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Kentucky governor confirms first COVID-19 death; all restaurants to close to in-person dining

Updated: Mar. 16, 2020 at 4:52 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Gov. Andy Beshear announced Monday morning that a 66-year-old man from Bourbon County died due to the novel coronavirus.

“Sadly, last night, we lost a Bourbon County man who was treated for multiple medical conditions and tested positive for COVID-19, which was a contributing factor,” said Gov. Beshear. “My family and every Kentuckian is lifting up his friends, family and community in our thoughts and prayers. While we have taken aggressive action to combat this world health pandemic, in the days and weeks ahead, we must continue to pull together as Kentuckians to stop the spread of this virus. We are a resilient people. We will beat this virus.”

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Twenty-one people in Kentucky have been confirmed to have COVID-19 as of Monday:

  • Six in Harrison County
  • Six in Jefferson County
  • Five in Fayette and Montgomery Counties
  • One in Bourbon County
  • One in Nelson County
  • One in Clark County

A 27-year-old, who was diagnosed with the virus, is out of the hospital and fully recovered.

As of Sunday, 254 people have been tested.

Gov. Beshear also ordered all restaurants and bars to close by 5 p.m. Monday. Carry out, drive-thrus and delivery will remain available.

“We are to the point now where this is a step we have to take. I want to thank everyone that stepped up and did this voluntarily,” he said. “We are asking so many people to make sacrifices. It is not lost on me that most of these are small businesses. We are going to do everything we can to be there for you. We realize the impact this will have and we will be there for you.”

For those who are losing their jobs due to the spread of the virus, the state is taking steps to waive the waiting period for unemployment and will waive any work search requirements while the state of emergency is in effect.

“We know the steps we are taking are going to cause people to lose their jobs,” the Governor said. “We want you to be able to qualify for unemployment and we don’t want to create impediments that keep you from being able to get through this. We are going to make sure we get through this together.”

In addition to bars and restaurants, the governor says childcare centers should be prepared to close within 72 hours.

The state capital is closed to non-essential personnel, said Gov. Beshear.

“We are taking aggressive action to protect you and the people around you. I am asking you to do your duty as a Kentuckian and as an American to take care of the people around you,” he said. “We are going to take steps to stop any in-person service from state government and make sure we can provide those services remotely.”

Since many people are out of work as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, the governor said that the state will waive the waiting period for unemployment.

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