Stack questions bar’s actions, numbers still show decline

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state generally applauded residents’ actions as reopening got under way during the long Memorial Day weekend, but Gov. Andy Beshear and Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack questioned some, including the Paddock bar.

At the same time, Beshear noted the state had 387 new cases between Saturday and Monday. Three deaths also were reported.

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“We saw a lot of good things during the weekend,” Beshear said, applauding people wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and other steps.

“The numbers still look like we are in decline. But let’s see what the numbers look like Wednesday,” Beshear said, cautioning test results from labs that were closed for the holiday could offer a surprise.

Stack agreed, but also cautioned in response to a video on Twitter that showed a crowded Paddock bar during opening Friday night (see related story).

“I don’t know hat it will take for us to learn that this is serious,” Stack said.

“If one person was walking through the bar talking loud and spitting, that’s how you spread this infection…before you know it” the infection will be spreading to large groups, Stack said.

“I’m just telling you this is out there, it’s just waiting to get us. If we don’t do this, it’s going to get us,” Stack said, imploring state residents to understand the severity of the illness.

“If you were one of those people at that bar, please understand that all our actions matter,” Beshear stated.

The three deaths brought the state’s total to 394 since the outbreak began in early March. The deaths included one each in Jefferson, Adair and Allen counties.

Of the new cases, 146 were in Jefferson, including a large group of patients and staff at a nursing home uncovered by the state’s mandatory testing program. Another 26 were in Fayette, five were in Boone, four were in Jessamine, three were in Clay, two each were in Boyle, Edmonson and Madison, and one each were in Clark, Fleming, Franklin, Jackson, Mercer, Montgomery and Woodford counties, among others, Beshear said.

Of the cases, the number of people still in ICU is down to 78. A total of 193,576 tests have now been done. The total number of cases in the state climbed to 8,951 and the number of those who have recovered reached 3,115, according to the governor.

The state’s full testing of nursing homes may have headed off an even worse outbreak during the weekend.

After tests Friday at a Louisville nursing home, 39 residents and 20 staff members tested positive and many of the staff weren’t showing symptoms. But the state’s contingency plan realized the nursing home likely would not have the staff to provide care for the patients.

The state worked with the University of Louisville Medical Center, Baptist and two other health care centers to transfer patients.

“Fortunately, having a plan in place we were able to stabilize that facility,” Commissioner Eric Friedlander said of the weekend response.