Gov. Beshear Provides Update on Fight Against COVID-19
FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 8, 2020) – Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday updated Kentuckians on the state’s efforts to fight the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) and address the deep societal problems laid bare by the deadly pandemic.
“Already with COVID-19, the world was going to be different afterwards, the United States was going to be different afterwards and Kentucky was going to be different afterwards,” said Gov. Beshear. “Our commitment is to make sure it’s not just different from a public health perspective, but it is truly different from an equality and a justice perspective.”
The Governor and top officials in his administration also spoke about racial disparities in health care access in the commonwealth, a review of criminal justice training protocols, changes in our education system, and updates on skilled nursing facilities and pandemic food benefits.
As of 4 p.m. June 8, Gov. Beshear said there were at least 11,476 COVID-19 cases in Kentucky. The Governor provided updated information about coronavirus cases newly confirmed Sunday and Monday in Kentucky.
On Sunday, 70 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed. On Monday, 120 new cases were reported.
“Both Sunday’s and Monday’s numbers are down, but we will have to be watching as this continues,” the Governor said. “Keep getting tested. Every week since the week of May 11, we’ve had over 40,000 tests conducted in the commonwealth.”
The total number of reported deaths attributed to coronavirus stands at 472 Kentuckians.
The death reported Sunday was of a 51-year-old woman from Daviess County. The death reported Monday was a 66-year-old man from Hardin County.
The Governor reminded Kentuckians to light their homes, places of business and places of worship green for compassion.
“While the number of deaths the past two days are so much lower than what we’ve been reporting recently, these are two other families who are grieving,” said Gov. Beshear. “Let’s make sure we don’t treat their loss any differently than we have treated others.”
At least 3,359 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus. For additional information, including up-to-date lists of positive cases and deaths, as well as breakdowns of coronavirus infections by county, race and ethnicity: for Sunday’s information, click here; for Monday’s information, click here.
Racial disparity in health care
Gov. Beshear announced today the launching of a new effort that aims to provide health care coverage for 100 percent of black and African-American people in the commonwealth.
“This is just the first commitment in making up for the inequality that Dr. King said was one of the most severe: inequality in health care,” said Gov. Beshear. “We’re going to be putting dollars behind it, we’re going to have a multifaceted campaign to do it. It is time, especially during COVID-19.”
Department of Criminal Justice Training review
J. Michael Brown, secretary for the Governor’s Executive Cabinet, announced Monday that a council with the Department of Criminal Justice Training’s (DOCJT) is reviewing and assessing its curriculum in light of demands for change across the nation.
Secretary Brown said the review will look at how current and future police officers are trained, with a plan to develop a proposed eight-hour online training course. The new course will cover several issues, including implicit bias, the use of force, deadly force and firearm deployment.
“Kentucky has one of the highest requirements in the country for officer training, and it has served us very well,” Secretary Brown said. “We are committed to providing at least eight hours of in-service training to all of our officers by the end of the calendar year, focused on specific and timely topics.”
As mandated by state statutes, all training materials are governed by the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council (KLEC) to meet the Kentucky Peace Officer Professional Standards. KLEC will review any updated curriculum proposal. DOCJT remains committed to providing officers with tactical best practices, latest technology training and information to protect the diverse communities they serve.
Board of Education Update
Today, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman announced that at last week’s Board of Education meeting, she proposed three immediate changes that will help schools better represent all the students they serve.
“As we have seen over the past week and a half, our society is crying out for change, and as I look into the crowds of people, I notice often it is our young people leading the way,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “Let me be clear: public education was made to meet this moment.”
The proposed changes include:
- Appoint a non-voting member to the board that is a current student
“Gov. Beshear added a teacher as non-voting member for the first time,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “By adding a current student to the BOE, this ensures every group has a seat at the table as we lead Kentucky into the future.”
- Mandate statewide implicit bias training for all school staff
“The issue of bias that all of us harbor is something we must confront,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “Especially if bias is hindering a child’s education.”
- Develop new strategies and programs to recruit more persons of color to be teachers
“For many kids, the first leader they have outside of their home is their teacher. Kentucky’s kids of color deserve to see themselves reflected in their community leaders,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “All of our children are better prepared for their future when exposed to a diverse community of leaders and teachers.”
Lt. Gov. Coleman shared that in a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, end-of-year test scores are higher for black students who have a teacher who looks like themselves. Black students who have just one black teacher by third grade are 13% more likely to go to college and black students who have two are 32% more likely.
“We want to work with our colleges and universities, including our HBCUs Kentucky State University and Simmons College, to recruit the best and the brightest who have a passion to change their community,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman.
