A 79-year-old Hopkins County woman was one of eight new COVID-19-related deaths reported in Kentucky on Tuesday by Gov. Andy Beshear. The eight fatalities raised the total to 783 Kentuckians lost to the virus — including 35 in Hopkins County.
The governor and First Lady Britainy Beshear were not feeling well Tuesday and, out of an abundance of caution, were tested for COVID-19 to protect themselves and those around them. The test results for Gov. Beshear and his family came back negative for the coronavirus.
“I wanted to start by letting you know that both my family and I are OK,” said Beshear. “We’ve tested negative for COVID-19 after a real scare. And I want to thank everybody out there who sent their thoughts and their prayers.
“This morning, late in the morning, I started feeling bad with a lot of the symptoms that can suggest COVID-19,” he said. “Because of that, I immediately isolated and canceled events we had in the afternoon. A couple hours later, I was tested. And even the short wait that I had to endure gives me newfound empathy for those that are having to wait even a couple days to get their test results back, knowing that they may be separated from their family and wondering what their immediate future is going to be. So Im going to continue to try to lead with this empathy and hopefully it makes me a better Governor in addressing this virus.”
In addition to the local fatality, seven new coronavirus cases were confirmed in Hopkins County, which bring that total to 428 since March.
Beshear said there were at least 35,793 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 562 of which were newly reported Tuesday. Eighteen of the newly reported cases were from children ages 5 and younger, including an 18-day-old from Hardin County, a 1-month-old from Rowan County and a 3-month-old from Lincoln County.
“This thing is real, it’s out there,” Beshear said. “We’ve got to make sure were doing everything we can to fight it. While my family ended up negative today, I know there are a lot of families out there that are positive. We send you our love, we want you to get better. We want to make sure were not spreading this to any other family that has to endure any of that hardship.
Other deaths reported Tuesday include an 86-year-old man from Grant County; three women, ages 54, 65 and 84, and two men, ages 75 and 93, from Jefferson County; and a 60-year-old man from Ohio County.
As of Tuesday, there have been at least 711,017 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate currently stands at 5.87%.
“That is a number that is just too high to do a number of things we want to do,” Beshear said. “It means its just not safe at this moment to do a number of things that were working toward. But I’m committed, I’m committed to getting our kids back in school in a safe manner.”
At least 8,819 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.
On Monday, Beshear and administration officials, in consultation with Kentucky teachers and school administrators, announced new guidance asking schools to wait until Sept. 28 to begin in-person classes.
The governor said the decision was driven by four factors: Kentuckys cases being near a peak, an increase in infection rates among children across the U.S., the experience of school districts in other states and families continuing to travel to hotspots for vacations against the advice of health officials.
Also Monday, La Tasha Buckner, the governor’s chief of staff and general counsel, offered an update on bars and restaurants operating in the commonwealth. Buckner said a new order that went into effect Tuesday allows bars to reopen and restaurants to increase their capacity. Both bars and restaurants can operate at 50% of capacity, as long as other guidance requiring social distancing, facial coverings and sanitation is followed.
Customers in both bars and restaurants will be required to remain in their seats, except when entering, leaving or using the restroom. In addition, bars and restaurants will be required to halt food and beverage service by 10 p.m. and close at 11 p.m. local time.
The full list of requirements is posted on the “Healthy at Work” website — https://govstatus.egov.com/ky-healthy-at-work.