FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear reported 295 new cases of coronavirus Thursday for a total of 10,705 virus cases. He also confirmed eight new coronavirus-related deaths for a total of 458 deaths since the pandemic started in Kentucky in March.
Two people from Northern Kentucky died Thursday, including a 92-year-old man in Kenton County and an 87-year-old woman from Boone County. NKY Health reports that 69 people from the region have died of coronavirus among 1,298 confirmed cases in Boone, Campbell, Kenton and Grant counties.
As of Thursday, 3,303 people have recovered from the virus, and the state has tested 262,714 people.
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"I want as many Kentuckians possible tested -- tested regularly -- until we have the vaccine," Beshear said.
Recent protests against police brutality in Louisville
Following days of protests against the March police killing of Breonna Taylor in Lousiville, the governor said more announcements on improving conditions in Kentucky's communities of color in the healthcare, economic and justice system sectors would come Monday.
"I think we're hearing the voice of fatigue and frustration. I want to hear that, and if I'm hearing that, it means I have to make sure that I'm enabling action to address it," Beshear said.
After President Donald Trump remarked this week that he would deploy the U.S. military to quell recent protests if governors did not activate the National Guard, Beshear said he does not believe the U.S. military is needed in Kentucky cities.
While there are “individual bad actors” among peaceful protesters, Beshear said, he does "not believe that we have the unrest ... that the president is referring to.”
“I don’t think those are appropriate words, and I don’t think that they help us in showing that we’re listening and that we want to be a part of a better America and a better Kentucky moving forward," Beshear said.
Additionally, Beshear said Thursday he wants to see the statue of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, removed from the capitol rotunda. He says the statue is a "symbol that divides us" and that it should be placed elsewhere with proper historical context.
"Right now, seeing so much pain in our state and across our country, can't we at least realize that so many of our fellow Kentuckians ... Can't we understand, that is understand at the very least, it is so hurtful to them, and doesn't that at least justify it not sitting where it does right now?" he said.
What's reopening in Kentucky?
Historical horse racing facilities can reopen Monday with social distancing and sanitation precautions, Beshear announced Thursday.
In addition, it was announced Thursday that Kentucky Speedway in Sparta would host the Quaker State 400 without fans on July 12, with NASCAR adding the Xfinity Series double-header to the weekend lineup.
In-home childcare will resume Monday, and museums, outdoor attractions, libraries, aquariums and distilleries can reopen. Horse shows can also resume on Monday.
Next Thursday, June 11, camping can resume with social distancing.
Childcare centers can reopen on June 15, and low-touch, outdoor youth sports can resume as well.
Find Kentucky's complete reopening plans here.
First juvenile death announced this week
On Wednesday, Beshear announced that a 9-month-old child is the first juvenile death tied to COVID-19 in the state of Kentucky. The child was in Hopkins County, roughly 150 miles southwest of Louisville.
Though the leading cause of the child's death is not COVID-19, the disease was a contributing factor, he said.
Despite the child's death, Beshear said, there have not been any additional cases of children presenting with the pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome seen earlier in May.
As the summer months begin, Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack warned that there is still no evidence that warmer weather and the incoming humidity will have any effect on the coronavirus or its infection rate. He urged people to continue abiding by rules of social distancing, mask-wearing and persistent hand-washing to continue to keep the virus at bay in the Commonwealth.
So far, according to Beshear and Stack, recent protests in major cities throughout Kentucky have not created a spike in COVID-19 cases, but it may still be too soon to tell for certain. Beshear added that, so far, the state's admissions to ICUs for COVID-19 are the lowest they've been "in a long time."