Health

Kentucky has its first confirmed case of COVID-19, caused by the coronavirus, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Friday. Beshear declared a state of emergency “so we can have every tool that we will need to address this issue,” he said in a press conference. 

Beshear said the patient is in Lexington and is being treated in isolation at a hospital. He declined to provide other details, saying more information would be shared once epidemiologists learned more. 

He said there have been 10 people tested, and this is the first positive. About 100 Kentuckians have been asked to self-quarantine, he said, and almost all have been cleared. 

“To our Kentucky families that are nervous, this is what we’ve been preparing for,” Beshear said. “There is no need to worry.”

Dr. Steven Stack, the commissioner of the Department of Public Health, said state epidemiologists are currently doing contact tracing to figure out who may have been in contact with the patient and what community response will be required. 

“Still, Kentuckians remain at very low risk” for being infected with coronavirus, said Stack.

Beshear said the state’s poison control hotline has been re-purposed to become the COVID-19 hotline. Concerned Kentuckians can call 1-800-222-1222 for more information. The state has also created a website, KYCOVID19.ky.gov, to provide updated data on coronavirus in Kentucky. 

He said the best thing to do is practice good hygiene and stay home if you’re sick, but there is no reason to disrupt everyday life. 

More information will come to light over the weekend and early next week, he said. 

“This is new and moving fast,” Beshear said. “We want to make sure we never under-respond.” 

Indiana confirmed a case Friday in Indianapolis, and Tennessee and Illinois have also confirmed cases. 

This is a developing story. Stay tuned for updates

Eleanor Klibanoff covered Rust Belt decline and revival in Pennsylvania. She also worked for NPR and attended the George Washington University.