or have been exposed to a covid-19 patient,” the clinic said on Facebook.
  • People who later tested positive for the virus may have exposed dozens of people to it at church services in two counties, the Herald-Leader reports: “In Pulaski County, 40 people are in self-quarantine after potentially being exposed to the coronavirus at a church service last Sunday, local officials said Friday. And in Calloway County, University Church of Christ in Murray advised its congregation, which included around 150 people Sunday, to self-quarantine for the next 10 days, it said in a since-deleted Facebook post.”
  • Asked about those cases at his Friday afternoon press conference, Beshear said, apparently with more hope than qualification, “This weekend there are going to be no social gatherings.” (He banned “mass gatherings” Thursday.) He added, “We do believe we have seen a spread in church services and we need to do what it takes. He said churches can do good things to help in the crisis, “just don’t get folks together in a crowd.”
  • Asked about a church service planned at a drive-in theater, he said, “I believe this is a creative solution as long as there is that distancing between those cars,” and Health Commissioner Steven Stack agreed. Asked about golf courses, Beshear said people outdoors should stay eight feet apart and golf carts should not be used. The virus lives on surfaces.
  • Beshear said two funeral homes, which he did not name, are holding “very large funerals” though “There’s no place in Kentucky where we ought to have crowds,” and “We will have to take more aggressive steps if everybody out there doesn’t conform to this guidance.”
  • The governor also urged businesses to comply, saying “It is not about anybody’s bottom line, it is not about party, it is just is Americans against this coronavirus.” He said the state will work over the weekend to create a phone number employees call if they are concerned about their workplaces. “We are trying to take escalating steps to make sure we are reducing contacts,” he said, adding that if businesses don’t comply, “You will force us to take action.”
  • Stack said in a video interview with the American Medical Association that covid-19 will put demands on the health-care system that will “greatly outstrip the resources.” He said the disease is like “a Category 5 hurricane out to sea, about seven to 10 days away, and we know . . . . it’s going to hit, but if we take action now, we can take steps to protect people and to ensure people have what they need to survive the onslaught of the hurricane.”
  • He said people who have started applying for unemployment online need to finish their applications by 11:59 p.m. Saturday. Asked how many claims have been filed, he said federal officials had asked him not to give a number, but he said the number was eight times the 1,957 claims last year at this time. That would be 15,656.
  • Kentucky’s first case probably came from “someone who had traveled to California around the time the first covid-19 cases were hitting Los Angeles, then returned home to the Cynthiana area with the virus. The case is one of at least 16 positive tests that Kentucky epidemiologists believe they have tracked back to their origins,” the Courier Journal reports. “Officials now believe that the cluster of nine confirmed cases in the Cynthiana area — seven in Harrison County and two in neighboring Bourbon County — may all be linked to one person’s trip to California. The most recent case in the cluster, a 50-year-old man, was announced Wednesday night.”
  • The Northern Kentucky Health Department said it is closing its centers to the public “in an effort to increase social distancing, as well as focus additional resources on covid-19 response,” it said. Some services “will continue virtually and by phone.”
  • Shelby County imposed a curfew on juveniles from 11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday to Friday and 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, with exceptions for juveniles who are accompanied by a parent, or an adult 21 years or older and authorized by a parent to accompany the juvenile, and for juveniles returning home from work or religious, school or civic activities.
  • Rural newspapers need to take special measures to deliver the message of prevention through social distancing and other behavior that presumes “everyone has the virus,” The Rural Blog said in a special message to its readers, especially rural papers.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

