WFPL News reporters will be updating this story whenever we have new information about the coronavirus in Kentucky and Indiana. Scroll down for older information.
Here’s what you need to know right now:
- There are 680 people with positive coronavirus tests in Kentucky as of Wednesday evening. 20 people have died as a result of the coronavirus.
- There are 228 cases in Jefferson County as of Wednesday afternoon. Eight people have died.
- There are 2,565 people with positive coronavirus tests in Indiana; 65 people have died as of Wednesday morning.
- The U.S. had 186,101 positive cases as of noon on Wednesday. The death toll in the U.S. stands at about 3,603.
- If you live in Kentucky and believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, call the Kentucky COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-722-5725. In Indiana, call the ISDH Epidemiology Resource Center at 317-233-7125.
- Visit our resource page for help finding meals, internet access for students, and how to apply for unemployment, small business loans, Medicaid, SNAP, and other assistance programs.
- If you’re having a mental health emergency, you can call Centerstone’s 24-hour Crisis Hotline at (502) 589-4313. You can also reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-TALK (8255), or chat with them online.
Wednesday, April 1
7:23 p.m.: Gov. Andy Beshear said he’s frustrated that Kentucky is struggling to compete with the federal government in buying up the country’s limited supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), like face-masks.
“I know that every day that we can’t get it [PPE] we are putting people’s safety on the line. Yes, it is a major problem,” he said during his daily briefing.
Beshear said the state has made progress in increasing the number of hospital beds and ventilators. He said he expects agreements to temporarily convert two hotels into hospitals will add 8,000 beds to the state’s existing 18,000. He also expects the state to get an additional 71 ventilators to add to the state’s 1,352 – short of his goal to double the number of the critical devices.
Beshear announced 93 new cases of coronavirus today, and two new deaths: a 60-year-old man from Daviess County, and a 76-year-old woman from Hopkins County. Beshear said although Louisville announced one death today, the state hadn’t yet confirmed it. He said Kentucky has a total of 20 deaths. As of Wednesday evening, Kentucky has 680 confirmed cases of the disease.
While trying to prepare for an influx of patients, state officials say they’re also working to address a huge backlog of unemployment insurance claims. Beshear said he has heard the reports about long wait times and problems with the website.
“We haven’t been able to move fast enough. It’s unprecedented times. It’s an amount of claims that we’ve never seen before,” he said. “But you know what, it’s our job to fix it.”
Officials say they’ve updated the website and are trying to hire more people to work the phones. The state is asking those seeking unemployment insurance to use the online application to file and check claims if possible, and save the phone lines for people who have a disability or who are having technical issues with the website.
5:13 p.m.: Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Louisville is up to 228, from 206 on Tuesday. An additional person died, making the city’s total coronavirus-related fatalities eight. Fischer said a new report from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington predicts Kentucky will hit its coronavirus peak in mid-May. “There is a brutal reality to this. And part of what we have to do as a community is obviously keep the spread from happening, but we also have to prepare ourselves for potentially what could be happening in terms of fatalities from this COVID-19 virus,” he said. The University of Washington tool predicts Kentucky could have 815 deaths by early August. Fischer said Louisville could experience 150 to 200 deaths in that time period based on its proportion of the state’s population. — Amina Elahi
3:32 p.m.: Metro Council member Marilyn Parker (R-18) is in self-quarantine following exposure to a person who subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. Parker is a registered nurse in Louisville who said she cared for a patient who was later diagnosed.
A press release from the council’s minority caucus said Parker has some coronavirus symptoms but has not yet been tested. A representative did not immediately respond to emailed questions.
“As a Metro Council representative, I had already moved my daily activities away from City Hall and have been working through digital communications with my colleagues. I will continue working to serve my constituents and get results for the people of this community despite these challenges,” Parker said, according to the press release.
She is the second council member known to have been exposed to coronavirus. Over the weekend, Paula McCraney (D-7) was diagnosed with COVID-19 and hospitalized. — Amina Elahi
3:20 p.m.: Renters make up 33 percent of Kentucky’s households — and despite the pandemic, the rent is due. Today, the Supreme Court issued a new order stopping landlords from filing eviction cases until at least mid-May. But what does this mean practically for renters? Jacob Ryan explains.
12:55 p.m.: Jefferson County Public Schools still has about 12,000 Chromebooks available for JCPS families who need a computer. The district has collected 25,000 existing Chromebooks from classrooms across the district, sanitized them, and boxed them up to ship to JCPS families who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, or families of special education students. Families have already claimed about 13,000 of them. The district is extending the deadline for families to request a Chromebook to Thursday at 5 p.m. Families eligible to receive a Chromebook should have received an email with a link to make the request. You can also call 502-313-HELP. Wait times for that line are about 5 minutes due to a large volume of calls. Interpretation is available.
