Editor’s note: With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need. We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions at the end of this story.
FRANKFORT, Ky. - Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear ordered more businesses as well as adult day care centers to close this week and criticized Kentuckians who have skirted their “patriotic duty” by not complying with efforts to maintain social distancing in light of the coronavirus crisis.
In his daily briefing Tuesday, Beshear also said there would be a new procedure for filing for unemployment online after the state unemployment website crashed Monday under millions of visits.
Beshear said he signed an executive order to close “all public facing businesses that encourage public congregation" and cannot comply with the CDC's social distancing guidelines. That includes large sports and concerts venues and theaters, as well as community and recreation centers, gyms and exercise facilities, and hair and nail salons.
The order goes effect at 5 p.m. Wednesday. He said a list would be posted on the state's coronavirus website.
Groceries, retails stores, gas stations and other businesses that provided essential services are not included.
Beshear said adult day care centers would have to close by 5 p.m. Friday. He previously gave the same deadline to child care centers.
The governor said he is also asking for funerals and weddings to be limited to close family and friends. He said he understands the hardship that creates but that all Kentuckians are making sacrifices. He suggested holding memorials later in the case of deaths and postponing weddings.
Beshear said they hoped to have the tate unemployment website fixed by Wednesday.
People will be assigned to file during a period of time designated by the initial of the last name and that should streamline the process, he said.
Beshear said the state unemployment office processed more 9,000 request forms in a day when it usually handles about 2,000 in a week.
Beshear also announced two new coronavirus cases in Jefferson County and Lyon County, their first in western Kentucky. That brings the total in the Commonwealth to 26 and the counties affected to eight. A woman was removed from the list when it was discovered she was using a Kentucky address but lives in New York, Beshear said.
No cases have been reported in Northern Kentucky.
The governor called postponing the Kentucky Derby to September “a great decision, the right decision, the responsible decision.”
Beshear praised Kentuckians who are following his recommendtaions to keep themselves and others safe, especially those on social media who have adopted the hastags #teamkentucky and #togetherky.
But he scolded the General Assembly and rejected their request to declare a special session, saying they only want to adjourn and come back when they want to.
"I'm done with politics," Beshear said.
Beshear said lawmakers are wasting their time dealing with anything except coronavirus and the budget. He said the General Assembly has two options.
“One, pass the budget and go home. Or two, go ahead and adjourn or I’ll call you back in special session when it’s safe,” but only to consider coronavirus and the budget, Beshear said.
Find more coronavirus/COVID-19 hotlines and resources below:
- Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 833-4-ASK-ODH
- See ODH’s COVID-19 resources here.
- State COVID-19 hotline: 1-800-722-5725
- See the Cabinet for Health and Family Services coronavirus resource site here.
- SDH Epidemiology Resource Center: (317) 233-7125 or (317) 233-1325 after hours, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- See more information for coronavirus in Indiana here.
What is coronavirus, COVID-19?
According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are "a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
A novel coronavirus, such as COVID-19, is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 37 locations across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.
The CDC reports the initial patients in China have some link to a large seafood and live animal market, indicative of animal-to-person spread. A growing number of patients, however, did not report exposure to animal markets, indicating the disease is spreading person-to-person.
What are the symptoms? How does it spread?
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath.
The CDC said symptoms could appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. It is similar to the incubation period for MERS.
Spread of the virus is thought to be mainly from person-to-person. Spread is between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet). Spread occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
According to the CDC, it could be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, the CDC said.
The disease is most contagious when people are the sickest and showing the most symptoms.