State up 54 cases, three new deaths, parks being closed, Tennessee criticized

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state announced three more coronavirus deaths Friday, bringing to eight so far. The state also announced 54 new cases.

The deaths were a 75-year-old woman in Fayette County, a 77-year-old man in Hopkins County and a 73-year old woman from Jefferson County.  Beshear said asking for prayers for something that is “very personal.”

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The governor later clarified the Fayette County death may have been a person who had the test done in Fayette County, but actually lived somewhere else.

The Fayette County Health Department said it has confirmed 53 cases total in the county with one death.

Among the new cases statewide reported by the governor were four in Fayette, 19 in Jefferson, three in Jessamine, and three in Woodford, which has been one of the last counties on Lexington’s border to have cases. The state has 302 official cases statewide, Beshear said.

Three local governments have had to take steps to enforce lockdowns on three people who wouldn’t self-isolate.

Beshear asked mayors and county judge-executives to close parks, basketball courts and other areas where people have “shown they can’t” abide by rules to social distance and “continue to congregate” and “potentially spread” the coronavirus.

The move comes as Beshear continues to implore Kentuckians to do everything they can in the next two weeks to help the state flatten the curve while other parts of the country are surging in the number of positive coronavirus cases.

He again called it “absolutely critical.”

“We have more time than they do right now because of the things we have done,” the governor said, referring to some areas seeing surges.

“We can’t use the nice weekend coming up to undo all the good things we are doing. I am asking you to dig deep, the better we can do, the more we can do will make a difference,” he stated, calling the courts and parks closing “the next step.”

Beshear and his staff said people are getting a message on their unemployment applications about problems such as not qualifying. But those messages are in error, the claims are  being accepted and the system is being corrected.

“Your applications have been accepted and will be taken care of. It’s going to be fixed,” the governor said, acknowledging it was “alarming.”

He also addressed people who live on the border with Tennessee.

“We have made sacrifices such as shutting down our bars and restaurants, our nail salons…if you are a Kentuckian living on that border I need you not to go to that state unless it is an emergency or you are seeing a loved one or maybe the grocery store,” he said.

“What we are seeing is our people are going across and bringing the coronavirus back. I can’t help Tennessee hasn’t taken the steps we have,” he said, citing people going to a “crowded restaurant in Tennessee.”

“I need you to be strong in your pride in this state,” he stated, noting the number of cases are far higher in Tennessee counties bordering Logan, Christian and Todd counties in Kentucky.

On some other issues, he said:

— He did get involved in the situation with Amazon’s Shepherdsville center to make sure it was safe. He said it will reopen sometime soon, but he did take steps to make sure the company did what needed to be done to protect the hundreds of workers there;

— He said he had not spoken to Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee although he remains “frustrated” with that states lack of broad action. He said he had not formally considered closing the state’s border with Tennessee but “everything is on the table…we will consider every single day whatever it takes at some point.”

“It is an extra danger to a county that is doing the right thing,” he said.

“I would tell him (Bill Lee) he needs to do everything his neighbors Kentucky and states like Ohio are doing…this virus doesn’t know borders,” Beshear said when asked what he would tell Lee.

“I would ask him to close restaurants and bars, enforce safe distances,” he continued, saying he wasn’t criticizing his leadership but “just trying to protect our people.”

— “Don’t travel out of state, don’t travel at all,” he said, stressing a point he has made repeatedly.

— He considers grocery store workers as important as health care workers and first responders because “those folks are going out every day and seeing people who may have the disease. I want make sure we have enough grocery workers every day.”