Families of students receiving special education can also request a WiFi hotspot with 3 months of unlimited data. Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Marty Pollio said the district has purchased 6,000 hotspots from T-Mobile, at a cost of $871,200. He expects the district could be reimbursed for most of those costs by private foundations and the federal government.
“All the guidance we’ve gotten from [The Kentucky Department of Education] on [Exceptional Child Education], and special education services is about how important it is to have the connectivity and the device,” Pollio said.
Pollio said he’d like to get more hotspots, but there is a national shortage as districts across the country are buying them up.
The district does not know how many students are without adequate internet access or a device, both of which are necessary to access the digital version of JCPS’ remote instruction plan, or nontraditional instruction (NTI). NTI begins April 7 for JCPS students.
Pollio said district survey’s show the vast majority of JCPS students have at the very least a smartphone.
“What we don’t know is how many have limited data or enough Wifi capability to have this online instruction,” he said.
Spectrum is providing 60 days free WiFi to homes of K-12 students, college students and teachers who were previously without access. AT&T is providing two months of free service to families who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch.
The district will also be providing paper materials to families at meal sites, if they are unable to get internet access or a device. — Jess Clark
12:47 p.m.: A Louisville metro corrections officer has tested positive for the coronavirus. Here’s the statement from metro government:
A Louisville Metro Department of Corrections officer has a confirmed case of the COVID-19 virus. The officer last worked a shift on Tuesday, March 24 and, after experiencing symptoms, was tested by the officers’s physician on March 25. The employee was notified today that the test was positive. The officer continues self-isolating at home. Metro Corrections is in communication with Louisville Metro Health & Wellness and is working to identify and notify individuals who worked with the officer recently. The department also is cleaning and sanitizing the officer’s work area.
10:14 a.m.: New numbers this morning from Indiana: There are now 2,565 people with positive coronavirus tests in the state, and 65 people have died from COVID-19.
9:45 a.m.: Yesterday marked sharp increases in the number of people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 in both Indiana and Kentucky.
Here’s a look at where we stand:
And so it’s clearer, here’s the same case data with the testing data omitted:
And here’s the current count of deaths related to the virus in Kentucky and Indiana:
Tuesday, March 31
7:42 p.m.: An employee at GE Appliance Park in Louisville has a probable but unconfirmed case of coronavirus. According to a release from the company, the employee is under quarantine, and the company is notifying anyone who was in close contact with the worker, and asking them to stay at home.
GE Appliance Park just reopened yesterday after having been closed for a week to implement safety measures and deep clean the facility. On March 28, employees held a protest asking for hazard pay and other accommodations. When they returned to work on March 30, some said they still did not feel safe at work.
Now the company says Building Three at the appliance park will close for 48 hours while high traffic areas are cleaned. According to the release, no work will be performed “in the affected area of the building” for the next 14 days.
GE did not name the affected employee. In a letter to union members on March 31, IUE-CWA Local 83761 President Dino Driskell said he was in quarantine awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test. Driskell said he had been coughing for a few days and running a fever since the day before.
5:55 p.m.: Gov. Andy Beshear announced a “tough day for us on just about every metric” during his briefing. Kentucky had 114 new positive cases and seven deaths Tuesday, the largest single-day increase in cases and the highest death toll yet. “We knew this was coming,” Beshear said. “There will be days where we have more than 114 new cases and days where we have more than six new deaths. We are prepared for this.” One additional death, a Campbell County resident in their 80’s, was announced in the middle of the press conference.
Beshear announced that grocery store workers would now be able to send their children to the state-run child care centers that are currently serving the children of first responders and healthcare providers. Additionally, retired police officers, firefighters, EMS responders and corrections officers can be hired back with no penalty to their retirement.
He said the state was going to be piloting a drive-thru testing model in Franklin County starting Wednesday as a “proof of concept.” And he chided county fiscal courts for having in-person meetings, encouraging them to instead meet virtually in a way that allowed the public to attend and participate.
5:30 p.m.: Mayor Greg Fischer said Louisville’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is 206 as of Tuesday, an increase of 43 from Monday. He also announced there were three new deaths related to the coronavirus, plus one from March 23 that officials now know was also linked to the virus. Dr. Sarah Moyer with the city’s health department said all of those who passed away were in high-risk categories, meaning they were over 60 or had chronic medical conditions.
