Kentucky has now eclipsed 1,000 deaths since the coronavirus outbreak began six months ago.
Governor Andy Beshear called it a tough and unfortunate milestone in announcing on Wednesday that 1,004 Kentuckians have now died from COVID-19 since March.
“They’re one of us, and no matter how old they were, they deserved time," Beshear said. "No matter what other complicating health factors they had, this played a part in it, and we owe it to them to work hard to limit the future casualties we have.”
Beshear announced there will be a wreath-laying ceremony by the Kentucky State Police Honor Guard in the Capitol rotunda at 10:00 a.m on Thursday. Then the governor will make a special address to the public at 5:30 eastern time. He is also ordering flags lowered to half-staff at all state office buildings for a period of one week.
Beshear acknowledged Kentucky’s fatalities are low compared to other surrounding states. Indiana has reported almost 3,200 deaths from the virus while Tennessee has recorded more than 1,900 casualties.
Beshear said the tragedy in the commonwealth could have been greater if not for measures taken to slow the spread of the virus. He pointed to the latest report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force that states Kentucky should keep a statewide mask mandate in place.
Beshear announced 667 new cases and 16 additional deaths on Wednesday. That brings Kentucky’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 53,977.