  • Large-scale coronavirus testing is beginning in Kentucky. Integrity Extended Healthcare in Danville is doing 40 to 60 drive-through tests a day for the virus, for patients pre-screened by phone, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports: “Dr. Pallaki Ravi said . . . with proper funding to take full advantage of Integrity’s resources, the facility could do as many as 100 tests per day if needed. “We don’t get funding for specimen collection, personal protection equipment, or phone call screening.” The tests go to Solaris Diagnostics and Quest Diagnostics, which return results in 24 to 48 hours, Ravi said.
  • Older people appear to be more vulnerable to the virus, but that does not mean that younger people are significantly less vulnerable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 38 percent of Americans hospitalized for covid-19 have been between 20 and 54, and nearly half of the 121 patients who were admitted to intensive care units were adults under 65.
  • Experts say Kentucky’s rural hospitals are not equipped to deal with the pandemic, the Herald-Leader reports.
  • Craig Martin, professor and associate dean at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, who coordinates courses on infectious diseases, published a myth-busting piece about covid-19 and its impact on communities.
  • Pro-Russian media “have been spreading disinformation about coronavirus” in Western countries to aggravate the public-health crisis, “specifically by undermining public trust in national healthcare systems,” the European Union’s diplomatic service says in a report obtained by The Guardian.
  • Vox published a graphic distinguishing covid-19 from the flu:

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

      • The state identified nine more covid-19 cases, its biggest daily spike, and Gov. Andy Beshear suggested they’ll get bigger: “We’re gonna see new cases every day . . . and probably in a rapid fashion,” he said at a press conference in which he twice interjected notice of newly reported cases. The new total is 35, after about 500 tests.
      • The new cases included the oldest and youngest yet in Kentucky: an 88-year-old woman in Bourbon County and an eight-month old in Jefferson County, who is being treated at home. “It is very rare” for minors to get the disease, Beshear said.
      • Dr. Sean McTigue, a pediatric infectious-disease specialist and UK HealthCare’s medical director for pediatric infection prevention and control, said in a news release that children should be told that the risk to them is very low: “In the largest study of covid-19 patients, only 2 percent of all identified infections were in children, and the vast majority of these were asymptomatic or very mild. To date, there have been no deaths reported worldwide in children.”
      • A Montgomery County patient who tested positive is out of the hospital and reportedly fully recovered. “These are stores we need to tell,” Behsear said, “because for 80 percent pf people who get this, you’ll be just fine.” The Lexington Herald Leader has a case tracker.
      • Beshear shut down charitable gaming: “We can’t have bingo halls where often times the most vulnerable come together.”
      • The state will extend certification for public assistance for three months and allow the unemployed to apply immediately for Medicaid. Health Secretary Eric Friedlander recommended signing up for Medicaid first, at 855-459-6328 or a website that lists local assisters; for SNAP (formerly food stamps) and other programs, call 855-306-8959. He said public-assistance offices are closed to in-person traffic but documents can be dropped off.
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  • Beshear said unemployment offices’ computer servers and phone lines are operating, and noted that applicants should apply on certain days, depending on the first letter of their last name.