Fischer said the community is doing well overall with social distancing. He said he wants the community to police itself rather than have to issue a stay at home order for the city. He has already directed Louisville residents to remain indoors except for work, essential business and exercise. “That’s about as far as we can take this without the next steps being, you know, a curfew or other restrictive measures, which we really don’t want to do,” he said. “Our community should be good enough to come together to figure this out by ourselves so we’re going to give that a couple more days and see how it goes.”
The mayor also announced a new program to help small businesses with fewer than 10 employees. The small business continuity loan program will offer up to $25,000 for 12 months to businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 emergency. The program has a $900,000 fund for the zero-interest loans. More details and how to apply are available here. —Amina Elahi
1:25 p.m.: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial distracted the federal government from paying attention to the novel coronavirus as it reached the United States in January. The Kentucky Republican told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday that the deadly virus “came up while we were tied down on the impeachment trial.” McConnell said impeachment “diverted the attention of the government.” The Trump administration has been severely criticized for its slow response to the spreading pandemic, especially the shortage of coronavirus testing kits when the infection first spread to the U.S. from China. Trump initially downplayed the crisis, comparing it to the seasonal flu. —Associated Press
10:18 a.m.: The Indiana State Department of Health announced an additional 14 deaths related to the coronavirus, bringing the total up to 49 as of Tuesday. The number of confirmed cases grew by 373 to 2,159, and state health officials say 13,373 people have been tested to date.
Here’s the current confirmed cases and testing, in graph form:
And here’s a look just at confirmed cases:
8:15 a.m.: As coronavirus cases continue their surge in Kentucky, nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable. Yesterday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced the first confirmed cases in nursing homes in the state.
In Louisville, one family has been visiting their mother in a nursing home regularly…but they can’t go in. They stand outside, looking at her through the glass. Here’s more.
Monday, March 30
10:59 p.m.: Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has signed legislation offering relief to workers and employers suffering economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic. The bill was put on the fast track by lawmakers. It comes as the state deals with rising numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths linked to the illness. The governor thanked the legislature for its quick action. Beshear said the legislation codifies many actions already taken by his administration. The measure includes relaxing access to unemployment insurance. It also prevents a business owner’s unemployment insurance rate from being impacted by layoffs due to the virus. — Associated Press
7:22 p.m.: Governor Andy Beshear issued a new executive order on Monday limiting travel from Kentucky.
Chief of Staff La Tasha Buckner said the order will not apply to residents who must leave the state for work, court, necessary supplies, or the health care needs of themselves or family members.
“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,” Beshear said during his daily briefing.
Beshear also announced that a staff person and a resident at a Campbell County nursing home contracted COVID-19 — the first confirmed case in a Kentucky nursing home since the virus spread here. Beshear said the resident is hospitalized, and four other people at the nursing home are being tested.
The governor also announced on Monday that two more people in Kentucky have died of the coronavirus: An 88-year-old Kenton County woman and a 90-year-old woman from Simpson County. That, along with 42 new cases, brings the state’s total to 11 deaths and 480 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Beshear said cases of coronavirus are expected to peak in Kentucky this May.
5:32 p.m.: There are now a total of 163 confirmed coronavirus cases in Jefferson County, Mayor Greg Fischer said as he continued urging Louisville residents to stay at home. He also said 32 COVID-19 patients had been discharged from the hospital, while another 35 are now without symptoms. “Everybody’s behavior should be changed by the COVID-19 world…through our actions,” he said. “Everybody please, stay home, stay home, stay home. As much as you possibly can, stay home.”
Dr. Lori Caloia, medical director at Louisville Department of Public Health and Wellness, described during the mayor’s briefing how the city will approach cases at this stage. Each person who tests positive will still undergo a dedicated case investigation, which will include lots of questions about symptoms, and the health department will continue to monitor those people. But with the number of cases increasing, she said contact tracing — the process of identifying everyone a COVID-19 patient interacted with — will be cut back.”We will be asking those individuals who are infected to notify their close contacts themselves,” Caloia said, citing limited resources. The city will take care of this for those who are hospitalized or otherwise unable to alert their contacts themselves. She said anyone who has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should continue with the recommendation of self-quarantining at home for 14 days, monitoring symptoms and contacting their healthcare provider. — Amina Elahi
2:41 p.m.: Arrests and citations by Louisville police have dropped following measures that limited police interactions with people amid the global pandemic.
The Louisville Metro Police Department’s weekly crime trend report found that citations the week of March 15 decreased by 56% when compared to the previous week. Arrests decreased by 39%.
