coronavirus

J. Tyler Franklin

Residents of Bowling Green and Owensboro can receive drive-up testing for the coronavirus starting this week. 

A partnership with state officials, Kroger, and some private labs has made more testing available in recent weeks as the state plans a gradual reopening of some services. 

While testing was previously reserved for those with COVID-19 symptoms, healthcare workers, and first responders, testing is now being expanded to all who want it, although registration is required.


J. Tyler Franklin

Starting Monday, certain health care providers will be allowed to reopen for non-urgent, non-emergent services in Kentucky. But state officials said that can’t happen unless they are able to follow guidelines including temperature checks for staff and appropriate protective gear.

Gov. Andy Beshear made it clear: if your practice can’t meet the guidelines, it can’t reopen.

He said Kentucky is starting its phased reopening with health care for a few reasons, including that people are delaying care for other illnesses and that he wants more health care workers to be active so the state can continue increasing testing capacity. Another factor: health care workers may be best prepared, given their access to PPE and their training.

Restaurants across Tennessee are able to welcome dine-in customers Monday for the first time in nearly a month as the state eases restrictions put in place to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The step toward some semblance of normalcy comes a day after the state reported its highest single-day jump in newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, 478, which officials say represents a 5.2% increase from the previous day.

WKYU

  

Muslims worldwide began celebrating the holy month of Ramadan this week.

However, because of social distancing guidelines, gatherings for prayer, the reading of the Quran and the breaking of fast at sundown every day are going to be severely limited.

The Islamic Center of Bowling Green has canceled its scheduled iftar meals, and has moved traditional rituals online. WKU Public Radio spoke with the mosque's leader, Imam Sedin Agic, to learn more.


President Trump has spiritedly backed hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, both in his regular news briefings and on his Twitter account. He has said the two drugs, when taken together to treat the coronavirus, could become "one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine."

That may well be, eventually — but not right now.

USDA/Alice Welch

Dozens of coronavirus cases have been confirmed at two west Kentucky meatpacking plants, following concerns Ohio Valley worker safety advocates have raised about the spread of the coronavirus in these kinds of facilities. 

Green River District Health Department Director Clay Horton said as of Thursday afternoon at least 62 people associated with a Tyson Foods meatpacking plant in Henderson County, Kentucky, have coronavirus. Horton also confirmed 19 cases at a Perdue Farms poultry processing plant in Ohio County, Kentucky. 

“We know there are a number of confirmed cases outside our jurisdiction as well but don’t have specific data at this time,” Horton said in a statement. “We are working diligently to identify every case and close contact. Those individuals are being isolated and quarantined to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Some Southern states, including Georgia and South Carolina, are among the first in the country to ease restrictions to try get back to business despite factors that make the South particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic.

And pressure is mounting on other Southern governors to get their economies back up and running. Outside the Alabama Capitol this week, a few dozen protesters drove by honking their horns, chanting "freedom" and demanding to get back to work

WFPL news

Kentucky is expanding absentee voting during the coronavirus pandemic, allowing every voter to cast a ballot by mail or vote early during the state primary elections on June 23.

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear and Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams announced the changes on Friday.

In a statement, Beshear said that the State Board of Elections is working on a plan to also conduct limited in-person voting with the possibility of a drive-through option.

“While there will be significant education and work required, we are committed to making sure this election will be held in a safe manner, while we are in this worldwide health pandemic,” Beshear said.

J. Tyler Franklin

Without additional aid from the federal government, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear says residents can expect a prolonged recession.

State and local budgets are already strained because of the coronavirus pandemic and without relief, Kentuckians could see higher unemployment, fewer services and staffing cuts to police, fire and education, Beshear said during a Thursday night update.

“If the next CARES Act package does not include budget assistance for states and counties, we will be hit with a rougher recession, it will last longer and it will be harder to dig out of.” Beshear said.

Since the coronavirus hit the U.S., coal mines across the country have begun shutting down, laying off workers and slowing production.

Daniel Brown

In a school year when almost everything is different due to the impact of the coronavirus, Kentucky students who take Advanced Placement courses to earn college credit have one more new experience facing them. 

The College Board is allowing students to take AP exams this year from home, on a computer, a tablet or a mobile phone.

Students will log in for a specific AP subject exam, on the same day, at the same time nationwide. 

Owensboro High School English teacher Daniel Brown has about 130 students in several courses, with about 60 of those in his AP Literature and Composition classes.

With no in-person classes in Kentucky for the remainder of the academic year, Brown said he and his AP students are making the most of technology to prepare for the AP Literature exam on May 13.


J. Tyler Franklin

More than 4,000 people in Kentucky could die over the course of the coronavirus pandemic if social distancing and other mitigation tools were abandoned, according to a “best guess” model created by federal health officials in early April.

The virus has so far claimed 185 Kentuckians, and the state is on track for far fewer deaths than scenarios outlined in the federal models.

The model was included in documents prepared by the federal Department of Health and Human Services that were obtained by the Center for Public Integrity and shared with the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting. The documents also show models for neighboring states including Ohio (more than 11,000 deaths), West Virginia (more than 2,000 deaths) and Indiana (more than 6,000 deaths).

Becca Schimmel

Unemployment insurance claims are still reaching unprecedented levels across the Ohio Valley region.

Nearly 260,000 people in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia joined those seeking help during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. That surge in claims is in addition to the more than one million unemployment assistance applications people in the Ohio Valley made since mid-March. 

The data released Thursday morning by the U.S. Department of Labor showing more than 4.4 million unemployment claims around the country for the week, bringing the country’s total jobless applicants to approximately 26 million since mid-March. 

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear on Wednesday announced that drive-thru coronavirus testing sites across the state will be open to the general public. The tests were initially reserved for health care workers, first responders and those especially vulnerable to the virus.

New sites will also open in Louisville, Lexington, Owensboro and Bowling Green next week.

Beshear said the expansion is an important step as Kentucky tries to increase its testing capacity before reopening its economy.

“At this point we want to use our capacity, we want to get some extra data, too, about what’s out there, maybe learn a little bit about some asymptomatic rates,” Beshear said.

Jae Foley FB

High school seniors in Kentucky are now facing the reality there won’t be prom, graduation ceremonies, and other rites of passage this year because of the coronavirus. 

Governor Andy Beshear canceled the remainder of the school year to in-person learning and other activities this week. 

Jae Foley, a senior at Bowling Green High School, says there’s one particular event she was looking forward to the most.

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