  • Beshear said banks and other financial institutions will reduce hours and lobby access but are sound. “There is no need to make a run on them,” he said, adding “Paper money allows for a bigger spread” of the virus. He said banks would accept loan applications online or by phone, and encourage customers to performs transactions electronically. Central Bank in Lexington said it would extend loan-repayment periods without penalty.
  • Asked why he hasn’t limited grocery purchases, Beshear said, “Our institutions are working on that right now . . . There are going to be some limits on essential items.”
  • Beshear and Health Commissioner Steven Stack talked, respectively, about the need for medical facilities to stop elective surgeries and for all Kentuckians to follow other recommendations. “If it’s not followed, if there’s not substantial compliance, it’s gonna be a mandate,” Beshear told the medical industry. “I can’t tell you how many groups out there have tried to say ‘It’s not me’.” Stack said he was surprised at the number of requests for exemptions to other guidance: “Stop looking for excuses why your community is different from other communities.”
  • Asked if his order closing hair and nail salons exempts those with only one worker, who sees only one client at a time, Beshear replied, “No, because that allows it to spread from person to person, and it is a close contact; and if you’re one of those persons, I’m sorry.” He said the same of physical and occupational therapists.
  • “It is our duty as neighbors, it is our duty as citizens of the commonwealth, and it is our patriotic duty as Americans” to follow the rules, Beshear said, adding that those who don’t cooperate are “undermining the sacrifice that everyone else is making.”
  • Asked if he was considering a “shelter in place” order like some other states and cities, Beshear said, “We’re not recommending that at the moment, but again, just limit those contacts.” He said such an order “sounds scary” but “still allow you take a walk, to go get groceries, to shop for the absolute essentials. All it’s trying to do in those places is encouraging the social distancing that we are already trying to do.”
  • The Louisville Courier Journal reports, “In a state with so many people afflicted with serious medical conditions, covid-19 is much more dangerous. . . . Almost half of adult Kentuckians — nearly 1.6 million people — are considered at risk of serious illness if they were to get covid-19.”
  • On a vote of 90-8, the Senate sent to President Trump a House-passed emergency bill that would provide two weeks’ sick leave at no less than two-thirds of normal pay to people who may have the coronavirus, to encourage them to stay home from work. Among other things, it would also expand family and medical leave and boost unemployment benefits. Tuesday night, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul delayed passage of the bill by forcing a vote on an amendment, which lost 95-3.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the 53 Republican senators and the White House would then start drafting another bill with “policy tools to put money quickly and directly into the hands of American families,” then negotiate with Senate Democrats to get a version that can the 60 votes needed to pass. “We know an additional bill of much larger proportions is necessary to meet this crisis,” he said.
  • Ford Motor Co. announced that it would close its factories, including two in Louisville, affecting 12,000 workers.
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing Corp. said it would shut its plants Monday and Tuesday, and cancel a scheduled production Saturday at Georgetown, for a thorough cleaning of the plants.
  • Kentucky is the focus of a story in Forbes magazine about how rural areas are coping.
  • The New York Times has a situation piece from Cynthiana, which had Kentucky’s first identified case of covid-19 and at one point had half the cases in the state.
  • Distiller Pernod Ricard USA said it will produce and donate hand sanitizer to help curb the national shortage; Rabbit Hole Distillery in Louisville will be a manufacturing site.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