The drop follows special orders issued on March 16 from LMPD Chief Steve Conrad to forward calls for non-violent offenses and hit-and-runs to the LMPD Service Center. The order is meant to limit in-person interaction between police and residents in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.
LMPD and other public safety workers in Louisville get high priority for protection from COVID-19 — they fall in the second tier for distribution of personal protective equipment behind hospitals and EMS workers.
There have been 439 people with confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Kentucky, and a third of them are in Jefferson County. Mayor Greg Fischer announced that an LMPD police officer is among 14 new cases reported in Louisville Sunday. — Kyeland Jackson
1:45 p.m.: Norton Healthcare executives said the hospital system is still adequately staffed after 45 employees have tested positive for the COVID-19 disease and about 280 others are on paid furlough after showing symptoms.
The executives would not say specifically where those employees worked. During a virtual press conference Monday, Steven Hester, Norton’s chief medical officer, said the employees worked “across the system.”
The Norton Healthcare system includes 16,000 employees at five hospitals, seven outpatient centers and more than a dozen immediate care centers and hundreds of clinics, according to information on the nonprofit’s website. Read more here.
12:11 p.m.: State health officials say three more people have died in Indiana from coronavirus-related illnesses, increasing the state’s virus death toll to 35.
The Indiana State Department of Health said Monday that Indiana’s number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 grew by 273 to 1,786. The state now has nearly seven times the number of confirmed cases as a week ago, while the number of deaths is five times greater. Two of the new deaths involved Indianapolis residents, while the other person who died was from southeastern Indiana’s Franklin County.
The state health commissioner said last week that Indiana’s peak of coronavirus illnesses is expected in mid- to late April. — Associated Press
Here’s the current confirmed cases and testing, in graph form:
And here’s a look just of confirmed cases:
9:45 a.m.: So far, Kentucky has tested about 6,000 people for COVID-19; as of Sunday night, 439 of those people tested positive for the coronavirus. But testing capacity is limited and per federal guidelines, only certain people even qualify. One researcher at the University of Louisville makes a case that it’s time for randomized testing: getting a large enough sample that it’s representative of the population. Here’s more.
Sunday, March 29
6:20 p.m.: Legendary songwriter John Prine has been diagnosed with coronavirus, according to a statement shared on his Twitter account.
Prine was hospitalized on Thursday, intubated on Saturday and remains in critical condition, according to the statement.
“This is hard news for us to share. But so many of you have loved and supported John over the years, we wanted to let you know, and give you the chance to send on more of that love and support now. And know that we love you, and John loves you.”
Born and raised in the Chicago area, Prine has become tightly associated with Kentucky because of his hit “Paradise,” a tribute to western Kentucky’s Muhlenberg County and struggles with the coal industry. Prine’s parents grew up in Kentucky and he grew up visiting the area.
Prine also recorded a version of “My Old Kentucky Home” in 2004 for the Beautiful Dreamer compilation, which won a Grammy in 2004.
Prine’s first album debuted in 1970 and he has released 13 albums total. His most recent, Tree of Forgiveness, was released in 2018.
Earlier this year, Prine canceled several international shows due to a hip injury.
6 p.m.: Gov. Andy Beshear says there were 45 new cases of coronavirus in Kentucky, bringing the state’s total to 439.
During an evening update Sunday, Beshear reported no new deaths associated with the disease, which has killed nine in Kentucky so far. The daily increase of cases is less than half of the increase reported yesterday — which was the largest to date at 92 — but Beshear said that the state and country are escalating right now.
“It’s going to continue. There are going to be days where we have more positive tests than we did yesterday, when we had ninety-something,” Beshear said.
4:30 p.m.: Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said that there are now 140 positive cases of coronavirus in the city, an increase of 14 since Saturday, though he said that “significantly understates” the total number of people infected because of a lack of testing.
“We’re not seeing the kind of explosion of new cases that’s happening in New York and other parts of the country because we’re not testing as much,” Fischer said during a video press conference Sunday afternoon.
“Hopefully the strategies that we’ve been employing at the state level and the city level and the personal level have been working.”
As of Saturday evening, there were 394 coronavirus cases across the entire state with more than 5,500 people tested.
In recent weeks, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has issued several orders restricting in-person traffic from non-essential businesses, schools and government buildings and has strongly advised against people gathering in groups to help prevent spread of the disease.
Fischer criticized people who flouted “social distancing” guidelines in Louisville over the weekend, including reports of people going to parties, drag racing and golfing.
Fischer said he would have to order the closure of public golf courses if people don’t properly distance themselves from others.
Basketball hoops and tennis nets have already been removed from public parks across the city.
