Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced in a press conference Sunday that 273 new cases of COVID-19 had emerged, the highest Beshear has announced so far. This brings the current state case count to 2,960, per the Kentucky Department of Health. And 148 fatalities have been reported.
In response to this figure, Beshear determined that the state will not reopen economic sectors or relax restrictions until there is a downward trajectory of reported cases for 14 days, in accordance with White House guidelines.
“We’re still in the midst of the fight,” Beshear said.
This comes after protests surged in Frankfort last week against Beshear’s restrictions, disrupting an evening news conference. The Lexington Herald-Leader noted that about 100 Kentuckians joined the protest, arguing that businesses needed to reopen after more than 500,000 Kentuckians filed for unemployment in March.
Local outlets report that at least 13 percent, or roughly 385, of COVID-19 cases have been recorded in nursing home residents. Beshear also told reporters Sunday that 33 additional residents have tested positive for the virus, as well as eight nursing home staffers.
Beshear noted that the state will need to increase testing and obtain more personal protective equipment (PPE) even if case numbers decline.
This follows news that Pastor Jack Roberts of the Maryville Baptist Church in Louisville filed a lawsuit against Beshear, claiming that enforcing a stay-at-home order on Easter violates the constitutional right to religious freedom. The church argued for Kentucky to allow in-person Christian services provided social distancing and hygienic rules are observed.
Beshear’s office put out a press release stating that anyone attending an in-person religious service during the coronavirus pandemic will be notified that it is a misdemeanor violation.
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