Six more Kentuckians died and 90 new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed Friday, according to Gov. Andy Beshear.
That brings statewide totals to 37 deaths and at least 831 confirmed cases.
Many more cases of the virus exist, Beshear said, but the state doesn’t have the resources to test the general population. So far, only 15,572 people have been tested statewide, so the coronavirus’ full reach cannot be determined.
It is in every county, he said, whether confirmed cases have been reported. Counties without confirmed cases should not be lulled into a sense of false security.
Beshear reported that six nursing homes in Kentucky have residents infected with the virus, and three nursing homes have staff members who tested positive.
“This is an area where people are very susceptible, and we want to make sure we protect them the best we can,” he said.
During his daily press conference Friday, the governor put out a couple of pleas.
First, he stressed the importance of staying “healthy at home” during the upcoming weekend, especially as spring weather entices people outdoors. Beshear encouraged people to get outside and exercise with their families, but to avoid contact with neighbors, friends and relatives.
Social distancing is a strategy that saves lives, he said.
“People are truly, truly counting on us,” Beshear said.
Dr. Francis DuFrayne, Owensboro Health chief medical officer, echoed Beshear’s comments during a recent countywide press conference.
If a household wants to cook out in the backyard, that’s fine, DuFrayne said, but don’t invite anyone outside the household to attend. Even adult children living away from home should not visit their parents at this time.
“We cannot let up,” DuFrayne said.
He said it’s difficult to speculate on when the surge in cases will hit the region. It could be weeks or sometime next month, DuFrayne said.
In other cities and states, peaks have hit fast.
DuFrayne used the University of Alabama at Birmingham as an example. One day, the university hospital had three patients with COVID-19. By the end of the next day, the hospital had 60 patients — and 30 of them were in ICU.
“That’s a surge that overwhelms the system,” he said.
Beshear’s second plea went to companies and agencies that may have stockpiles of masks, gloves and gowns, which the state is struggling to find and buy.
The governor said a candy company delivered nearly 200,000 gloves to state officials Friday. Veterinarians have come forward with items recently, too.
Anyone who wants to donate should call 833-GIVE-PPE, which is 833-448-3773, or online donors can go to GIVEPPE.KY.GOV. Otherwise, masks and other protective items can be dropped off at Kentucky state police posts.
“We have millions of pieces of (personal protective equipment) out there,” Beshear said.
On Friday, Green River District Health Department officials reported 12 new COVID-19 cases.
Daviess County reported eight. Henderson County reported three, and Union County reported one.
The number of GRDHD cases stood at 78 as of Friday morning. By county, the totals are: Daviess, 55; Henderson, 11; Union and Webster, three; and Hancock, Ohio and McLean, two.
Muhlenberg County Health Department officials reported two new cases, bringing that county’s total to 14.
OH Regional Hospital had seven patients with confirmed cases of the virus Friday. Two of those patients are being treated in the critical care unit.
Twelve other patients at the hospital await their COVID-19 test results.
Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, firstname.lastname@example.org