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.
The state lab in Frankfort has tested 21 individuals for coronavirus. Seventeen have tested negative.
No information has been released on how the individuals contracted the virus.
Beshear stressed that the best way Kentuckians can prevent the disease is to maintain good hygiene.
“Wash your hands and wash them a lot,” Beshear said. “Wash them a lot more than you normally would and wash them twice as long as you normally would.”
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said he spoke with Beshear at 5 p.m. Sunday, but did not have additional details about the Jefferson County patient. Fischer said they did not yet know how the patient may have been infected.
Louisville’s Director of Public Health Dr. Sarah Moyer said they are advising nursing homes to restrict visitors and are encouraging support for workers and students who need to stay home while sick.
The first coronavirus case was confirmed on Friday. State officials announced on Saturday that the individual who contracted the disease was from Harrison County, and was treated at Harrison County Memorial Hospital in Cynthiana before being transferred to UK Chandler Memorial Hospital in Lexington.
The Cynthiana Democrat reported that the patient didn’t initially meet CDC guidelines for coronavirus testing at the time they came to the hospital, since the patient said they hadn’t traveled outside the country or been in close contact with someone who had.
Harrison County Public Schools will be closed for at least a portion of next week. Beshear also recommended that nursing homes there close to visitors for the upcoming week.
He also advised that public gatherings be delayed in Harrison County, and urged “social distancing”—trying to stay about six feet apart from other people.
Beshear said the state would hold a press conference Monday morning at 8:45 Eastern Time for an update. Fischer will join Beshear for that briefing, and will also hold an additional briefing at 11:45 a.m. in Louisville, along with representatives from Jefferson County Public Schools, the University of Louisville, and the district director from Congressman John Yarmuth’s office.
Kentucky has its first confirmed case of COVID-19, caused by the coronavirus, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Friday. Beshear declared a state of emergency “so we can have every tool that we will need to address this issue,” he said in a press conference.
Beshear said the patient is in Lexington and is being treated in isolation at a hospital. He declined to provide other details, saying more information would be shared once epidemiologists learned more.
He said there have been 10 people tested, and this is the first positive. About 100 Kentuckians have been asked to self-quarantine, he said, and almost all have been cleared.
“To our Kentucky families that are nervous, this is what we’ve been preparing for,” Beshear said. “There is no need to worry.”
Dr. Steven Stack, the commissioner of the Department of Public Health, said state epidemiologists are currently doing contact tracing to figure out who may have been in contact with the patient and what community response will be required.
“Still, Kentuckians remain at very low risk” for being infected with coronavirus, said Stack.
Beshear said the state’s poison control hotline has been re-purposed to become the COVID-19 hotline. Concerned Kentuckians can call 1-800-222-1222 for more information. The state has also created a website, KYCOVID19.ky.gov, to provide updated data on coronavirus in Kentucky.
He said the best thing to do is practice good hygiene and stay home if you’re sick, but there is no reason to disrupt everyday life.
More information will come to light over the weekend and early next week, he said.
“This is new and moving fast,” Beshear said. “We want to make sure we never under-respond.”
This is a developing story. Stay tuned for updates