Andy Beshear

Ryland Barton

Hundreds of people gathered outside the state Capitol to protest Gov. Andy Beshear’s coronavirus-related executive orders as the state Supreme Court heard arguments over the restrictions inside on Thursday.

Demonstrators from across the state—most of them not wearing masks, some carrying guns—questioned the seriousness of the virus, or whether it exists at all. Some voiced theories that the virus was not real or part of a political conspiracy.

Charlotte Gagnon, a 64 year-old from Hopkinsville who attended the protest with the assistance of a walker, said she attended because she doesn’t want to wear a mask.

J. Tyler Franklin

Health departments across the state have ramped up hiring, and have more than tripled the number of contact tracers Kentucky had since the pandemic began. But by some estimates, the state still has less than a third of what it needs to effectively combat the coronavirus.

The state is up to 1,240 staff members for contact tracing, Mark Carter from the Cabinet for Health and Family services said Wednesday during Gov. Andy Beshear’s briefing.

“We are not quite at our total capacity. We have roughly 130 additional spots that we could fill and we continue to do that,” he said. 

Before the pandemic, the state had 431 contact tracers.

Ryland Barton

Gov. Andy Beshear has endorsed Amy McGrath in her race against Mitch McConnell during Kentucky’s race for U.S. Senate this year.

The endorsement isn’t a surprise—Beshear and McGrath are both Democrats—but does put Beshear at odds with McConnell, the senate majority leader, as he tries to seek more federal assistance for Kentucky during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, Beshear wrote that he believes McGrath has the right character and vision to lead the state through crisis.


A University of Kentucky law professor says he still has concerns about the upcoming November election, even though the state saw strong voter turnout during its recent primary

All of Kentucky’s 120 counties are required to create election plans for November 3. These plans will include early voting locations, in-person voting sites, and the number of poll workers.

County election officials also have to prepare to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines for social distancing, sanitation, and have enough personal protective equipment. 

UK law professor Joshua Douglas believes the commonwealth is approaching the election correctly. The state will have options for mail-in voting, early voting, and casting ballots in-person on Election Day.

Gov. Beshear's YouTube channel

On the deadliest day since the coronavirus pandemic reached Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear delivered a new kind of speech — he called it a “state of the pandemic” address — with rhetoric that remains largely unchanged as the commonwealth’s numbers rise.

The governor delivered the address Thursday evening, in lieu of his usual afternoon briefing. There were no slides, no guest appearances, and no questions from the press. Just Beshear at the podium announcing 22 new COVID-19 deaths in the commonwealth, and 805 new cases.

“And we know at least hundreds more are to come,” Beshear said. “But despite this painful loss, we know that so many other states have lost so, so much more.”

Stephanie Wolf

Gov. Andy Beshear told Kentuckians not to get too excited about the low number of new COVID-19 cases Tuesday.

He reported 273 new cases of the coronavirus during his media briefing, bringing the state’s total to approximately 53,319. Beshear said Tuesday’s update is likely low because labs were closed for the Labor Day holiday.

“I would get ready to have very large numbers on both cases and likely deaths the next couple days if not the next four or five days,” he said. “It’s something we ought to be prepared for. That is both the result for where we are right now as a commonwealth, but also just the impact of Labor Day weekend.”

The governor added that those positive results came from a small sample size, just 1,393 tests.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear says he will revise his executive order banning evictions in Kentucky later this week, after the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that it will halt most evictions until the end of the year.

The CDC order, which is set to take effect later this week, would ban landlords from evicting tenants for non-payment of rent if they show they have sought government assistance to make payments and say they are unable to pay rent because of a COVID-related hardship.

During a news conference on Wednesday, Beshear said that he will amend his executive order banning evictions to comply with the federal order.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear reported 807 new cases of coronavirus during his Tuesday briefing.

“Today’s report is one of the highest Tuesdays that we’ve had,” he said.

That brings the state’s total number to at least 49,185. The governor said of the newly reported cases, 150 of them were positive results for people age 18 and younger. He also reported 15 new deaths, raising the state’s death toll to 948.

