Health Kentucky Politics

Gov. Andy Beshear has appointed Cookie Crews to lead the state’s Department of Corrections (DOC) as commissioner. A 36-year veteran of the department, Crews has led the department’s health services division for the last eight years.

“So at a time when we’re dealing with COVID-19, this is where our commissioner comes from — eight years in dealing with health in these facilities,” Beshear said.

Crews will replace Randy White, who has served as acting commissioner since February.

The DOC has struggled to contain an outbreak at the Green River Correctional Facility, where 356 inmates and 50 staff have tested positive for the coronavirus. Two inmates have died. 

“I realize this is a difficult time for incarcerated men and women, their loved ones and our staff,” Crews said in a recorded statement aired during Beshear’s Wednesday briefing. “We are working hard every day to minimize the health risks, and I promise those efforts will continue.”

Child Comes Off Ventilator

The 10-year-old who has been hospitalized with a rare COVID-related pediatric condition has recovered enough to be taken off a ventilator, according to Beshear.

“That is just a really good step,” Beshear said during his daily briefing.

The 10 year old is one of two Kentucky children who have been diagnosed with a rare but serious inflammatory condition caused by the coronavirus. A 16-year-old is also in the hospital with the condition.

Concerns About Bowling Green

Public health officials continued to be concerned about an outbreak in Bowling Green and Warren County. Kentucky public health commissioner Steven Stack said a total of 708 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Bowling Green, the second-highest number of any city in the state, after Louisville.

“This is not the common cold, this is a bad actor,” Stack warned. “When it sets up in a community and it starts to take hold, hospitals can get overrun.”

Stack said state officials are coordinating with the local health department and hospitals in Bowling Green to get resources in place.

Statewide, Kentucky saw 277 new cases Wednesday, bringing the state’s total confirmed positive cases to 7,080. More than 117,000 people have been tested, an increase of around 7,000 tests from Tuesday. New testing sites are opening at Kroger stores in Mayfield, Richmond, Louisville and Ohio County.

Five more Kentuckians have died of the disease, bringing the state’s death toll from COVID-19 to 326 people. Black Kentuckians are still dying at disproportionate rates. While Black people make up just 8 percent of Kentucky’s population, 19 percent of those who have died were Black.

Beshear Weighs In On Shooting Of Breonna Taylor

Asked about the fatal shooting of Louisville EMS worker Breonna Taylor by Louisville Metro Police (LMPD), Gov. Beshear said he is calling for state and federal review of the internal investigation.

“What I’ve asked is when that preliminary investigation is done, that it be reviewed by the Commonwealth Attorney, the Kentucky Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney,” he said.

“The facts are what the family deserves, and it’s what the public deserves. The absolute truth,” he said.

LPMD officers shot and killed 26 year old Taylor while serving a “no-knock” warrant in her home in mid-March.

Jess Clark is WFPL's Education and Learning Reporter.