Health

Gov. Andy Beshear announced that Kentucky has surpassed 3,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, and says the state is still likely in the “plateau” of the pandemic.

Beshear announced 102 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, bringing the state’s total to 3,050. He also reported 6 new deaths, for a total of 154.

The number is far lower than Sunday’s record high 273 cases, but Beshear said today’s number is likely higher due to some labs that process results being closed over the weekend.

Beshear said he thinks Kentucky is flattening the curve of new cases, but the state still hasn’t shown the decline of cases required to ease business closures and other restrictions.

“If we are there, that’s great,” Beshear said. “But remember what the White House has said, and what we know: we need two weeks of going down.”

Last week, Beshear announced 7 benchmarks that the state will use to determine when to ease restrictions that have closed much of Kentucky’s economy.

The metrics fall largely in line with what President Donald Trump’s administration has recommended–that states should only open up once they’ve shown a decline in cases for 14 consecutive days and once testing and personal protective equipment are widespread.

On Monday, Beshear also recommended that Kentucky schools continue remote instruction and not reopen to in-person classes this school year.

Beshear said the news will be especially hard on seniors looking forward to graduation and prom.

“It’s not fair. If you’re watching, it’s not,” Beshear said. “A worldwide pandemic has hit us. Those of us missing out on these opportunities, we need your help. We need your sacrifice”

Also during Beshear’s daily update, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman announced that Kentucky’s unemployment benefits system has received twice as many claims since March 8 as it did in all of 2019.

Coleman, who also works as the secretary of the state’s Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, said Kentucky’s unemployment call center has expanded by more than 1,000 people to process the record number of requests.

The call center is now processing 25,000 calls per day, up from 1,200 two weeks ago.

Coleman said the state has “turned a corner” being able to handle more calls, but “it is not enough until every Kentuckian has what they need.”

Coleman also asked people who have applied for unemployment insurance not to reapply or open another claim, because it will lead to delayed payments.

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