Gov. Andy Beshear says rising COVID-19 case numbers show need to wear masks

Updated: Jul. 16, 2020 at 5:47 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Kentucky Gov. Beshear says right now is a critical moment in the battle against COVID-19.

“What we are seeing across the country is alarming. We are seeing state after state not just facing escalating cases, but facing devastation,” Beshear said.

As of July 16, the governor says there are 413 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the state bringing the total number of cases to 21,803.

The number includes five children who were recently diagnosed, two of whom are 2-month-olds, according to Beshear.

“Today, we have a record number of kids under 5 diagnosed with COVID-19. These kids are counting on us to do the right thing,” Beshear said.

Health officials say of the total number of cases, 5,500 have recovered. Of the amount of current positive cases, 418 are in the hospital.

“People are going to say this just happens to 90-year-olds, but today we’ve lost a 59-year-old -- 59 years old,” said Gov. Beshear. “When you put up record numbers of cases, while our hospitals are working really hard, we will see more death. When we have fewer appropriate restrictions based on science in place, you know what to expect. How many more people do we have to lose?”

Beshear emphasized again that everyone needs to wear a mask in public as required by his mandate.

He also took aim at Attorney General Daniel Cameron, saying Cameron is, “seeing to invalidate the executive orders that keep us safe from COVID-19.”

Gov. Beshear says the attorney general is trying to void:

  • Healthy at Work requirements;
  • Expanded workers’ compensation eligibility for workers – including first responders, active military and grocery store employees – who are ordered to quarantine as a result of exposure; and
  • A measure that waives copays, deductibles, cost-sharing and diagnostic testing fees for private insurance.

“Today the attorney general asked a court in Boone County to overturn every single order we have put in place to protect people and to stop my office from putting in any future order to keep us safe,” Beshear said. “It’s truly frightening. Companies wouldn’t even have to sanitize. In the middle of a worldwide pandemic. It means we would fail. It means people would die. Those are the facts, and that’s the truth.”

“Today, we are in court to protect the rights of Kentuckians and ensure that the process used by the Governor to issue Executive Orders complies with the law. This is not about the Governor’s policies, it’s about making sure he follows the law,” Cameron said on Twitter.

In addition, the governor offered an update on unemployment claims.

He says Ernst & Young has processed 10,365 outstanding claims as of July 15.

They also increased work hours from eight to 10 hours per day and began working on Saturdays.

Beshear says Ernst & Young expects to resolve 4,000 claims per day going forward.

“As you all know, unemployment insurance has been difficult – most of all, of course, for those who have struggled to get it,” said Gov. Beshear. “But EY is getting more and more efficient. Remember to answer the phone when they call. The number is 502-333-9130.”

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