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Leaders urge Kentuckians to wear masks in public as virus deaths reach 400, cases top 9,000

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Posted at 4:17 PM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 19:43:49-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. — During a press briefing Wednesday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Public Health Director Dr. Steven Stack urged Kentuckians to wear masks in public in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, even if you're not showing virus symptoms.

“Knowing I could be asymptomatic and pass it -- it’s a very small thing," Beshear said of wearing a face mask around others.

Both leaders said that wearing a mask should not be a matter of politics but one of public safety and respect for others.

"Let's celebrate those more positive things we do ... and not devolve to criticizing others for trying to do what they believe is necessary to keep themselves and the ones they love safe," Stack said Tuesday.

Kentucky virus-related deaths have reached 400 since the pandemic began as Beshear announced six people, including a man and a woman in Boone County, died Wednesday.

There have been 394 virus-related deaths among 9,077 total positive COVID-19 cases statewide. NKY Health reports that 1,164 people have contracted COVID-19 in Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties so far, including 65 people who have reportedly died of the virus.

In Kentucky's long term care facilities, 222 residents and two staff members have reportedly died of the virus. As of Wednesday, 1,185 residents and 563 staff members had contracted the virus.

More than 3,100 people have recovered from coronavirus with more than 200,000 people tested so far.

For a complete list of coronavirus testing sites in Kentucky, click here.

Team Kentucky Fund

The Team Kentucky Fund has received roughly 1,900 applications for funding, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman announced Wednesday.

You can donate to the fund, which provides assistance to Kentuckians who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, using this online form. So far, Kentuckians have already donated $3.1 million to the fund.

Coleman said she hopes to distribute funds in an "equitable" manner to those in need, especially in counties in Eastern Kentucky that saw fewer applications than other parts of the state.

In addition, aid from the state's Community Action Agencies can be used to help cover bills, pay for groceries, securing affordable housing, transportation, finding a job and more.

MORE: NKY organizations spice up food drive, lift community spirits

How to request mail-in primary ballots

Sec. of State Michael Adams unveiled a new web portal Friday where Kentuckians can check their voter registration status and request absentee ballots for the primary elections.

There are four ways to vote in Kentucky: in-person on Election Day, June 23; in-person early voting before June 8; absentee by mail; and absentee ballots returned to your local elections board before Election Day.

Since the state is "not able" to mail ballots to everyone automatically, Sec. of State Michael Adams said those who want an absentee ballot to either mail back or return to local elections boards can visit GoVoteKy.com.

“It makes it easy to vote, and it makes it hard to cheat,” Adams said.

You can check your voter status and update your information at Elect.Ky.Gov. Both sites are mobile-friendly, Adams said.

The deadline to register to vote in Kentucky's 2020 primary was Tuesday, and the deadline to request a primary absentee ballot is June 15.

MORE: Kentucky gets in line with mail-in voting

What's reopening in Kentucky this week?

On Wednesday, health care providers that perform inpatient surgeries and other procedures will no longer be required to limit themselves to 50% of pre-shutdown volume. Instead, each facility will determine the number of patients it can safely treat.

Kentucky allowed barbers, hair salons, cosmetologists, nail salons, acupuncturists, massage therapists, tanning salons and tattoo parlors to reopen Monday.

See WCPO's timeline for the full list of event reopenings in Kentucky and around the Tri-State.

Watch a replay of Wednesday's briefing in the player below: