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Gov. Beshear announces two new COVID-19 deaths, executive order limiting out-of-state travel

Gov. Beshear announces two new COVID-19 deaths, executive order limiting out-of-state travel

Two more Kentuckians have died from complications related to COVID-19, and residents will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days if they travel out-of-state unnecessarily, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Monday.

An 88-year-old woman from Kenton County and a 90-year-old woman from Simpson County succumbed to the disease. The two deaths bring Kentucky’s total to 11.

Both victims had underlying health issues, Beshear said.

“The coronavirus was at least a contributing factor that took them from us,” he said.

The governor also reported 42 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing Kentucky’s total to at least 480.

Beshear also announced a new executive order directing Kentuckians to not travel to other states unless necessary as COVID-19 cases continue to climb in states bordering Kentucky, particularly Illinois, Indiana and Tennessee.

Beshear’s order requires people who travel out-of-state for unnecessary reasons to self-quarantine for 14 days, LaTasha Buckner, Beshear’s chief of staff, said during Monday’s news conference.

“We want anyone from Kentucky who’s been out on spring break or for a trip to return home and self-quarantine for 14 days just to make sure that you haven’t been exposed and don’t expose other people,” she said. “We want you to remain healthy at home.”

“We don’t need to be traveling to other states right now,” Beshear said.

The order excludes travel for work, medical care, medicine, groceries, caring for loved ones and by court order, Buckner said.

The executive order can be enforced by local officials and law enforcement, but “the only way that we’re going to get people doing the right thing is because they agree to, … because they see it as their duty,” Beshear said.

“The moment that you go across the border, whether it’s to get your hair or nails or something else done or to go to a store that’s not open in Kentucky … and you have that extra contact, you can bring it back to a person in your family that’s working in a nursing home,” he said.

On that front, Beshear said two COVID-19 cases have been identified among residents in a Campbell County nursing home.

After setting a new daily high in the number of novel coronavirus cases in Kentucky at 92 on Saturday, new cases have declined each day since.

Beshear said Sunday’s and Monday’s totals represented “a good sign” in the state’s efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 as other states see their numbers of new cases double about every three days or sooner.

“But we are in the surge,” he said. “We are in the escalation, so I think that it shows that our actions matter, and we’ll ultimately see where our curve ends up.

“But no, we’re probably not going to have many more days in the next couple of weeks where we only have 42 news cases. This is a good day because of that.”

Beshear said he hoped to increase Kentucky’s ventilator capacity, currently at 1,352 units, by 10% depending on how the state’s search for them pans out as the federal government and other states scramble to improve their stocks of ventilators.

He also wants to see the number of hospital beds increase by about 10%, with plans on the table to convert hotels into medical facilities when needed, and add more intensive-care units to the 1,300 that already exist.

Hundreds of students studying healthcare have responded to the state’s call for volunteers, Beshear said. Of the 632 total, 342 are from medical schools, 210 are from nursing schools and 43 are studying pharmacy.

“That is pretty special,” Beshear said.

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