“We’ve allowed golf courses to remain in operation because golf’s one of the few sports in which you can play and maintain six feet of separation,” Fischer said. “Please don’t put me in a position of having to shut our golf courses down too.”
Fischer also announced that an LMPD officer has tested positive and is being treated at a hospital. — Ryland Barton
4 p.m.: Kentucky will receive about $1.7 billion from from the federal government as part of the coronavirus relief bill signed into law on Friday, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
State government will receive about $1.6 billion and Louisville will receive an additional $134 million under a provision that gives extra funding to cities with populations over 500,000. It’s the only city in the state big enough to qualify. Read more.
11 a.m.: Meal sites have been offering service each weekday. But starting Monday, Mar. 30, they will go down to three days a week to reduce contact between staff and families.
Sites will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Monday and Wednesday, students can take extra meals to get through the off days in between. Read more on this and plans for remote instruction here.
Saturday, March 28
9:41 p.m.: NPR is reporting that a census worker at the Jeffersonville, Indiana field office has tested positive for COVID-19.
NPR has learned an employee at the site has tested positive for COVID-19. The bureau found out about the diagnosis on Friday, and the employee, who is now in quarantine, has not been at the facilities since March 17, Michael Cook, a spokesperson for the bureau, confirmed.
“We strongly encourage all employees to practice ‘social distancing’ to slow the spread of this coronavirus,” the bureau said in a message distributed to employees at the agency’s National Processing Center.
The building where the employee worked in Jeffersonville — which is located across the river from Louisville, Ky. — will receive a “deep cleaning,” according to the message, and employees have been advised not to enter it “until further notice.” Cook says “out of an abundance of caution,” the bureau canceled overtime work in Jeffersonville that was scheduled this weekend for the 2020 census.
6:51 p.m.: Paula McCraney, the Metro Council representative for District 7, found out Saturday she tested positive for COVID-19, making her the first Louisville lawmaker confirmed to have the coronavirus.
Council President David James (D-6), speaking on her behalf, said McCraney is hospitalized but recovering. He said she had been in self-quarantine for the past two weeks after believing she may have been exposed to coronavirus at an event. Here’s more.
5:13 p.m.: Gov. Andy Beshear announced there are 92 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in Kentucky, the largest single-day increase to date. That brings the state’s total to 394, with more than 5,500 people tested. Of the new cases, 23 are in Jefferson County for a total of 126. He said there were no new deaths related to COVID-19 to report today, but right after his news conference, the Northern Kentucky Health Department announced its first death: a Kenton County resident. — Amina Elahi
3:50 p.m.: GE Appliances is coming off a one-week shutdown at the company’s plant in Louisville, and workers protested going back to work at the site today. A big crowd of members of the local union (IUE-CWA Local 8376) drove cars and honked this afternoon, demanding the company continue the shutdown to protect workers’ health amidst the pandemic.
“While being ordered to go back to work on Monday, the company has no plan in place for workers needing to take care of children or family at home due to the shut downs, as well as plans for workers who need to be out for extended periods of time due to illness,” the union said in a press release.
12:25 p.m.: 21c Museum Hotels is temporarily closing all nine of its properties, including those in Louisville, Lexington and Cincinnati. In an email, founder Steve Wilson said the hotels, restaurants and art galleries would open as soon as it’s safe to do so.
“This is a day none of us could have imagined a month ago, and although it is heartbreaking in many ways, we know this is the best decision for the health and welfare of our guests, our teams and our communities,” Wilson wrote. “Temporarily closing our properties is the most important thing we can do to help slow the spread of Covid-19.”
11:18 a.m.: Indiana is now reporting 1,231 Hoosiers have tested positive for COVID-19. Thirty-one people in the state have died as a result of the virus.
9:00 a.m.: As of this morning, Indiana is reporting about three times as many people with positive coronavirus tests than Kentucky; the state’s population is about 1.5 times larger than Kentucky. Testing, however, is ramping up at both states. Here’s what that looks like:
But without the testing date, you can see the trajectory both state’s curves are taking:
This analysis from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a global health research center at the University of Washington, suggests Kentucky is showing some success in flattening the curve; it shows the outbreak will peak on April 29, and 585 people will die of COVID-19 in the commonwealth by August 4.
But in Indiana, the curve rises much more sharply. The analysis finds the state is facing a 1,973 hospital bed shortage. The virus will peak sooner — on April 14 — but in total 2,440 Hoosiers will die by August 4. Here’s the methodology researchers used.
