Kentucky - COVID-19 Covered

Kentucky

Total Cases: 8,951 (May 27)
Tests Administered: 169,856 (May 23)
Fatalities: 394 (May 27)
Testing:
  • Governor Beshear’s office announced that he has appointed Mark Carter to serve as his executive advisor to lead the state’s contact tracing efforts. (May 18)
  • Governor Beshear announced that the state will have more than 50 testing sites by the end of this week. (May 11)
    • Governor Beshear announced that due to these added tests, the state no longer faces testing capacity challenges. (May 12)
  • The state reportedly plans to test every resident and employee in its 286 nursing homes. (May 8)
  • Signature Healthcare, which is reportedly Kentucky’s largest operator of nursing homes, announced that it will test all residents and employees for COVID-19 at its 41 facilities. (May 7)
  • Governor Beshear announced that the state opened a new drive-through testing site in Pikeville. (May 5)
  • Governor Beshear and commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health Steven Sack announced that the state will begin an “aggressive” testing initiative for long-term care facilities. (May 5)
  • Governor Beshear announced that Kentucky will partner with St. Elizabeth Health Care for drive-through testing. According to Beshear, the state will have a total of 17 drive-through testing locations. (May 4)
  • Governor Beshear announced two new testing options for Kentuckians: residents may register for testing via the Oldham County Health Department website. (https://oldhamcountyhealthdepartment.org/) or by calling 606-564-9447 at the Buffalo Trace District Health Department (April 28)
  • Governor Beshear announced that residents may be tested, for free, at various Kroger and Walgreens locations. (April 23)
  • Governor Beshear reportedly announced that the state will open new testing sites in Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green, and Owensboro. (April 22)
  • North Clark Medical Group will reportedly open drive-thru testing sites in Jeffersonville and Louisville. (April 21)
  • The state has launched an interactive map on its COVID-19 website that allows users to view confirmed cases and deaths by county, among other features. (April 21)
  • Governor Beshear announced that new drive-thru testing sites opened in Madisonville, Paducah, Somerset and Pikeville. (April 19)
  • Governor Beshear announced that the state planned to test 20,000 Kentuckians over the next five weeks and will open new test sites in Madisonville, Paducah, Somerset, and Pikeville. (April 16)
  • Governor Beshear announced that the state launched The Co-Immunity Project, a collaboration between the State of Kentucky, Louisville Metro Government, the Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute and other entities that will “focus on comprehensive testing, centered on antibodies and developing donor plasma resources.” (April 15)
  • Governor Beshear announced that the state has relaxed eligibility requirements for drive-through testing. (April 14)
  • Governor Beshear announced a partnership with Kroger Health that seeks to complete 20,000 tests in the next five weeks. The first drive-through testing site will open at the Franklin County Fairgrounds and tests will be free. (April 12)
  • Governor Beshear has asked any individual or entity to donate PPEs for health care workers who are helping fight the pandemic. (April 6)
  • Governor Beshear announced that the state signed an agreement with Gravity Diagnostics to increase the state’s testing by about 2,000 tests per day. (April 5)
  • Kentucky has created a new hotline and website for PPE donations. Residents may call 1-833-GIVE PPE or visit giveppe.ky.gov. (April 3)
  • Governor Beshear announced that the state planned to convert its fairgrounds into a 2,000-bed hospital. (April 2)
  • Kentuckians may call the state’s COVID-19 Hotline (800-722-5725) for advice and answers from professionals at the Kentucky Poison Control Center. (March 25)

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • Governor Beshear signed an executive order stipulating that all “non-life-sustaining businesses” must stop in-person business by March 26 at 8 PM. Businesses that may remain open include “grocery stores, drug stores, and pharmacies, banks, hardware stores, agricultural operations, gas stations, media, businesses needed for transportation, logistics, shipping, delivery and pick-up, housing, building and construction, laundry, financial services, home-based care and services, professional services, manufacturing and other businesses key to national interests or life-sustaining goods or services, and those covered under the federal critical infrastructure sector.” (March 24)