  • Gyms, theaters, hair and nail salons and other places where people congregate must close by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Gov. Andy Beshear said. His order applies mainly to entertainment and recreational facilities, not groceries, pharmacies, retail businesses, auto repair shops, health-care facilities, gas stations, pet stores and so forth.
  • Beshear said all licensed adult day care centers will need to close Friday, March 20.
  • He stressed again that all medical facilities need to stop elective procedures, with no exceptions, by close of business Wednesday: “This applies to all of our medical professions.”
  • The governor said he has also advised acute-care facilities to discourage all visitors, except for end-of-life circumstances. Psychiatric facilities are also encouraged to restrict visitation, unless medically necessary. In addition, personal care homes, assisted living, senior care and intermediate care facilities should also limit visitation, except for end-of-life circumstances.
  • Beshear strongly encouraged manufacturers to find ways to create social distancing in the workplace and said if they don’t get serious, “There may come a time when we have to take additional steps.”
  • Responding to a report that he had denied legislative leaders’ request to call a special session to deal with matters that would be left hanging if they ended their session sooner than planned, Beshear said “I’m not doing the back and forth,” and gave the General Assembly two options: pass a budget as soon as possible and go home without considering other legislation, and “certainly don’t consider laws that get people fired up; I mean, people are already on edge and anxious” — or adjourn without a budget, “and I will call a special session for budget and any legislation related to coronavirus.” He can limit the topics of a special session.
  • Four more Kentucky cases of covid-19 were confirmed overnight, and another was confirmed this afternoon, for a total of 26. The Lexington Herald Leader has a case tracker.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave states authority to authorize coronavirus tests in their own states and said private laboratories can develop and use tests before FDA approval.
  • Health Commissioner Steven Stack said that just as pregnant women have a higher risk of developing severe illness from influenza, they should take extra care and caution “out of an abundance of care” to protect themselves from the coronavirus, specifically with social distancing and personal hygiene. Click here for expert guidance.
  • Beshear said he is working with the federal government to continue Child Care Assistance Program payments on behalf of qualified families during the mandatory closure period. The state will cover co-payments typically covered by the families.
  • The state website and phone lines for filing unemployment claims “were not functioning as of [early] Tuesday afternoon and have not since Monday morning,” when Beshear banned dine-in services, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. The state had waived the one-week waiting period for those out of work due to the virus, and the work-search requirement.
  • Dollar General Corp. said its stores would be open only to seniors during the first hour of business each day, because people over 60 are more vulnerable to the coronavirus.
  • The state Public Service Commission ordered all utilities it regulates to suspend until further notice, and for at least 30 days, all cutoffs for non-payment, and to stop charging late-payment fees. It said the order “in no way relieves customers of the obligation to ultimately pay for utility services, but it “expects utilities to establish ‘lenient and flexible payment plans’ for customers who fall behind.”
  • The University of Kentucky said classes would go online the rest of the semester, not just the two weeks after the current spring break. Western Kentucky University did likewise.
  • President Trump said rules on tele-medicine would be relaxed, to prevent crowding at physicians’ offices. Medicare/Medicaid Director Seema Verma said co-payments will be waived “so cost won’t be a barrier,” and patients should call doctors for details.
  • “We are looking to save the maximum number of lives,” Trump said. “The economy’s gonna come back; a life’s not gonna come back.”
  • “Trump has suddenly and markedly recalibrated his own approach, after weeks of blasé comments . . . that spurred some of his allies to dismiss the danger of the pandemic,” writes Robert Costa of The Washington Post. Trump said his tone hasn’t changed.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would, as soon as its members give it permission, pass and send to Trump the House-passed bill that would provide two weeks’ sick leave at no less than two-thirds of normal pay, to encourage people who may have the virus to stay home from work. Among other things, it would also expand family and medical leave and boost unemployment benefits. He said the 53 Republican senators and the White House would then start drafting another bill with “policy tools to put money quickly and directly into the hands of American families,” then negotiate with Senate Democrats to get a version that can the 60 votes needed to pass. “We know an additional bill of much larger proportions is necessary to meet this crisis,”he said.
  • Beshear opened his 5 p.m. press conference with a video for children. It hit on many topics, including basics about the virus, the importance of only listening to and watching trusted sources for information, social distancing, alternative ways to socialize, coping skills to deal with stress, and the importance of maintaining routines. Beshear said that as long as everyone in your home is well, “Hug your kids.”
  • He said schools need to be prepared to be closed longer than two weeks. “I would ask everybody to begin to make the preparations,” he said.