Friday, March 27
7:00 p.m.: Gov. Andy Beshear said there are three new deaths related to coronavirus in Kentucky. During his 5:00 press briefing Friday Beshear announced the deaths of two people: one, a 75-year-old woman tested in Fayette County, and a 77-year-old man tested in Hopkins County. Later in the evening, Beshear tweeted about a third person who died from the illness:
Unfortunately we have had a third death today, bringing our total #COVID19 related deaths to 8. Today we lost a 73-year-old female from Jefferson Co. Our thoughts are with her family. ^AB
— Governor Andy Beshear (@GovAndyBeshear) March 27, 2020
During his press briefing earlier in the evening, Beshear announced 54 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in Kentucky, bringing the state’s total to 302. The governor urged Kentuckians living near the state’s southern border not to travel into Tennessee, where he said some bars and restaurants may still be open.
“I need you to not go to Tennessee for anything other than work, or helping a loved one, or maybe to the grocery,” Beshear said. “I cannot control that Tennessee has not taken the steps that we have,” Beshear said.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee ordered all bars and restaurants to close to in-person traffic for two weeks, starting Monday Mar. 23, a week after similar measures were taken in Kentucky.
As of Friday, Tennessee had more than 1,200 confirmed cases and six deaths, with higher concentrations of cases in counties bordering Kentucky. — Jess Clark
5:00 p.m.: President Trump has signed a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package into law. Here’s more from NPR.
4:57 p.m.: Thousands of inmates held in county jails have been released since the Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice issued an order last week effectively closing the courts, according to data provided by the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy.
The order to close the courts came in response to the spreading COVID-19 disease. In response to the order, the state’s public advocate, Damon Preston, called for defendants held on cash bail be released. On Friday, Preston praised his department’s efforts to secure the release of more than 3,200 inmates from county jails — marking a 28 percent reduction in the state’s county jail population.
Most of these inmates were on pretrial detainment or serving sentences for misdemeanor crimes, according to Preston. Here’s more.
4:15 p.m.: State officials shared new numbers on how many supplies they’ve gotten from the Strategic National Stockpile operated by the federal government. It’s not enough.
3:08 p.m.: State health officials say Indiana’s coronavirus cases have surged by more than 300 to nearly 1,000 statewide as seven more deaths were reported, bringing the state’s death toll to 24 amid the pandemic. The Indiana State Department of Health said Friday that the state’s number of confirmed case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, grew by 338 to 981 across Indiana, following corrections to the previous day’s total. State officials insisted Thursday that Hoosiers abide by Gov. Eric Holcomb’s stay-at-home order to rein in the coronavirus’ spread and not take advantage of its travel and work exemptions. Holcomb’s order took effect Wednesday. — Associated Press
12:55 p.m.: The Omni Louisville Hotel has closed temporarily, according to a statement from Peter Strebel, the president of Omni Hotels & Resorts. Strebel said the intent is to “reopen the hotel as quickly as possible,” but as of now, the hotel is closed through June 1, 2020. The hotel is “working diligently to minimize the impact” for employees, according to the statement, though Strebel did not provide specifics on how they would do so. According to a 2015 WFPL story, almost half of the funding to build the Omni came from city and state sources. — Eleanor Klibanoff
10:42 a.m.: Indiana has updated its statewide numbers for the day; there are 981 people in the state who have tested positive for COVID-19. That’s an increase of 336 over yesterday’s numbers. Twenty-four people have died from the virus; 7 since yesterday.
10:09 a.m.: President Donald Trump took to Twitter to publicly disparage Kentucky’s 4th district Congressman Thomas Massie, who has been threatening to delay a vote on a massive coronavirus relief package.
Looks like a third rate Grandstander named @RepThomasMassie, a Congressman from, unfortunately, a truly GREAT State, Kentucky, wants to vote against the new Save Our Workers Bill in Congress. He just wants the publicity. He can’t stop it, only delay, which is both dangerous……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020
“Looks like a third rate Grandstander named @RepThomasMassie, a Congressman from, unfortunately, a truly GREAT State, Kentucky, wants to vote against the new Save Our Workers Bill in Congress. He just wants the publicity. He can’t stop it, only delay, which is both dangerous & costly,” Trump tweeted.
“Workers & small businesses need money now in order to survive. Virus wasn’t their fault. It is ‘HELL’ dealing with the Dems, had to give up some stupid things in order to get the “big picture” done. 90% GREAT! WIN BACK HOUSE, but throw Massie out of Republican Party!”
Massie has publicly signaled he doesn’t approve the coronavirus bailout, expressing worries about its $2 trillion price tag and amount it would add to the national debt.
