Health

Officials say they plan to test 100% of residents and staff in the roughly 300 nursing homes across Kentucky as the state tries to ramp up testing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Though Kentucky has banned visits at nursing homes since March 10, the virus has spread in several of the state’s 286 long-term care facilities. The elderly are especially vulnerable to the virus.

Eric Friedlander, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said the state has already tested about 10% of residents and that it would likely take two months to test everyone.

“Those tests are of no charge to the facility, of no charge to the residents, of no charge to the staff. So that folks can feel like they can and should get tested,” Friedlander said.

Gov. Andy Beshear expanded the schedule of businesses and activities that will be allowed to resume in the coming weeks during the coronavirus pandemic.

Government offices and agencies will be able to reopen at 33 percent of occupational capacity on May 18.

Funerals will be allowed to take place on May 20, the same day that in-person religious services will be allowed to resume. Both funeral homes and houses of worship will be required to sanitize surfaces, enforce social distancing and only have up to 33% capacity.

Acupuncturists, massage therapists and tattoo parlors will be allowed to reopen on May 25, the same day that cosmetologists, hair stylists and barbers will be allowed to reopen.

The full list of businesses scheduled to reopen and requirements to do so can be found here.

Beshear urged businesses to be cautious and for people to not pressure businesses to reopen.

“Not everybody should go back, start back on the day that they can. Just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should,” Beshear said. “We’ve got to give people the space and the time to make sure they can do it, and do it well.”

Beshear announced 176 new coronavirus cases in Kentucky on Friday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 6,288. Four more people died, for a total of 298.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.