63 cases now; tax deadline extended, Fayette schools closing, others will, too, until April 20


FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – With more labs meaning more tests and more results, Kentucky now has 63 coronavirus cases with a second case in Pulaski County, new ones in Henderson, Warren  and Calloway counties, three more in Fayette County and 12 more — eight women and four men — in Jefferson County, Gov. Andy Beshear said in his daily 5 p.m. briefing Friday.

The governor said he was aware that at least a church in Calloway County may be self-quarantining after having a service last weekend and possibly having a member test positive this week.

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The same possibility is in Pulaski County, where a church is self-quarantining.

The state has had “well over” 1,000 tests so far and with more labs “we are getting even more done,” the governor said.

The state also has asked school superintendents to extend school closures until at least April 20.

Fayette County announced shortly after that its schools will remain closed until April 20.

The closure meets evidence that the longer contacts are reduced, the more likely communities are able to limit the spread and better protect health care facilities and their capacity.

The state tax deadline also has been moved to July 15 to follow the federal extension.

He also praised bourbon distillers that have started making hand sanitizer. He also has put out a call for industrial=grade respirators.

Toyota is donating more than 1,000 of them but the state needs more.

“The more the have, the more we can do and the closer we are to large-scale testing,” Beshear said.

He said he realizes more action will have to be taken against businesses and industries that continue to not abide by social-distancing and other measures to protect their employees.

He said even some funeral homes still are holding “very large funerals,” that ultimately are “helping to spread the virus.”

“We will have to take more aggressive steps if they do not conform to this guidance,” Beshear warned.

“Not doing it does not recognize the so many people who are making the sacrifice,” he added.

“If you are one of those people, don’t force us to take action against you,” he added.

He said the state continues to open up unemployment benefits to independent contractors. And people who started their application this week but haven’t finished it need to finish it by midnight Saturday so they don’t have to start over.

So far, more than 15,200 claims have been filed this week.

He continued to say the state will get drive-through testing up “as soon as we can” and as soon “as we have everything in place,” including the swabs and the proper safety equipment for the medical professionals.

He said with more labs in place, health practitioners are the people now making decisions about who gets tested and not the state health department.

“This all will help us better respond,” Beshear said.

The governor also was asked about whether he will sign the Voter ID but said he will need time to analyze the law, especially when it takes effect and how long office closures and driver’s license delays continue.

He said if the CDC guidelines still are in place in May and June, he said we “will absolutely have to consider” widespread mail-in ballots and other voting mechanisms.

He said the same things apply because many poll workers are older and high-risk of the coronavirus.