With the Labor Day holiday and Derby weekend approaching, the governor again urged Kentuckians to wear face coverings.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the state is modifying its child care facilities safety guidance to both accommodate the growing need among families, but also as a “harm reduction effort” after seeing businesses letting children into their spaces to do their nontraditional instruction, or NTI.

“That’s not a system of safety,” he said about the latter during his Monday briefing.   

Secretary Eric Friedlander with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, went into the specifics of the changes to the state’s emergency child care regulations. 

“We recognize it’s been a difficult time for child care providers, for parents, and we want to make sure that we support the adequate capacity and access to child care,” Friedlander said, going on to explain that it’s been “a learning curve” in how child care facilities should operate during the pandemic.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear announced 775 new cases of coronavirus in Kentucky on Thursday, and 130 are in children ages 18 and under.

Most school districts in the commonwealth have resumed classes for the year, though Jefferson County Public Schools and others are having classes virtually, for now. Warren County schools are open for in-person instruction, and Beshear said there are 11 high school-aged students there who are newly diagnosed.

“I hope that contact tracing is going fast,” he said, “because that school system is open.”

Kentucky’s positivity rate is now 4.8%. 573 people are hospitalized, with 154 in intensive care. And a total of 910 Kentuckians have now lost their lives since the pandemic began.

Gov. Beshear Breaks With CDC On New Testing Guidance

Aug 27, 2020
J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear described changes to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s testing protocols as “reckless” and urged residents to ignore the latest guidance.

The CDC’s new recommendations suggest those who have been in contact with a person infected with coronavirus do not need to be tested if they don’t show symptoms. This is despite widespread evidence that people can contract and spread COVID-19 without or before displaying symptoms.

Beshear reported 696 new cases and seven new deaths Wednesday. More than 45,000 Kentuckians have contracted COVID-19.


Stephanie Wolf

Gov. Andy Beshear has announced new funding measures to prevent evictions in Kentucky during the pandemic.

At Monday’s press briefing, Beshear outlined the “Healthy at Home Eviction Fund.” The $15 million plan was activated through an executive order, and the money will come from federal coronavirus relief funds.

Kentuckians cannot be “healthy at home without a home”, Beshear said. The eviction crisis has loomed over both renters and landlords in the months since the coronavirus pandemic reached the state.

In that time, Beshear has identified three major concerns.

Bytemarks via Creative Commons.

By late April, Kentucky’s unemployment insurance office was handling more than a hundred thousand claims a week, and Gov. Andy Beshear was urging anyone who was out of work to apply during his daily briefings.

He said the state was doing everything in its power to swiftly get money to people who lost work due to the coronavirus.

In its haste to help cash-strapped Kentuckians, however, Kentucky’s unemployment office took shortcuts that violated unemployment policies and drew criticism from federal officials in Washington, according to emails obtained by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting through a public records request.

Stephanie Wolf

Gov. Andy Beshear announced 627 new cases of coronavirus in Kentucky on Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 40,299.

Though the state’s positivity rate for the virus has hovered around 5 or 6% (on Tuesday it was 5.48%) Beshear said over 20 counties had positivity rates exceeding 10% — what the White House has dubbed the “red zone.”

“This isn’t just an urban issue. COVID doesn’t care if you live in a city or if you live in a more rural county, it will infect you just the same,” Beshear said. “And if you have those preexisting conditions or you just have a bad reaction, it can kill you just the same.”

WKU Public Radio

Gov. Andy Beshear and Secretary of State Michael Adams say they are close to a bipartisan agreement on how Kentucky’s elections will be run during the November general election.

Beshear, a Democrat, has advocated for all Kentuckians to be eligible to vote by mail, as they were during this year’s primary election. Adams, a Republican, says the election system would be overwhelmed if that happened.

In an interview, Adams said that he expects the state to have “much more robust” in-person voting on Election Day than it did in the primary.

“I don’t think we’re going to have just one location in Jefferson County or Fayette County,” Adams said. “We’re not going to have hundreds and hundreds, but we’re not going to have one or two either.”