COVID-19

Governor Orders Residents To Remain In Kentucky

Mar 31, 2020
Ryan Van Velzer

A new order by Gov. Andy Beshear forbids Kentuckians from leaving the state, in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

At the governor’s daily press briefing on Monday, Chief of Staff La Tasha Buckner said the new rule would permit residents to leave Kentucky only for work, necessary supplies, to see a doctor or take care of a family member, or if travel is required by a court. Beshear said law enforcement or county judges could enforce the order, but its effectiveness relies on Kentuckians.

“The reality is, the only way that we’re going to get people doing the right thing is because they agree to — is because they see it as their duty, and they know that their actions can harm other people,” Beshear said. “The moment that you go across the border […] and you have that extra contact, you can bring it back to a person in your family that’s working in a nursing home.”

When infectious pathogens have threatened the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been front and center. During the H1N1 flu of 2009, the Ebola crisis in 2014 and the mosquito-borne outbreak of Zika in 2015, the CDC has led the federal response.

Liam James Doyle/NPR

Kentucky will receive about $1.7 billion from from the federal government as part of the coronavirus relief bill signed into law on Friday, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

State government will receive about $1.6 billion and Louisville will receive an additional $134 million under a provision that gives extra funding to cities with populations over 500,000. It’s the only city in the state big enough to qualify.

The money is intended to relieve immediate budget problems state and local governments face as they respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Kentucky had 394 confirmed coronavirus cases, and nine deaths associated with the disease, as of Saturday evening.

Ryan Van Velzer

Gov. Andy Beshear says there were 45 new cases of coronavirus in Kentucky, bringing the state’s total to 439.

During an evening update Sunday, Beshear reported no new deaths associated with the disease, which has killed nine in Kentucky so far. The daily increase of cases is less than half of the increase reported yesterday — which was the largest to date at 92 — but Beshear said that the state and country are escalating right now.

“It’s going to continue. There are going to be days where we have more positive tests than we did yesterday, when we had ninety-something,” Beshear said.

Randomized Coronavirus Testing May Be Tried In Louisville

Mar 30, 2020
Ryan Van Velzer

Federal guidelines have so far prioritized the sick, the vulnerable and health care workers for coronavirus testing. That’s vital for directing care and resources right now, but as the pandemic continues and testing capacity grows, practices will need to change if we want to understand how far this virus has spread.

If we only test targeted populations, then we skew the data set and ultimately, our understanding. That’s why Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar, professor of medicine at University of Louisville, says the city should consider randomized testing. And the city of Louisville may give it a try.

President Trump is repeating his claim that the United States is doing more testing for the coronavirus than any other country.

"We have more cases because we're doing far more testing than anybody in the world," the president said in a White House briefing on Sunday.

The U.S has ramped up testing, but still lags other countries like Italy and South Korea, when it comes to testing on a per capita basis.

The nation's leading expert on infectious diseases and member of the White House's coronavirus task force says the pandemic could kill 100,000 to 200,000 Americans and infect millions.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said based on modeling of the current pace of the coronavirus' spread in the U.S., "between 100,000 and 200,000" people may die from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

President Trump has signed a historic $2 trillion economic recovery package into law Friday afternoon, shortly after the House of Representatives approved the bill.

In an Oval Office ceremony Friday, the president thanked Republicans and Democrats "for coming together, setting aside their differences and putting America first" to pass the legislation. Trump was joined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. No Democrats were present at the signing.

President Trump unloaded on Detroit's big two American automakers on Friday with complaints and exhortations about how they must begin producing ventilators for the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump first complained about what he suggested was a breakdown in negotiations with General Motors CEO Mary Barra and then said both GM and Ford must devote some of their production capacity to medical equipment immediately.

Updated at 1:39 p.m. ET

Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy wasn't interested in President Trump's attempt at Twitter-shaming another GOP lawmaker who mounted a failed attempt to drag out a vote on a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill.

Kentucky LRC

The Kentucky legislature has passed an emergency bill to expand unemployment benefits, allow the governor to waive several business and tax fees and expand telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic.

The measure also requires Gov. Andy Beshear to declare in writing when he decides to end Kentucky’s current state of emergency. If he has not done so by the start of the next legislative session, the measure allows the the legislature to end it.

The chief purpose of the bill is to provide relief to Kentucky workers and businesses bruised by the pandemic and ensuing restrictions that have closed down much of the state. Lawmakers also hope the measure will help prop up the state’s economy. By one estimate Kentucky could lose 67,000 jobs by June.

Amazon has closed a warehouse in Shepherdsville, Ky., until April 1, after several workers there tested positive for the coronavirus — the first prolonged closure of a facility confirmed by the company.

Workers in at least 10 other warehouses across the country have tested positive for COVID-19, prompting shorter temporary closures for sanitation and cleaning.

Thinkstock

The full Kentucky legislature will return to work on Thursday even though the general public has been barred from the Capitol during the coronavirus pandemic, and despite warnings about group gatherings spreading the disease.

As of Wednesday evening, Kentucky has 198 confirmed coronavirus cases and five related deaths. The disease has spread rapidly since the state’s first case was announced on March 6.

The 138-member body did not meet over the last week, though a small group of lawmakers gathered to try and hammer out a final version of the two-year budget.

Updated at 11:47 p.m. ET

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved a $2 trillion relief package Wednesday night designed to alleviate some of the worst effects of the swift economic downturn currently underway as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahead of the 96-0 vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told lawmakers, "Our nation obviously is going through a kind of crisis that is totally unprecedented in living memory."

WKU CHHS Facebook

Western Kentucky University is donating personal protective equipment to local hospitals and healthcare providers in an effort to help combat COVID-19. 

The WKU College of Health and Human Services pulled together more than 4,000 protective masks, over 600 boxes of gloves, and more than 300 isolation gowns to give away.

 

CHHS Dean Tania Basta said she’s thankful they had the resources available to donate. 

 

“We thought, why would we leave them in our building when they could be helping others,” she said.  

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