The House is scheduled to vote on the bailout today. Lawmakers initially hoped to approve the bill by voice vote — a method that would allow most members to stay at home amid the pandemic.
But Massie has threatened to raise an objection to the vote if a majority of House members don’t show up, which would delay the vote further.
Massie is a Republican from Lewis County in northern Kentucky. He is running for reelection this year and has a primary opponent: Todd McMurtry, an attorney who represented students at the center of the Covington Catholic High School controversy. — Ryland Barton
8:28 a.m.: And you thought your last move was tough. What was it like to move across the country in the midst of a pandemic? WFPL’s new Arts Reporter Stephanie Wolf says it involved a lot of disinfectant.
Here’s where the numbers stand as of this morning:
Thursday, March 26
8:46 p.m.: The Kentucky legislature has passed an emergency bill to expand unemployment benefits, allow the governor to waive several business and tax fees and expand telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic.
The measure also requires Gov. Andy Beshear to declare in writing when he decides to end Kentucky’s current state of emergency. If he has not done so by the start of the next legislative session, the measure allows the the legislature to end it.
The chief purpose of the bill is to provide relief to Kentucky workers and businesses bruised by the pandemic and ensuing restrictions that have closed down much of the state. Lawmakers also hope the measure will help prop up the state’s economy. By one estimate Kentucky could lose 67,000 jobs by June.
Here is some of what the bill will do:
- Extend unemployment benefits to self-employed workers and contractors, who were previously ineligible. Full-time workers who are knocked down to part-time would be eligible for unemployment as well.
- Waive the seven-day waiting period before a laid off worker can apply for unemployment and expand the look-back period for determining benefits.
- Allow restaurants to sell liquor by the drink with food takeout orders and sell grocery items to customers.
- Allow Gov. Beshear to waive several business fees and penalties. It extends the tax filing deadline to July 15, in conformity with the federal government.
- Ease privacy rules for health care providers, allowing them to be able to contact patients remotely instead of in person.
- Allow agencies and local governments to use conference call and video to conduct open meetings. It also extends the deadline an agency has to respond to an open records request from three to 10 days.
— Ryland Barton
6:37 p.m.: Kentucky recorded its largest jump in new positive coronavirus cases on Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced.
Beshear said the state now has at least 248 cases of the COVID-19 disease, that’s 50 new cases since the day before. He expects the total number of cases to surge in the next two to three weeks, but said he has no projections about the overall total number of people that will ultimately be infected.
As is common during the governor’s regular evening coronavirus briefings, he urged Kentuckians to practice social distancing and stay home, both efforts to help stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. He did not announce any new orders on Thursday, but warned people about gathering in public parks, playgrounds and campgrounds. County and city officials will be monitoring such areas, Beshear said, and will be shutting down public places if people continue to congregate.
Beshear expressed some disappointment that the state had not yet begun any drive-thru testing and said he expects to do so in the coming days.
State officials have spent about $8 million in the plight to tamp down the spreading virus, Beshear said. He said hundreds of people are working on efforts to obtain personal protective equipment, or PPE, for frontline health workers and first responders, but supplies are running thin.
“It is an ongoing, daily process,” he said.
Beshear said no state inmates have tested positive, but one off-site correctional staff member did.
He encouraged state lawmakers to give him the flexibility to issue restrictive orders and spend public money to fight the virus. That, he said, is critical.
“We need the flexibility to move very fast,” Beshear said. “There are no Democrats or Republicans, there is only Americans versus the coronavirus.”
Though Beshear said during his briefing that there was also a 90-year-old man in Perry County who was living in a nursing home who tested positive, he later said in a tweet that the man had eventually tested negative for the virus. — Jake Ryan
3:26 p.m.: Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says there are now 60 people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Jefferson County. Two days ago, there were 31. The city is taking additional action to try to limit social gatherings, including removing the rims and nets from city basketball courts and locking up soccer goals.
“To adults out there and everybody that has still not fully accepted the seriousness of this crisis, I would just say that it’s one thing to risk your own life and your own health, but this is a deadly and contagious disease,” Fischer said.
2:50 p.m.: Fort Campbell is reporting its first positive case of the coronavirus. The infected individual is a dependent of a military retiree at Fort Campbell, and is currently isolated at their home, which is outside the army post. Officials with Blanchfield Army Community Hospital are working to determine whether anyone else may have been exposed. While this is the first known case of COVID-19 at Fort Campbell, there are more than 200 tests pending. — Lisa Autry, WKU Public Radio
11:24 a.m.: Kentucky Attorney General on Thursday sent subpoenas to six third-party online retailers suspected of price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic. The attorney general announced the enforcement in a press release issued Thursday morning.
