FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky reported 50 more coronavirus cases Thursday, the largest one-day increase since the first case was confirmed, Gov. Andy Beshear reported Thursday evening in his daily briefing.
Of the new cases, nine are in Fayette, four in Jessamine, two in Madison and one in Pulaski.
The Pulaski case brings to six in that county. One was a woman who went to a conference in California. The other four all were in the same church and it’s unclear whether the new case is related to either of those.
As another step, Beshear is asking mayors and county-judge executives to monitor and shut down parks, basketball courts, and other locations where residents may not be following social distancing and other safety guidelines. Beshear noted the mayor of Louisville already has shut down some courts because people aren’t following the guidelines.
“If that’s what it takes to shut it down, to discourage this behavior, then we will,” Beshear said.
He is giving the same authority to state park directors where the state has received reports of groups gathering.
“We have to stop these things,” he said, continuing to stress the importance of the next two weeks in trying to slow the spread of the virus.
Even with the high of 50 cases, which included a new one in Pulaski, nine in Fayette, four in Jessamine, and two in Madison among others, the state increase still is “well below most other states,” he said.
The governor specifically noted Tennessee might “not be having the same commitment as we do” to slow the spread and make difficult choices. He said that his further hurting the “sacrifice” Kentucky businesses on the border have made.
Beshear also said he was not yet able to announce details of a drive-through testing plan but still hopes to on Friday.
It will be started in “smaller tests” in Frankfort early next week with a “very targeted population” and then expanded as the state gets ready.
“I am not going to tell you something before we are ready,” Beshear said, noting the state still is insuring it has all the necessary supplies, tests and other necessary measures in place.
Beshear said the state has spent more than $8 million so far in its response to the coronavirus and will spend “a lot more.”
“We will spend what it takes to keep our people safe and take care of our people,” he said.
At least two first responders have tested positive statewide, but the governor said he was not sure how many had been tested.
“They go out everyday and face this,” he said.
Beshear said he’d not seen legislation being fast-tracked through the General Assembly that would allow the Attorney General to shut down abortion clinics. As he has done with other health care related questions, he said he has left those decisions up to the state’s “medical professionals” and will do so in this case.
“Now is not the time to be bringing up our traditionally divisive issues,” he said, as he has done on occasion, chastising the Republican-led Legislature for taking up matters that aren’t “related to defeating the coronavirus but more to stir people up.”
On reporting businesses that may be in violation, he said “we are getting a lot of calls.”
“This is meant for us to have discussions and hopefully make change. We’ve had to put more people on it but we’ve had mostly good, strong conversations,” he said.