Kentucky’s biggest day-to-day spike in coronavirus cases came Tuesday, when Gov. Andy Beshear announced at least 114 new confirmations, bringing the state’s total to at least 594.
The governor also announced seven additional deaths, bringing the total number of coronavirus-related deaths statewide to 18.
“Today, we lost seven Kentuckians, which is something I never thought I would have to announce,” Beshear said. “This is why we were working so hard to reduce our contacts and protect the people around us.”
The Barren River District Health Department reported three new confirmed cases of the virus in Warren County on Tuesday, according to its website.
The 32 total cases throughout the eight-county Barren River district area include one in Barren County, one in Butler County, two in Edmonson County, three in Logan County, nine in Simpson County and 16 in Warren County. Officials say six of those 32 people have recovered from the virus, which causes the respiratory disease COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Glasgow-based T.J. Regional Health reported its second patient to be diagnosed with the coronavirus in a news release Tuesday.
The patient is from Adair County, and after being treated at T.J. Health Columbia, the person was admitted to T.J. Samson Community Hospital in Glasgow, and the “positive test result came back after the patient had been discharged to continue recovering at home,” according to the release.
The hospital reports that the patient had been treated in its COVID-19 unit before being released.
On Saturday, T.J. Samson announced its first positive case in a Barren County resident.
During Beshear’s daily news conference Tuesday, he discussed new actions taken to combat the spread of the virus, including legislation to help frontline workers.
He signed off on an order allowing reemployment of retired state, county and city law enforcement officers, medical service personnel, firefighters (including volunteers), along with state park rangers and corrections officers.
In addition, Beshear added grocery store employees to the list of “essential workers” receiving child care options from licensed providers.
“We need them,” Beshear said.
“We know our food supply is safe, but we need enough people that are there stocking the shelves day in and day out.”
Another order issued Monday reduces restrictions placed on out-of-state nurses, allowing them to obtain a Kentucky license faster.
All of the orders will reportedly remain in effect throughout the duration of the state of emergency, which currently does not have a specified end date, or until “rescinded by further operation of law.”
Beshear also announced that the commonwealth currently has 18,500 hospital beds, 1,300 intensive care unit beds and 1,352 ventilators – at least 70 of which “can be easily repurposed.”
The state is reportedly working to increase the number of hospital beds by at least 10 percent.
He also said he hopes to finalize a plan this week regarding early release of some state inmates, including those who committed nonviolent, non-sex-related crimes that are nearing the end of their sentence, and those who are “medically fragile.”
Near the end of the conference, Beshear reminded Kentuckians to keep doing their part to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
“Kentucky – today, we had a tough day. And there are going to be more tough days ahead,” Beshear said.
“But everything you do, all day, each and every day collectively – when we put all of that together – is how well we’re going to be able to deal with this virus.”