11 deaths, including first health care worker; 177 new cases; no word on schools; won’t put re-opening decision in hands of lobbyists

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The number of new coronavirus cases in Kentucky caught up with the weekend lag Tuesday, Gov. Andy Beshear said, reporting 177 new cases which brought the state total to 2,210.

He also reported 11 new deaths which brings the state total to 115. Three of those were in Jefferson and one was a 50-year-old med tech at Summit Manor nursing home in Adair County.

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She is the first health care worker to die in the state, Beshear said.

Laurel County suffered its second death in three days, a 51-year-old male, and Jackson County had its first death, an 87-year-old female.

Lincoln County also had a death, a 76-year-old female, the governor said.

Of the total cases, 653 have recovered, which is about 25 percent. Of the cases, 305 people remain in the hospital and 137 are in ICU.

Of the new cases, 48 are in Jefferson, 15 in Kenton, 11 in Jackson one ech in Anderson and Woodford, among other counties.

The governor aid he was not ready to decide on whether to close schools for the rest of the year but will soon. He also said he is working closely with other states to coordinate responses and ideas. That will include plans to reopen the economy in the future, he said.

He also addressed discussion in the Legislature to give lawmakers the authority to reopen the state rather than the governor.

Beshear said when it boils down to it, he thinks the people would rather put their trust in the governor who has been through what he goes through every day and medical and health care experts in state government and the community that lobbyists who have special interests.

“We want to do this right. If we open it up too early, people die,” he said. “That decision will not be made by lobbyists.”

He also expressed concerns even about college football this fall but said those decisions still are being made.

“Right now I would be concerned about having 60,000 people in one place, but it is too early to say for sure,” Beshear said in response to a question.

Beshear also made another big push for business and individuals to do anything they can to help the state obtain PPEs for health care workers and first responders.

The state is having to ask some health care providers and others to reuse some products because of concerns over the ability to obtain them.

“This really isn’t much,” State Health Director Dr. Steven Stack said after Beshear went through the current state inventory.

Those numbers include 4.2 million gloves, 355,000 surgical masks, 153,000 face shields, 37,000 gowns, 130,000 N95 masks, 145,000 KN95 masks, and 5,000 overalls.

To state in the federal pipeline, the state must report to the federal government every day how much is being used up, at what facility or law enforcement agency, and other detailed reports so a “burn rate” an be figured to track supply.

“We need a lot more, a lot more,” Beshear said, stressing the efforts the government is making and the efforts of companies to convert production.

The state also is still catching up on unemployment benefits payments. Since March 16, the state has received 521,592 claims or about 14-16,000 a day.

The state has paid out more than $150 million in benefits to 460,000 claims. Of those, 156,931 have received the additional $600 a week that is part of the federal stimulus package.

Of the cases that haven’t received any payments, Josh Benton, the assistant secretary for Workforce and Development addressed a number of the subsections in which those cases fall.