Skilled nursing facilities update
Today, Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Eric Friedlander updated Kentuckians on the fight against the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) in skilled nursing facilities.
One hundred twenty-seven out of 285 facilities have at least one COVID-19 positive resident or staff member. And 84.9% of Kentucky’s facilities have already been surveyed for COVID-19, compared to the national average of 54.1%. Kentucky’s resident case rate is 33.8 out of 1,000 compared with the national average of 62. Kentucky’s resident death rate is 11.8 out of 1,000 compared with the national average of 27.6.
Kentucky’s staff case rate is 20.7 out of 1,000 compared with the national average of 39.5. Kentucky’s staff death rate is 0.02 out of 1,000 compared with the national average of 0.05.
“The Governor was aggressive in shutting down visitation to long-term care facilities quite early in this process,” said Secretary Friedlander. “We’ve been strategic for how we test and have helped make sure facilities have a plan. We’ve been able to keep our resident case rate at just over half of the national average and our resident death rate at less than half of the national average. We want our numbers to be better, but when you compare them to the national averages, Kentucky has done a very good job.”
Food benefits update
Secretary Friedlander also provided an update on food benefits. Specifically, he spoke about the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT).
“The Kentucky Department of Education has been a fantastic partner,” said Secretary Friedlander. “In less than a week, we’ve been able to extend P-EBT to 359,330 kids who already receive other DCBS benefits and to an additional 99,000 kids who did not previously receive other DCBS benefits. Thousands of children are still eligible. Please apply at benefind.ky.gov or for households that don’t speak English or Spanish, call 1-855-306-8959.”
Kentucky National Guard, State Police units leaving Louisville
“The marches that have been going on in Louisville the last several nights, if not more, have been very peaceful,” the Governor said. “Because of that, neither the KSP or the National Guard are stationed in Louisville anymore.”
He stressed that the state’s efforts don’t begin or end with law enforcement alone.
“While those units are no longer stationed in Louisville, the calls for justice obviously continue and we need to listen,” said Gov. Beshear. “So today we’re going to talk about efforts that this administration is going to take to create equality and to start addressing some of the systematic racism that’s existed in our health care system, in our law enforcement training and in public education.”
Kentucky State Fair
Gov. Beshear announced Tuesday that the administration approved a proposal to allow the Kentucky State Fair to take place.
“We have approved the State Fair proposal. It will look very different this year, but the main thing is that we are keeping the agricultural competition and so many of the things that make the fair great,” the Governor said. “However, the fair will not be able to use the portion of the Expo Center that houses our state field hospital. We are nowhere close to needing it, but we do not want to take it down and then need it later.”
Louisville Shooting Investigation
J. Michael Brown, secretary for the Governor’s Executive Cabinet, spoke Tuesday about the ongoing investigation into the shooting death of David McAtee.
“The Kentucky State Police is going to do a frame-by-frame review, that’s going to be more than 3,000 frames. Previously, I reported that David McAtee appears to have succumbed to a single gunshot wound to the chest, and that remains our conclusion,” said Secretary Brown. “Tonight I’m providing some further details on our findings: First, we have been conclusively able to identify the type of weapon that fired the fatal shot; second, we have identified that the 9 millimeter pistol seen in the videos with Mr. McAtee and found at the scene had fired at least two shots that evening; lastly, I’ll report to you that David McAtee had gunshot residue on his person from that evening.”
“Our crime lab was not able to match up the particular bullet fragments with a particular rifle,” said Secretary Brown. “But we do know the caliber and type of ammunition and we know that night those rounds were only fired by one agency, and that was the Kentucky National Guard, responding to the fire that they had received.”
Secretary Brown said the forensic evidence showed McAtee had a 9mm handgun and had fire the weapon at least twice.
“We have no doubt about that Mr. McAtee’s weapon was tested and the shell casings we found outside the door came from that weapon,” he said, adding that Mr. McAtee was tested for gunshot residue and those reports came back positive.
“One of the particles found was consistent with a firearms discharge,” Brown said. “Five other particles were consistent with him either handling or being around a weapon that had been discharged.”
Absentee Ballot Application Portal Online
Gov. Beshear is encouraging all voters to use a new Absentee Ballot Application Portal now available online. A link to the State Board of Elections’ portal can be found at govoteky.com. He urged everyone who plans to vote in the primary elections to go to the portal and request an absentee mail-in ballot. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is June 15.
Read about other key updates, actions and information from Gov. Beshear and his administration at governor.ky.gov, kycovid19.ky.gov and the Governor’s official social media accounts Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Kentuckians can also access translated COVID-19 information and daily summaries of the Governor’s news conference at tinyurl.com/kygovespanol (Spanish) and tinyurl.com/kygovtranslations (more than 20 additional languages).