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • Governor Beshear’s office has released requirements that barbers, cosmetologists, and hair salons must meet in order to reopen. The requirements include social distancing measures, cleaning and disinfecting provisions, PPE requirements, and training and safety guidelines. (May 18)
  • Governor Beshear reportedly announced that grocery store employees will be given access to childcare services. (April 1)
  • Governor Beshear signed an executive order that reduced restrictions for out-of-state nurses and eased regulations to obtain a nursing license. (March 31)
  • Governor Beshear signed an executive order that allowed law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical service personnel, park rangers, and corrections officers to rehire retired employees to fill positions. (March 31)
  • Kentucky’s Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) announced that “job search, work, and participation requirements are temporarily suspended for SNAP able-bodied adults without dependents, the Kentucky Works Program, and the Child Care Assistance Program.” (March 18)
  • All Kentucky citizens who lost their job because of COVID-19 are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. (March 16)
  • Governor Beshear waived the benefits waiting period and work search requirements for unemployment insurance while Kentucky’s state of emergency is in effect. (March 16)
  • The state announced that the Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance (KEMI) will “provide wage replacement benefits for first responders and medical personnel who have been quarantined for COVID-19 as a result of their increased risk of exposure in the course of their work.” (March 13)

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • Governor Beshear announced that the state will use $300 million it received in CARE funding to reimburse local governments for costs incurred due to the coronavirus response. (May 20)
  • Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman announced that beginning Friday, May 15, Kentuckians can apply for aid from the Team Kentucky Fund, which has accepted donations to help residents who have been impacted the pandemic. (May 14)
  • Governor Beshear signed an executive order preventing utility disconnections due to nonpayment. (May 8)
  • The Kentucky Public Service Commission has issued an order that prevents electricity disconnections due to nonpayment. (May 8)
  • Governor Beshear announced that Kentucky has obtained $450,000 to aid the state’s nonprofit art organizations by providing “prevention, preparedness and response assistance.” (April 24)
  • Governor Beshear and Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Mary Noble announced Kentucky local public safety agencies and certain local governments may apply for part of the state’s $9 million in grant funding through the DOJ’s Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program. (April 24)
  • Governor Beshear announced that the state launched “Healthy at Work,” an initiative that will use a “phased approach to [reopen] Kentucky’s economy.” According to Governor Beshear’s office, “Phase 1 is a state-readiness evaluation. Phase 2 is an individual business-readiness evaluation.” (April 21)
  • Governor Beshear signed an executive order that expanded workers compensation to military, active National guard, child care workers, grocery workers, corrections officers, domestic violence shelter workers, child advocacy workers, rape crisis center workers, postal workers, and Department of Community Based Services workers who have been ordered to quarantine. (April 9)
  • Kentucky will reportedly receive about $1.7 billion from the federal government as a result of the signing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. (March 31)
  • Governor Beshear signed an agreement with the Department of Labor that he said will allow the state to “raise the maximum weekly benefit by $600, increase benefits weeks by 13 additional weeks, fund unemployment insurance for individuals not typically eligible and finally allows states to expand workshare programs.” (March 28)
  • The Kentucky Legislature passed a COVID-19 relief measure that would waive the waiting period for accessing unemployment benefits, extend benefits for self-employed individuals, and waive state licensing, renewal, and application fees for citizens and businesses, among other provisions. (March 27)
  • Governor Beshear created the Team Kentucky Fund to raise money for financial assistance for citizens whose employment was impacted by COVID-19. (March 23)
  • Kentucky’s Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) announced a three-month extension for certification periods for public assistance program recipients who take part in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/SNAP program, Medicaid, Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program/K-TAP, or State Supplementation. (March 18)
  • Governor Beshear signed an executive order suspending copays, deductibles, cost-sharing, and diagnostic testing fees for COVID-19 testing for private insurance and state employees and called on all insurers to offer out-of-network services “where appropriate.” (March 9)
  • Governor Beshear signed an executive order banning price gouging. (March 7)

Business Support & Resources:

