Beshear: Businesses that don’t sustain life must end in-person traffic, and hotline to report violators of his orders got 2,000 calls

As news develops in Kentucky about the coronavirus and its covid-19 disease, this item will be updated. Official state guidance is at https://kycovid19.ky.gov.

  • Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday that he would order all non-life-sustaining business to close to in-person traffic on Thursday, and even for those that sustain life, “We are going to mandate the type of social distance that we have to see out there to protect our people.”
  • Businesses remaining open to in-person traffic include groceries, pharmacies, banks, “manufacturing key to our national interest or life-sustaining goods,” Beshear said, as well as “all of those under the federal critical infrastructure sector; food, beverage, agriculture, media, gas stations and businesses needed for transportation; financial services, housing, building and construction; mail and delivery services, laundry services.”
  • Also exempt are businesses “that supply life-sustaining businesses,” such as home-based care and services and professional services, but “You can do almost all of it from home,” Beshear said. “If regulations need to be eased to allow you to do it we will do it.” He said the detailed order would be issued Wednesday.
  • Asked about caregivers, Beshear said that if they spend most of the day with someone, “You have to reduce your outside contacts with other people to a bare minimum.”
  • Beshear said takeout restaurants should limit the number of people coming in for food. The Franklin County Health Department stopped takeout entirely because so many people were congregating in restaurants, Director Judy Mattingly told WKYT-TV.
  • The governor said his various orders will be re-evaluated after about 10 days. “Now, I don’t want anybody out there to think that we think 10 days from now, we’re gonna be able to ease restrictions,” he said. “I can almost guarantee that we’re not. But what I want to be able to do is I want to be able to look forward to a chunk of time, and a period that we can come up to, and we can provide you a report in where we are. This will not last forever.”
  • The governor said the hotline he set up to receive reports of violations of his emergency orders “received a couple thousand calls last night. Please bear with us as we work through those. As we put out more guidance, hopefully there will be more compliance.” Later, he said a call “doesn’t mean that there is noncompliance. It just means that people out there was to feel safe and protected.” The number is 833-KYSAFER or 833-597-2337.
  • Noting the sacrifices Americans made in World War II, Beshear said, “This is, and I’ve been saying it, the challenge of our time. . . . I hate that there has to be a hotline; it just ought to be
    our duty.” He added later, “This is the defining moment, the defining moment of several generations, about whether we are willing to put each other first, about whether how much we care about each other’s lives is paramount.”
  • Beshear said one person had tested positive for the virus after attending a “coronavirus party” of people in their 20s, who may have thought they couldn’t catch the disease. “This makes me mad, and it should make you mad,” he said, but he declined to even name the person’s county, saying “They made a mistake. … It’s not something that ought to follow them their entire life.”
  • The state reported 39 new cases of covid-19, the most yet in one day; it is not clear how much of that is from spread of the virus and how much is from increased testing. The total number of cases reported in the state is 163.
  • Following a conversation with Gov. Andy Beshear to discuss the state’s response to the coronavirus, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he reached out to federal Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to request additional testing kits and personal protective equipment, like masks, gloves and gowns, for Kentucky’s health-care workers, and to advocate for drive-through testing sites in the state. Beshear said Monday that the state was having trouble finding enough PPE and in some cases was being outbid by other states and the federal government, and that the lack of PPE is the main obstacle to expanding testing.
  • President Trump said he wants the country “opened up” by Easter, April 12, “and continued to play down the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic even as experts warned of a worsening crisis,” The Washington Post reports. “A World Health Organization official said that the United States has the potential to become the new epicenter of the global crisis.”
  • Amazon closed one of its fulfillment centers in Shepherdsville after several employees tested positive for the coronavirus, the Courier Journal reports. The virus can live on some surfaces for up to three days.
  • UK HealthCare and Baptist Health closed hospitals and clinics to visitors because of the threat of covid-19 transmission, with some exceptions.
  • UK has launched a telemedicine program for its patients to help prevent the spread of covid-19. The program will allow patients to be treated from home and will function similarly to an urgent-care clinic. To make an appointment, call 1-833-739-0225.

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.