Beshear announces new testing sites, wider availability in Ky.

Gradual hospital reopening starts Monday
Posted at 4:43 PM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 00:18:42-04

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FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Gov. Andy Beshear announced Wednesday that starting next week, any Kentuckian who wants a drive-thru coronavirus test will be able to get a test at one of several sites across the commonwealth.

Watch the briefing in the player below:

During his daily coronavirus briefing Wednesday, Beshear said the state will no longer reserve tests at Kroger Health drive-thru sites for first responders or members of other at-risk groups.

New testing sites in Louisville and Lexington will open next week, Monday through Friday, in communities with large African American populations, Beshear said during his briefing Wednesday.

“We have seen the disproportionate impact, especially in the death rate of this virus," Beshear said.

Starting Tuesday, Beshear said drive-thru testing will be available in Bowling Green and Owensboro with 1,000 kits each.

Kentucky is also operating sites in Paducah, Pikeville, Madisonville and Somerset, which have tested 571 people in the last two days.

Through a new partnership with Walgreens, first responders and members of at-risk populations can get tested for coronavirus at a drive-thru site in Lexington beginning Friday.

By Wednesday, roughly 36,000 people total have been tested for the virus, though Kentucky had mainly reserved limited tests for first responders and people who are already ill. With these new sites and partnerships, Beshear said the state aims to administer 20,000 tests per week.

Beginning Monday, the state will start "phase I" for the gradual reopening of hospital and healthcare centers. These will include allowing visits for diagnostic radiology, non-emergent, emergent and ambulatory visits plus pre-anesthesia testing services in preparation for the future ramp-up in elective surgeries.

Beshear also reported 196 new cases and 14 new virus-related deaths Wednesday for a total of 171 deaths and 3,373 total positive COVID-19 cases in Kentucky. The state is no longer seeing a day-over-day increase in cases, though Beshear said it's unclear if Kentucky has reached a decline in cases.

“We do believe that we are still plateaued,” Beshear said.

As of Wednesday, 1,311 Kentuckians have recovered from coronavirus.

NKY Health reported Tuesday four more people had died of coronavirus in Northern Kentucky counties, including two Kenton County residents in their 60s and 80s, a Grant County resident in their 70s and a Campbell County resident in their 80s. NKY Health reports 27 Northern Kentuckians from Boone, Campbell, Kenton and Grant County have died due to coronavirus.