FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Kentucky has 50 new cases of COVID-19, according to Gov. Beshear, marking the state’s largest increase to date.
The governor added he is giving county judge, city mayors and state park officials authority to shut down parks and areas of public congregation to help stop the spread of the virus.
Kentucky has 248 cases of COVID-19 as of Beshear’s Thursday briefing.
Northern Kentucky now has 19 total cases, up four from Wednesday, according to the Northern Kentucky Health Department.
Beshear added Kentucky is faring better than hard-hit states like California, New York and Michigan.
“This is a test of our humanity – about how much we care about each other. I am doing everything I can to make sure we pass the test and I know you are, too,” he said. “The next two to three weeks are absolutely critical to what they call blunting the curve. This is the time where our actions mean the most in not spreading the virus."
The governor had no Kentucky deaths to report Thursday, leaving the state’s tally at five, but said someone is “holding on” and that the person may pass soon.
Beshear again encouraged social distancing practices while warning Kentuckians “don’t try to be the exception.”
“If you are out there flaunting the rules, you may pass it to someone else, who may go home and pass it to their parents, who may work somewhere with vulnerable people," the governor said. “Your failure to follow the directions may have consequences for other people.”
Beshear highlighted several examples of people “trying to be the exception” Tuesday: folks going on spring break, having group play dates for their children and going to open places like grocery stores “just to be around other people.”
Thursday he added to that list: folks driving to other states with fewer restrictions than Kentucky, playing pick-up games of basketball on public courts and gathering in large groups at state parks.
“If you simply drive over the border to another state and have all the contacts we are trying to stop, you frustrate the sacrifices of your community,” Beshear said.
He continued: “If you are playing a game of basketball, you are spreading the coronavirus right now. If you are going to a park, coming together over a campfire, you are spreading the coronavirus right now.”
Responding to these situations, Beshear is asking county judges and city mayors authority to monitor park areas and public congregation areas and, if people aren’t observing social distancing, to shut them down, something the mayor of Louisville has done, according to the governor.
He said he is giving the same authority to the head of Kentucky’s state parks.
Beshear took a break from talking about coronavirus Thursday to highlight the importance of filling out the census.
Previously he had cast Kentuckians’ fight against the virus in patriotic terms. He did the same with the census.
“It’s your patriotic duty to do now, so we can rebuild after this," he said.
Wednesday Beshear said drive-thru testing would be available soon, but did not have additional information. Thursday he said he still did not have specific information but revealed the first test site will be in Frankfurt and that, due to limited testing and PPE availbility, will only be “for those who most need it.”