Monday, March 16, 2020

  • Gov. Andy Beshear said child-care centers in Kentucky will need to close by the end of the business day on Friday; exceptions will be made for health-care workers’ children.
  • At the request of Secretary of State Michael Adams and county clerks, Beshear reset the May 19 primary elections, as well as any special elections that were to be held on that day, until June 23.
  • The federal government recommended that Americans stay home and avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, and avoid discretionary travel, for the next 15 days, after which the advice will be reassessed.
  • Beshear ordered closure of bars and restaurants, with exceptions for delivery and drive-through. He said take-out orders will be allowed if they are done in a way that allows social distancing. He encouraged Kentuckians to order takeout and delivery to support the restaurant industry, and said his family would do so three times a week. The Lexington Herald-Leader did a quick reaction story.
  • Acknowledging that the move will cost some people their jobs, Beshear said the waiting period and work-search requirements for unemployment benefits would be waived.
  • Beshear said that he had applied for disaster assistance through the Small Business Administration, allowing Kentuckians to seek loans to alleviate economic injury caused by the coronavirus.
  • He said one reason the state is taking aggressive steps is that it has so many people with underlying medical conditions, such as heart, lung or kidney disease, that make them more vulnerable to the coronavirus. Diabetes is also one of those conditions.
  • Smoking is probably another. “Experts note that damage to the lungs from pollutants that result from combustion — whether inhaled deliberately by smokers, or inadvertently by those in regions with poor air quality — may increase the risk of respiratory tract infections from viruses such as the novel coronavirus,” reports Chris Mooney of The Washington Post. “Poor air can also cause lung inflammation that could worsen the symptoms of covid-19.”
  • Beshear announced that a 66-year-old man from Bourbon County with covid-19 died at Baptist Health Lexington. He said the disease was only one factor, but the man will be counted as the first Kentucky death from the disease.
  • Kentucky has another case of covid-19, a 34-year-old Jefferson County woman, bringing the total to 22.
  • Beshear said it remains unclear when large-scale testing for the coronavirus will be available; he said each time the state has received a timeline, it has been extended.
  • The state Emergency Operations Center has been elevated to Level 3. Beshear said this allows the state to access additional resources to do such things as setting up mobile testing centers as soon as tests become widely available.
  • Keeneland Race Course canceled its spring meet, and Churchill Downs sources told the Courier Journal that the Kentucky Derby would be moved from May 2 to Sept. 5.
  • Leaders of the General Assembly announced that the 2020 legislative session will continue as scheduled, but will be limited to elected members, staff, LRC-credentialed news media and other specifically approved individuals. Click here for a list of ways the public can stay connected to the legislature.
  • Beshear said state government will try to stop all in-person services, will close the Capitol to nonessential personnel beginning Tuesday, and will extend drivers’ licenses for 90 days.
  • The aim of the emergency restrictions is to “flatten the curve” of the outbreak to keep the health-care system from being overwhelmed by covid-19 patients. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this morning, “I don’t believe we’re going to flatten the curve to meet the capacity of the health-care system” in his state and the three-state New York City area, so state and local officials will look for facilities that can be converted into temporary hospitals, but “We need federal assistance. . . . No state can do it.”
  • At least one curve is flattening. State-by-state data on Google searches for “coronavirus,” which strongly reflected states’ degree of support for President Trump in 2016, have shown less difference in the last five days, University of California professor Michael Tesler writes for The Washington Post.
  • Beshear spoke at length about the anxiety many Kentuckians are feeling about the virus and the changes it has caused in their lives. He urged everyone to make sure they take time for self-care, whether that be taking a walk, exercising or simply turning off the 24-hour news and watching something for pleasure.
  • Mental Health America reports that it has had more than 1,000 “excess severe anxiety” results associated with the virus on its free, anonymous screening site, www.mhascreening.org. “Severe anxiety is a significant health concern and it cannot be dismissed simply as ‘worry’ that will pass on its own. Severe anxiety is a clinical condition that should trigger prompt and professional treatment and support,” Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of MHA, said in a release,
  • Beshear called on Kentuckians to share the good things they are doing to decrease the spread of the virus through social-media hashtags: #TeamKentucky and #TogetherKy.
  • The governor reiterated that hospitals need to stop all elective procedures at close of business Wednesday, and expanded that request to dental procedures.
  • He encouraged malls and movie theaters to take precautions to protect Kentuckians from the virus, and warned that a lack of self-regulation “forces us to take steps.”
  • U.S. Rep. Andy Barr of Lexington reported that the state is getting two truckloads of personal protective equipment, including masks, gloves and gowns.

PROTECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS

Information about covid-19 in Kentucky can be found at kycovid19.ky.gov; to ask questions about the disease, call the state hotline at 1-800-722-5725.

Signs and symptoms of covid-9 include fever, cough, shortness of breath, but many people with the coronavirus have no symptoms, or may have the virus and be contagious for several days before developing symptoms.

If you develop symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have covid-19, or have recently traveled from an area with an ongoing spread of coronavirus, it is recommended that you seek medical advice.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person through tiny droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Measures to protect yourself include: washing your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds; only use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; avoid close contact with people who are sick; stay home if you are sick; do not visit with seniors or people with chronic health conditions if you are sick; cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw it away; get a flu shot; clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces; and engage in social distancing, which means trying to stay six feet apart.