Health Kentucky Politics

Governor Andy Beshear described Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s court motion to overturn all executive orders related to coronavirus “truly frightening,” during a news conference Thursday.

Cameron, a Republican, requested the Boone County Circuit Court to temporarily stop the government from issuing new executive orders related to the coronavirus pandemic, and enforcing current ones. He claimed Democrat Beshear had exceeded his powers as governor. Beshear’s counsel has moved to dismiss Cameron’s motion.

Beshear said his orders range from mandating masks to requiring businesses to sanitize their facilities.

“That’s terrifying, in the middle of a worldwide health pandemic,” Beshear said of Cameron’s effort. “And it would mean we would fail. And it means people would die.”

As attorney general, Beshear clashed with the Republican governor he served under, Matt Bevin. He said Thursday that’s not the kind of relationship he wanted with his attorney general. But he said he would “fight every day for the lives of Kentuckians.”

He criticized Cameron’s move as “irresponsible.”

“Don’t play politics with the lives of people,” he said.

Earlier, Cameron said his action was not about policy, but about making sure the governor follows the law.

Beshear said that without rules, he could not see sending kids back to in-person school. From there, he said, they would go home and elsewhere and further spread coronavirus.

Among the 413 new confirmed cases announced Thursday, there were 13 under the age of five, including two infants, Beshear said. That’s the highest that figure has been in a single day so far.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Kentucky to date is 21,083. With more than 507,197 tested so far, that puts the state’s positivity rate — a measure of how many results are positive, compared to the total number of tests — at 4.38%. He said that was up from around 2% three weeks ago. The World Health Organization recommends keeping the positivity rate under 5%.

He also reported an additional five deaths, for a total of 650. He warned that as cases rise, deaths would follow.

Beshear also said nearly every testing site in Jefferson County is at capacity. He said the state is working to expand capacity by sending more testing kits to major localities.

Amina Elahi is WFPL's City Reporter.