  • Governor Beshear announced that guidance for reopening bowling alleys is now available on the state’s website. (May 21) 
  • Governor Beshear announced that his administration applied for a U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration. (March 16 
  • Governor Beshear announced that any employer of more than 50 workers who has laid off at least 15 employees may file a claim on for their employees through the E-Claims process. (March 23) 

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Shelter-In-Place Orders:

  • Kentucky’s interstate travel ban has been lifted. (May 22)
  • Beginning June 1, Kentucky courts will reportedly resume hearing civil and criminal cases with several restrictions, including requiring face coverings, among others. (May 18)
  • Governor Beshear’s office announced that beginning June 1, the state will open its State resort parks, recreational parks, lodges, and cabins. Additionally, on June 11, the Kentucky Horse Park, Otter Creek, and state park campgrounds will reopen to “self-contained campers and RVs in accordance with the Healthy at Work camping guidelines” (May 15)
  • Governor Beshear announced that he will loosen restrictions related to the state’s mass gatherings ban and out-of-state travel restrictions on May 22. Specifically, residents will be permitted to gather in groups of less than 10 and will be allowed to travel out-of-state. (May 14)
  • Governor Beshear announced that starting May 13, hospitals and care facilities will be permitted to perform non-emergency surgeries and procedures for half as many patients as their pre-COVID-19 capacity. (May 13)
  • Governor Beshear announced that hospital patients will be permitted to have one visitor per patient starting Wednesday, May 13. (May 9)
  • Governor Beshear announced a timeline for the state’s second phase of reopening its economy. According to Beshear, restaurants will open at 33% on May 22, movie theaters and fitness centers will open on June 1, campgrounds will open on June 11, and childcare facilities, with reduced capacity, will reopen June 15. All establishments that reopen will have to follow the state’s “10 rules of staying healthy at work.” (May 7)
  • A federal judge has ruled that Governor Beshear’s March executive order that prohibited out-of-state travel – with exceptions for work, purchasing groceries, caring for someone, or for health care – is unconstitutional. (May 4)
  • Governor Beshear announced that his first three goals to reopen the Kentucky economy are to post guidance for businesses set to reopen on May 11, work with religious institutions and retail stores on reopening, and continue to expand the state’s testing capabilities. (May 4)
  • Governor Beshear announced that manufacturers, construction, vehicle or vessel dealerships, half of the professional services, horse racing (without fans), and dog grooming and boarding businesses will begin to reopen on May 11. (April 29)
  • Governor Beshear announced a 10-point plan designed to help Kentucky businesses prepare for the state’s slow reopening process. The ten rules of the plan are the following: “Continue telework where possible[;] Phased return to work[;] Onsite temperature/health checks[;] Universal masks and other necessary PPE[;] Close common areas[;] Enforce social distancing[;] Limit face-to-face meetings[;] Sanitizer/handwash stations[;] Special accommodations[;] [and] Testing plan.” (April 28)
  • Governor Beshear and commissioner for the Department for Public Health Dr. Steven Stack announced that the state planned to reopen its economy in four phases. According to the announcement, Phase 1 has already begun, while Phases 2, 3, and 4 will start May 6, May 13, and May 27, respectively. (April 27)
  • Governor Beshear reportedly announced that the state will begin slowly reopening the economy on Monday, April 27 by opening some hospital and healthcare services. (April 22)
  • Governor Beshear announced the state’s benchmark criteria for opening parts of the economy. The criteria are: “14 days where cases are decreasing [;] Increased testing capacity and contact tracing [;] Personal protective equipment (PPE) availability [;] Ability to protect at-risk populations [;] Ability to social distance and follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on large gatherings [;] Preparedness for possible future spike [;] Status of vaccine and treatment.” (April 17)
  • Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced that Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Kentucky will make decisions together regarding reopening the economy. (April 16)
  • Governor Beshear stated that Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana would open parts of the economy “in lockstep” to slow COVID-19 spreading. (April 15)
  • Governor Beshear announced that Kentuckians may still travel to Tennessee for work or to purchase groceries, but called for ending “unnecessary travel” to Tennessee. (March 28)
  • While no formal shelter-in-place order has been given, Governor Beshear has called on Kentuckians to “Stay Healthy at Home.” (March 26)

