State reports 93 cases, two new deaths; death projections noted
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky has 93 new confirmed coronavirus cases Wednesday and two new deaths with a third possible in Louisville.
The new deaths bring to 20 in the death and the new cases bring to 687 statewide. The confirmed deaths are a 60-year-old man in Daviess County and a 76-year-old woman in Hopkins County.
Of the new cases, 31 are in Jefferson, 12 are in Fayette, eight are in Harrison, two each in Clark, Montgomery, Madison, Bourbon and Pulaski with one each in Menifee and some other counties in the region.
And for the first time, the governor addressed death projections through the run of the coronavirus and the numbers, he said starkly, are hard to look at.
“But they are real, they are why we’ve been doing the things we’ve been doing,” he added, noting the state hopes to have its own projections soon.
Gov. Andy Beshear warned against breaking isolation and social-distancing rules with another pretty weekend forecast.
“We can’t do what we did last weekend, we can’t see the kind of gatherings we did,” Beshear said.
“This entire month is absolutely critical,” he stated. “What we have sacrificed is making a difference but we have to dig a little bit deeper during this critical time.”
He said along with fighting spikes that overwhelm the health care capacity, the state continues to ramp up capacity. The state has 18,500 beds with another 8,000 ready to expand and more to come. Ventilators and ICU units also have expanded with work “being done every day.”
Of the statewide cases, four are among staff at Green River Correctional facility and the cases are in administrative staff or a health worker. Provisions have been made to isolate them and any inmates with whom they had contact in a specific area.
And on testing, the labs at UK and the University of Louisville both continue to increase testing capacity and another lab is expected to come online by the end of this week. That brings to 15 labs reporting.
He said his estimates are more than 50 health care providers have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Looking at projections that put potential deaths nationally at as many as two million without social distancing and even 240,000 with “significant social distancing,” Beshear said he feared some of the numbers are optimistic.
The number for Kentuckians who would die without social distancing would be 21,000 to 29,500 based on population and with social distancing, the deaths would be between 1,300 and 3,200 based on the federal models.
“The numbers are tough, very tough. It’s the reason we are doing all these tough things. Our decisions are critical,” he stated.
Citing the Hopkins County Health Department, which has been hit “really, really hard.”
On March 15-16, a Texas minister came to visit a church. Several church members were sick but were told they didn’t have the coranavirus. They didn’t self quarantine or take other steps.
The results has been a spread throughout the community, with deaths, more than two dozen cases and hundreds of exposures.
“Because a couple of people decided they were going to ignore the guidance, they have hurt people, lots of people,” Beshear said, using it as an example.
Beshear also admitted he was frustrated with having to compete with the federal government and other states to obtain PPEs for health care workers and first responders and ventilators.
“Our goal is to push each and every day,” for all supplies but it is “very frustrating.”
The state sent 40,000 acceptance notices Tuesday night to people for unemployment as it ramps up processing capabilities (See related story for more details.)
Beshear said 70 National Guardsmen are being deployed to four food banks — one each in Lexington, Louisville, Elizabethtown and Wilder — to help pack an distribute boxes.