Eleanor Klibanoff

Kentucky legislature

The former executive director of the Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance told legislators Thursday the agency’s chaotic rush to deliver benefits in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic led to months-long delays — and may have violated federal unemployment regulations. 

Muncie McNamara testified before the Interim Joint Committee on Economic Development and Workforce Investment. The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting first reported the details of McNamara’s time at the Office of Unemployment Insurance earlier this month; he was hired personally by Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman in January and fired in May, amid the chaos of the pandemic.

Mayor Greg Fischer has announced a more thorough review of sexual assault allegations against Louisville Metro Police officer Brett Hankison, and has asked that he be removed from his role on the Louisville Police Merit Board.

Hankison is one of three officers who fired on Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman killed by police in her home in March. He’s currently on paid administrative reassignment while the investigation into that shooting continues.

Last week, two women came forward on social media to accuse Hankison of sexual assault, and claimed there were several other victims as well.

Eleanor Klibanoff

After five days of escalating clashes between police and protesters Louisville got a reprieve Tuesday night. Police seemed to pull back, allowing a crowd of hundreds to peacefully walk through the streets of the city unbothered. 

This apparent change of tactic follows the police killing of David McAtee, a west Louisville business owner shot around 12:15 a.m. Monday when Louisville Metro Police Department and the Kentucky National Guard arrived to break up a gathering after curfew. Officers from both LMPD and the National Guard fired at McAtee. Authorities released a video on Tuesday they allege shows McAtee fired first.

WFPL

In the wake of the fatal shooting of a man in the Russell neighborhood by law enforcement, Gov. Andy Beshear has called on Louisville officials to release body camera footage as quickly as possible.

David McAtee was killed early Monday after Louisville police and National Guard opened fire at a gas station at 26th and Broadway.

There was no protest there Sunday night; most of the activity was 20 blocks away, downtown. But the National Guard and Louisville Metro Police were called into the West End to respond to a large gathering and enforce the 9 p.m. curfew, Beshear said.

Beshear said he knows he is adding to the pressure to get the footage out to the public, and he intends to.

J. Tyler Franklin

Mayor Greg Fischer is appealing for calm on the streets following protests in downtown Louisville Thursday night. The protest moved through downtown for several hours and was largely peaceful, until gunfire rang out and seven people were wounded late in the evening.

The demonstration attracted hundreds of people and was in response to the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor during a drug raid conducted by LMPD officers in March.

On Friday morning, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said five of the seven wounded were treated at the scene, and two were taken into surgery. All are currently in stable condition, he said. 

J. Tyler Franklin

In mid-April, the Centers for Disease Control began including probable and presumed positive cases in their coronavirus death toll numbers. 

But it wasn’t until nearly two weeks later, on April 27, that Kentucky started reporting probable cases in its death toll. The 213 deaths reported in the first seven weeks of Kentucky’s pandemic only include people who were tested and confirmed to have coronavirus. 

Which means the accuracy of the state’s death toll is only as good as its testing. 

 


Ryan Van Velzer

As coronavirus infections and deaths continue to mount at Kentucky nursing homes, the state has announced plans to combat the spread of disease in these facilities.

During Saturday evening’s briefing, Gov. Andy Beshear said there were 40 more long-term care facility residents and six more staff members who have tested positive for the virus. Three more residents have died, bringing the total to 46 deaths from these facilities.

For Eric Friedlander, the acting secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, one of those deaths was personal. He said one of the people who died was a friend of his parents; he grew up with the family.

“This is a beautiful, wonderful person that we lost,” Friedlander said Saturday. “It’s personal, and it should be personal to us all. This is something none of us can wish away.”

Creative Commons

If Kentucky’s healthcare facilities become overrun with coronavirus patients, tough decisions may have to be made about who gets access to limited resources. But hospitals won’t be making those decisions in a vacuum — they’ll be guided by the state’s crisis standards of care plan. 

On March 30, Department for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Stephen Stack sent a copy of the state’s crisis standards of care plan to all hospitals in Kentucky. In an attached letter, he said that as coronavirus spread around the state, “crisis standards of care will need to be deployed to save the largest number of lives possible.” 

The 54-page plan lays out how hospitals should respond to “ethical challenges as a result of scarce critical resources,” in an effort to minimize illness, death, and adverse effects on social order and economic stability. It also includes a series of steps hospitals can take to expand their capacity amid a surge of need.

Screenshot from Gov. Andy Beshear Facebook

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Sunday that all non-essential retail businesses will have to close by Monday at 8 p.m.

He said that will not include grocery stores, liquor stores, pharmacies or gas stations, but will require clothing stores, sporting good stores, florists, book stores and similar businesses to close.

He also announced that healthcare providers will be required to stop elective procedures; this had previously been a recommendation, but Beshear said non-compliance on the part of some healthcare providers required this to become an order.

Jacob Ryan

Even as large swaths of society hunker down, Kentucky’s domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers are preparing to stay open — and deal with a potential influx of clients. 

“We really, really need to get the word out about the fact that we are open, we’re doing business, we’re here for the community,” said Angela Yannelli, the executive director of the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Erica Peterson

The best advice health officials have amidst coronavirus fears: wash your hands, don’t touch your face and stay home if you’re sick. 

But for many Kentuckians, that last option is not feasible. 

Kentucky is in a region that has the least access to paid sick leave, according to the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. About 40% of private sector workers in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi don’t have paid sick leave, the report found.  

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

This post has been updated.

Gov. Andy Beshear has announced three more confirmed cases of coronavirus in Kentucky, making four total cases in the state.

The cases have been documented in Jefferson, Fayette and Harrison counties. All individuals are being treated in isolation, Beshear said during the announcement on Facebook Live Sunday evening.

Beshear said officials had expected the additional cases and that there would likely be more.

“It was going to happen. Folks, we’re going to have more positive tests that come back. As long as we are ready, as long as we work together and as long as we remain calm, we’re going to be okay,” Beshear said.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Indiana has confirmed its first case of coronavirus. Gov. Eric Holcomb has declared a state of emergency, but health officials stressed there was no threat to public health from the confirmed case.

“The question has never been if Indiana would get a case, but when we would see one,” said Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box. “We have been preparing for this possibility, and I want to stress that this is an isolated case at this time.”

The patient, an adult Marion County resident, returned from a trip to Boston on March 4th. They had been working as a contractor associated with a conference, health officials said. The patient is in stable condition and is currently in self-isolation outside of a hospital setting.

J. Tyler Franklin

A Democratic lawmaker has filed two pieces of legislation hoping to increase access to sexual assault nurse examiners in Kentucky. 

Sexual assault nurse examiners, or SANEs, are specially trained to conduct rape kit exams and provide medical care after a sexual assault.  

A KyCIR investigation found that the majority of Kentucky hospitals do not employ a SANE. Since there is little statewide data available, KyCIR called every hospital or hospital chain in the state, and sent a survey to every certified SANE. 

Screenshot courtesy KET

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Friday that he has reinstated the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, which former Governor Matt Bevin abolished in July 2018.

“This is just one step that we are going to take to make sure that when our Kentuckians leave their family in the morning and head to work, it’s in the safest environment possible and that they know that they’ve got a state government that is looking out for their safety,” Beshear told KyCIR.

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