Curfews:

  • No statewide records found.
  • Local curfews from 10 PM to 5 AM may be enacted by local governments. (March 16)

Social-Distancing Guidelines:

  • Governor Beshear issued an adjusted travel ban that will allow out-of-state individuals to come to Kentucky for medical treatment. The ban still requires anyone coming to Kentucky from out-of-state to self-quarantine for 14 days. (May 6)
  • Governor Beshear reportedly signed an executive order that will allow all Kentucky registered voters to vote by mail-in ballot in the state’s June 23 primary election. (April 24)
  • Per the Kentucky Supreme Court, all courtrooms must remain closed until at least May 31. (April 14)
  • Governor Beshear announced closings of the Natural Bridge and Cumberland Falls state resort parks. (April 9)
  • Governor Beshear signed an executive order that permits only one adult per household to shop at certain essential businesses. (April 8)
  • Governor Beshear announced that the state would follow the CDC’s guidance to recommend that residents wear masks “in some situations.” (April 4)
  • Governor Beshear signed an executive order that called for all Kentuckians returning from out-of-state to quarantine for 14 days. (April 2)
  • Governor Beshear signed an executive order instructing Kentuckians to not travel to another state unless required for work, to get groceries and medicine, to receive medical care, to provide care for a loved one, or if required by court order. The order also specified that Kentuckians traveling from out-of-state must self-quarantine for 14 days upon re-entering the state. (March 30)
  • Governor Beshear asked mayors and county judge-executives to monitor public places, such as parks, to enforce social-distancing guidelines. (March 26)
  • Governor Beshear signed an executive order banning all “mass gatherings,” which the state defines as “any event or convening that brings together groups of individuals, including, but not limited to, community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based, or sporting events; parades; concerts; festivals; conventions; fundraisers; and similar activities.” (March 19)

Delivery Services:

  • Governor Beshear’s office announced that a new Absentee Ballot Application Portal has launched. All Kentucky voters may request a mail-in ballot for the June primary elections. (May 22)
  • The Kentucky legislature has passed a bill that would allow Kentuckians to receive alcoholic beverages shipped directly to their homes. (March 27)
  • Restaurants that hold a liquor license and who are currently running food deliveries may deliver sealed alcoholic beverages, not in bulk quantities, in their original packaging. (March 19)
  • Governor Beshear has directed restaurants and bars to close and urged citizens to order take-out and support local businesses. (March 16)

SCHOOL CLOSURES

K-12:

  • Governor Beshear announced that he recommended to Kentucky education leaders that all schools close for the remainder of the school year. (April 20)
  • Governor Beshear reportedly announced that he planned to extend Kentucky public school closings until at least May 1. (April 2)
  • Kentucky Educational Television has announced that it will change its daytime schedule to specifically tailor programming to K-12 students participating in at-home learning. (March 27)
  • The Kentucky Department of Education has canceled K-PREP testing for the 2019-2020 school year. (March 24)
  • The USDA approved Kentucky’s waiver to serve school meals during non-traditional instruction days. (March 14)
  • Governor Beshear recommended all public and private schools suspend in-person classes starting on March 16. (March 12)
  • Kentucky Interim Education Commissioner Kevin Brown announced that districts may take part in the Kentucky Department of Education’s Non-Traditional Instruction Program and has said he is “asking the Kentucky Board of Education to consider a blanket statewide waiver for all districts to utilize NTI instruction even if those districts were not approved prior to this school year.” (March 12)

State Higher Education:

  • Kentucky State University has suspended in-person classes until April 13 and students will complete remote learning starting March 23, the University of Kentucky will hold online classes from March 23 to April 3, and the University of Louisville will hold remote classes from March 18 to April 5. (March 20)

Produced by Marathon Strategies, an independent PR firm that delivers intelligent communications and research solutions. For information, email Phil Singer at COVID-19@marathonstrategies.com