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Beshear Announces 7 Benchmarks Before Kentucky Can Start To Reopen

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J. Tyler Franklin
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At his briefing on Friday evening, Gov. Andy Beshear announced criteria Kentucky will use to decide when to ease coronavirus restrictions.

The benchmarks fall in line with what the federal government has recommended—states need to show a consistent decline of new coronavirus cases, increased testing capacity and wider availability of personal protective equipment.

Once that happens, Beshear said some businesses will be able to reopen, as long as they meet strict social distancing and sanitary guidelines.

Beshear said he will be taking proposals from businesses about how they could operate.

“Our new normal is that things are going to be able to open faster if they’re able to really strictly comply with the CDC guidelines,” Beshear said.

The seven benchmarks Beshear announced are:

  • Decrease in the number and rate of new cases
  • Increased testing capacity
  • Increased availability of personal protective equipment
  • Ability to protect at-risk populations
  • Ability to socially distance
  • Preparedness for a future spike
  • Status of a vaccine

On Thursday, the federal government recommended states wait to ease restrictions until they show a downward trajectory of coronavirus cases for 14 days. States also need to have enough testing kits and capacity to test all people with symptoms, and those they’ve come in contact with.
Beshear said that his recommendations are “very much in line with the White House.”

“This isn’t political. It’s life and death, and a lot of us are on the same page, regardless of rhetoric that gets out there,” Beshear said.

Beshear announced 134 new coronavirus cases on Thursday for a total of 2,522. There were also 8 new deaths reported, for a total of 137.

Beshear also said a 49 year old state prisoner at Green River Correctional Complex has died due to coronavirus.

The governor said Kentucky is currently in the “plateau” of the coronavirus pandemic, but that the state will have to wait to reopen businesses until there’s a decline in new cases for 14 days.

“We haven’t seen that yet, but that’ something everybody can watch, and it’ll give us a good idea,” he said.

Ryland is the state capitol reporter for the Kentucky Public Radio Network, a group of public radio stations including WKU Public Radio. A native of Lexington, Ryland has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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