Mass testing at two Tennessee prisons has uncovered nearly 2,000 cases of the coronavirus behind bars so far.

Officials have repeatedly said most inmates who have tested positive are not showing symptoms. But some health experts are cautioning prisons to prepare for that to change.

When the Tennessee Department of Correction first reported that 162 inmates at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex had tested positive for the coronavirus on Apr. 20, officials said the “vast majority” were asymptomatic.


J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear said almost 400 people have tested positive for COVID-19 at Green River Correctional Complex, a state prison in Central City.

Beshear said the state tested more than 1,000 people there, including inmates, staff and others that have come into the facility, and about 40 percent of the results came back positive for the virus.

“This is a concerning situation at that facility,” Beshear said.

Kentucky saw a large jump in coronavirus cases on Tuesday, with 625 new cases–the highest daily increase. Beshear attributed the spike to extensive testing at Green River and a lag in reporting from over the weekend.


The private sector slashed a record 20.2 million jobs between March and April — a somber preview of Friday's monthly jobs report. That's up from the 149,000 private jobs cut a month earlier.


The president of Western Kentucky University says the school will host students back on campus this fall.

The university suspended in-person classes and sent most students home from on-campus housing midway through the current spring semester as part of its COVID-19 response plan.

Speaking with the school's staff senate this week, WKU President Timothy Caboni said, while the school does plan to resume in-person instruction, any return to the hill will take place based on meeting benchmarks from the federal and state government, as well as the Centers for Disease Control.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear says Indiana is reopening too quickly during the coronavirus pandemic, and that Kentuckians still shouldn’t travel to surrounding states unless it’s necessary.

Starting Monday, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb allowed people across most of the state to gather in groups of up to 25 and eased restrictions on non-essential manufacturing and retail businesses, allowing them to operate at 50 percent capacity.

Kentucky plans to allow non-essential businesses in industries like construction, manufacturing, boat and auto sales and office-based business to reopen starting May 11. Social gatherings of ten people or fewer won’t be allowed until May 25th.


Updated on May 5 at 3:02 p.m. ET to include additional White House reactions.

On Monday the New York Times published what appeared to be an explosive finding: an internal document from the Trump Administration that forecast many more coming deaths from the coronavirus than the president has predicted publicly.


Unemployment in Kentucky has hit unprecedented levels, and assistance is falling behind with many people waiting weeks for their money. That makes paying rent especially challenging during the coronavirus pandemic.

There is currently a moratorium on evictions in Kentucky due to the high rate of unemployment and the risk of people not being able to stay safe at home if they’re evicted.


Senior Litigation and Advocacy Counsel at the Kentucky Equal Justice Center, Ben Carter said if people aren’t going to be able to pay their rent, the first thing they need to do is communicate with their landlord. He said Kentucky has some of the most robust protections for renters in the country.


Amy Hardin

The coronavirus outbreak has impacted lives across Kentucky. Whether through lost work, lost loved ones, or lost social interaction, everyone is feeling the effects of the pandemic.

Near the beginning of social distancing restrictions, WKU Public Radio asked for listeners to share their stories. Here are three of our submissions:

J. Tyler Franklin

For the first time since the coronavirus was first detected in Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear did not give his daily briefing on Saturday. Instead, an estimated 1,000 protestors gathered at the state capitol to criticize the restrictions put in place to deal with the coronavirus.

Beshear addressed those protests on Sunday, when he resumed his briefings. He focused on the public figures who spoke at the rally and encouraged others to take off their masks or violate social distancing. The protest was attended by four Kentucky state representatives and one state senator, all Republicans. Rep. Savannah Maddox, a Republican from Dry Ridge, reportedly said she would not get a vaccine for the coronavirus.

“That’s just reckless,” Beshear said. “It’s OK to disagree, but if you are a leader that people listen to, be responsible in how you do it.”

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. 


Trish Pugh started an Ohio trucking company with her husband in 2015. Even for a small business, it's small — they had two drivers, counting her husband, until they let one go because of the coronavirus crisis.

And so her company applied for a loan under the first, $349 billion round of the Paycheck Protection Program, which the federal government had set up to rescue small businesses.

It didn't go well.

Updated at 4:59 p.m. ET

The Food and Drug Administration has given emergency use authorization to the antiviral drug remdesivir to treat hospitalized patients with the coronavirus, President Trump on Friday told reporters at the White House.

Gilead CEO Daniel O'Day said remdesivir maker Gilead Sciences is donating 1.5 million vials of the drug and will work with the federal government to distribute it to patients in need.

Ryland Barton

This week in Kentucky politics, Attorney General Daniel Cameron threatened to sue Gov. Andy Beshear for not allowing in-person church services during the coronavirus pandemic.

The state got its first glimpse at how much tax revenue has dropped off amid business closures.

And Kentucky’s senior Senator Mitch McConnell has new conditions for helping states out with their budget problems.

Jonese Franklin from member station WFPL talked to capitol reporter Ryland Barton for this week’s edition of Kentucky Politics Distilled.

Fruit of the Loom plans to furlough more than 500 employees at three Bowling Green locations. 

The furloughs are slated to begin Monday and affect employees at the company’s campuses on Fruit of the Loom Drive and on Hennessy Way, as well as the Brand Shop on Scottsville Road. 

In a letter to the Kentucky Division of Workforce and Employment Services, the company says the furloughs are in response to the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions mandated by state authorities. 

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s schedule to restart the economy appears to contradict his administration’s own benchmarks for when it is safe to reopen.

Just ten days ago, Beshear said it would not be enough to flatten the curve before reopening. Following guidance from the White House, Beshear said Kentucky would need to see 14 days of declining cases before making any announcements.

“If we are there, that’s great, but remember what the White House has said and what we know is we actually need two weeks of going down,” he said.

But on Wednesday, Beshear announced a phased reopening of the Commonwealth while acknowledging confirmed cases of coronavirus have “plateaued,” but not yet declined.