Beshear urges Kentuckians to get tested for coronavirus

'Too early' to tell if protests will cause case spike
Posted at 3:58 PM, Jun 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 18:19:15-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear urged Kentuckians to continue to practice social distancing guidelines and get tested for coronavirus as his press conference Wednesday.

Beshear emphasized the importance of complying with contract tracing procedures if a positive test is received. He also asked those who attended recent protests or large gatherings to get tested.

"We do not have information on coronavirus stemming from protests -- it's too early," Beshear said.

On Wednesday, Beshear reported 484 total coronavirus-related deaths out of 11,883 virus cases. He said 3,375 people have recovered from the virus, and the state has tested 302,347 people.

NKY Health reported that 1,360 people in Boone, Campbell, Kenton and Grant counties have tested positive for coronavirus since March and 69 people have died of the virus as of Wednesday.

In long term care facilities, 1,786 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, and 318 residents have died. In those facilities, 809 staff have contracted COVID-19 and three have died. Additionally, 1,079 residents and 634 staff members have recovered from the virus.

Beshear said coronavirus cases have been seen in all except one Kentucky county (Robertson) so far.

To find one of the 189 free coronavirus testing locations in Kentucky, click here.

Governor: More funding needed for social services

Beshear, saying that Kentucky has underfunded public health in recent years, announced he plans to address the gap in healthcare along racial lines.

"I believe that we do need to fund these other social services [and] address the root cause of so many issues," Beshear said.

During recent protests against police brutality, some have called for governments to defund police departments, and on Wednesay, Beshear said more money should be diverted to social services which are better equipped to solve some kinds of problems than police.

"This concept of 'defund the police' I don't think is as much about taking dollars away from law enforcement as we throw law enforcement at problems that even law enforcement believes that they shouldn't be addressing. When we don't address mental health in the way that we need to, what happens? A law enforcement individual is sent," Beshear said.

Healthcare is another sectors in which Beshear said he wants to see inequities erased.

“I believe that health care is a basic human right," he said. "I made a pledge that we would work to sign up every Kentuckian for some form of health coverage,” Beshear said.

Beshear said Kentucky's upcoming budget aimed to reduce cuts to healthcare and other social services, but the recent coronavirus pandemic has put much of that on hold. The budget proposal would have included overall health coverage for children, but the legislature did not include that in the final budget.

Nearly 20,000 black Kentuckians don't have health insurance. Beshear said goal is to make sure that everybody has coverage either through Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance.

“We have an obligation to make sure that members of our African-American communities are able to sign up for healthcare coverage right away,” Beshear said. “There is long history of racial inequality in healthcare. The coronavirus is making that more clear than ever.”

Update on police killing of David McAtee

Tuesday, J. Michael Brown, secretary for the Governor's Executive Cabinet, spoke about the ongoing investigation into the shooting death of Louisville resident David McAtee.

“The Kentucky State Police is going to do a frame-by-frame review; that’s going to be more than 3,000 frames. Previously, I reported that David McAtee appears to have succumbed to a single gunshot wound to the chest, and that remains our conclusion,” Brown said. “Tonight I’m providing some further details on our findings.

"First, we have been conclusively able to identify the type of weapon that fired the fatal shot; second, we have identified that the 9 millimeter pistol seen in the videos with Mr. McAtee and found at the scene had fired at least two shots that evening; lastly, I’ll report to you that David McAtee had gunshot residue on his person from that evening.”

Brown said the bullet that killed McAtee matched the caliber and type of ammunition used by the Kentucky National Guard. The shots were fired in response to Louisville Metro Police officers and Kentucky National Guardsmen coming under fire.

Forensic evidence showed that the gun that reportedly belonged to McAtee had been fired at least twice that evening.

“We have no doubt about that. Mr. McAtee’s weapon was tested and the shell casings we found outside the door came from that weapon,” he said, adding that McAtee was tested for gunshot residue and those reports came back positive.

“One of the particles found was consistent with a firearms discharge,” Brown said. “Five other particles were consistent with him either handling or being around a weapon that had been discharged.”

The National Guard and Kentucky State Police will not be present at protests in Louisville going forward.

“When the National Guard was requested from the city of Louisville and LMPD, we had seen some significant escalation,” Beshear said Wednesday, including multiple shootings and damage to businesses.

Kentucky state fair will look 'very different'

On Tuesday, Beshear announced a Kentucky State Fair proposal for 2020 has been approved and promised a "very different" event from years past.

"The main thing is we are ensuring that we are keeping the agricultural competitions and so many of the things that make the fair so great," Beshear said during his COVID-19 briefing Tuesday. The fair is set for Aug. 20-30.

Beshear also said that all plans were contingent on the state continuing to "have a handle" on the coronavirus.
He said that the fair would not use the portion of the Kentucky Expo Center that has the field hospital in it.

Beshear said other states are seeing surges in the numbers of COVID-19 patients, and he wants to make sure that medical facility is kept ready in case it's needed.

What's reopening in Kentucky?

Starting Wednesday, houses of worship can begin hosting congregants at 50% capacity.

On Thursday, camping will be allowed to resume with social distancing.

Historical horse racing facilities reopened Monday with social distancing and sanitation precautions. In-home childcare was also allowed to resume Monday along with horse shows, museums, outdoor attractions, libraries, aquariums and distilleries.

It was announced last week that Kentucky Speedway in Sparta would host the Quaker State 400 without fans next month, with NASCAR adding the Xfinity Series double-header to the weekend lineup.

Childcare centers can reopen on Monday, and low-touch, outdoor youth sports can resume as well.

Find Kentucky's complete reopening plans here.

Watch a replay of the briefing in the player below: