A new order by Gov. Andy Beshear forbids Kentuckians from leaving the state, in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
At the governor’s daily press briefing on Monday, Chief of Staff La Tasha Buckner said the new rule would permit residents to leave Kentucky only for work, necessary supplies, to see a doctor or take care of a family member, or if travel is required by a court. Beshear said law enforcement or county judges could enforce the order, but its effectiveness relies on Kentuckians.
“The reality is, the only way that we’re going to get people doing the right thing is because they agree to — is because they see it as their duty, and they know that their actions can harm other people,” Beshear said. “The moment that you go across the border […] and you have that extra contact, you can bring it back to a person in your family that’s working in a nursing home.”
Kentuckians who do travel out of the state for a non-approved reason will need to self-quarantine for two weeks when they return.
Beshear announced that there were 42 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in Kentucky, as of Monday. Two more people have died from the virus — an 88-year-old woman from Kenton County, and a 90-year-old woman from Simpson county. That brings the state’s total to 480 confirmed cases, and 11 deaths.
The new cases announced on Monday include a staffer and a resident at a Campbell County nursing home, where Beshear said four other people are being tested. The resident has been hospitalized.
Patients of Kentucky’s troubled nursing homes could be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19; people age 65 and older or with underlying health conditions are at high risk for severe illness caused by the virus. An outbreak of coronavirus at the Life Care Center nursing home in Kirkland, Washington led to 35 deaths.
Beshear repeated his warning that the coming weeks are crucial to stopping the spread of the virus, and said the number of confirmed cases in Kentucky could peak in early May.
Correction: This article has been amended to clarify that Kentuckians traveling out of state for approved reasons aren’t subject to the 2-week self-quarantine requirement.