FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – A 69-year-old man from Lyon County is the state’s newest case of the coronavirus, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Tuesday afternoon in his daily update.
He also urged the General Assembly to approve a budget and stop playing politics and said gyms, theaters and other places also must close.
The newest case marks the first one outside of the general Lexington and Louisville areas. Lyon County is between Paducah and Hopkinsville.
It brings the state to 26 cases. A 27th case of a 33-year-old woman is actually a woman in New York who was using a former Kentucky address.
All adult day care centers must close by March 20. “Big steps but necessary steps…they all are in an attempt to protect the most vulnerable,” Beshear said.
The state still is addressing issues concerning patients who could be in nursing homes but can’t be because of closures or limits on visitation.
And as expected, Beshear announced that by 5 p.m. Wednesday, many more businesses that encourage group gatherings and close personal contact should be closed. Those include movie theaters, gyms, entertainment, recreation, nail and hair salons, spas, sporting events, among others.
The order has some exemptions including grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, food processors, gas stations and others that are deemed critical. As retail centers, malls are not part of the order yet “but could be” if they can’t practice social distancing, Beshear said.
“Food courts could force closure,” he said.
He said concerns are mounting about manufacturing facilities where people still are working close together.
“We need everyone to be following the guidelines. If we don’t get serious about this and get serious about social distancing, we may have to take serious steps,” he warned industries and plant managers.
The governor also addressed the General Assembly, which returned to session Tuesday. Some members sent a letter urging him call a special session of the Legislature. His response was short.
“Pass the budget and go home but don’t pass laws that get people fired up. That’s not what we should be doing,” Beshear said.
“Or they (state lawmakers) can go ahead and adjourn and I will call them back when it’s safe, but I will only call them back to do the budget. We are not going to do things we don’t need to be doing right now. We are done with politics. Not going to deal with politics at this time. They should pick one or the other,” Beshear stated firmly.
The governor said the state will do as much as it can to help families with children with special needs, including some ability for school-type settings, but those families are at risk of the disease at this point.
The state said the evidence still is unclear but based on evidence with the flu, pregnant women should take “extra measures” in social distancing, hand-washing and other standards.
“I would take extra measures of precautions, take extra care,” the state’s top health official advised.
He advised families take the same special precautions for weddings and families, even though they are such emotional and special occasions.
“Take the steps that are necessary. Have a very small ceremony or postpone it,” the governor advised.