The retailers are accused of using Amazon’s online platform to sell emergency and medical supplies at sharply inflated prices, according to the release.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Amazon assisted his office in identifying the retailers. At least three were issued cease and desist orders as investigations continue.
The state’s attorney general had received 860 complaints of price gouging as of Monday. The current state issued order prohibiting the practice is the first since 2008 that’s not related to severe weather. — Jacob Ryan
10:22 a.m.: Federal unemployment data show a massive jump in claims in Kentucky and across the country last week. Unemployment claims in Kentucky numbered 48,847 for the week ending on March 21. Jobless claims the previous week were at 2,785.
These numbers will likely rise again, as the reporting period ended before the governor’s order closing all non-life sustaining businesses.
The Department of Labor is reporting almost 3.3 million unemployment claims filed nationwide during the same time period.
Here’s how to file for unemployment claims in Kentucky. Yesterday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced these benefits have been expanded to cover more people, including independent contractors and small businesses. — Jared Bennett
10:07 a.m.: Indiana is reporting an additional 168 people with positive COVID-19 tests this morning, bringing the state’s total to 645. Seventeen people have died from the virus.
8:36 a.m.: Both Kentucky and Indiana announced increases in people with confirmed COVID-19 testing yesterday, as testing ramps up. Here’s what the count looks like in both states as of this morning:
Indiana is reporting nearly three times as many deaths from COVID-19 as Kentucky; here’s what those numbers look like:
Wednesday, March 25
7:43 p.m.: The full Kentucky legislature will return to work tomorrow even though the general public has been barred from the Capitol during the coronavirus pandemic, and despite warnings about group gatherings spreading the disease.
Nine committees are scheduled to hear bills ranging from a measure expanding the attorney general’s power to enforce abortion regulations, to a bill allowing home delivery of alcohol.
Gov. Andy Beshear has called on lawmakers to quickly pass a budget and coronavirus-related bills, and today criticized them for taking up measures that might get people “worked up.”
“In the midst of a worldwide pandemic and statewide emergency in Kentucky, they need to pass a budget and go home,” Beshear said.
So far the legislature has ignored Beshear’s request while access to the Capitol is restricted to only lawmakers, essential staff and reporters. — Ryland Barton
6:35 p.m.: Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says the next two weeks are crucial in determining how far and how fast the coronavirus spreads in Kentucky. He called on Kentuckians to cut contacts with other people as much as possible to protect the state’s most vulnerable residents.
Beshear announced a fifth person has died from the virus in Kentucky; a 75-year-old man in Jefferson County.
In the next couple of days, he said additional law enforcement and the Kentucky National Guard will begin providing additional services at hospitals. The governor emphasized the National Guard will not be deployed to patrol neighborhoods, but to keep hospitals safe.
Unemployment benefits have been expanded to cover independent contractors, small businesses, workers in the gig economy, cosmetologists and other groups who have been affected by the state’s orders to cease business operations.
The state plans to open in its first drive-thru testing site next week, though Beshear said it will be for specific groups only, and will serve as a proof-of-concept for future testing sites.
Beshear also issued an executive order suspending evictions in the Commonwealth.
4:29 p.m.: A Republican state representative has filed a measure that would allow people and businesses to sue the governor if they feel emergency restrictions are unnecessary, too broad or last too long.
The legislation comes after Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, has ordered many businesses across the state to be shut down or closed to in-person traffic during the coronavirus pandemic.
Rep. Savannah Maddox, a Republican from Dry Ridge and the measure’s sponsor, said in an email that it would protect Kentucky workers and business owners from government overreach.
“Although the amendment does not interfere with the executive branch’s ability to issue executive orders pertaining to a state of emergency, it provides due remedy of law through a system of checks and balances designed to keep our government accountable for any action which is determined in a court of law to infringe upon civil liberty or unnecessarily restrict commerce,” Maddox wrote.
“My purpose in filing this amendment was not to criticize or undermine the Governor’s efforts, rather to ensure that any use of government force is appropriately balanced with the consent of the governed in accordance with our Constitutional rights.”
1:17 p.m.: Gov. Andy Beshear on Wednesday issued an executive order suspending the execution of eviction orders across Kentucky.
The move comes as the state struggles to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses and schools have closed and the governor has said in recent weeks that evictions should also cease.
But until now he’s yet to take formal action mandating such.
The governor’s order comes more than a week after the Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice issued an order postponing all eviction court cases. A Jefferson District Court judge followed suit and issued a separate order instructing the county sheriff from executing orders that had already made it through the court system.
In 2016, there were nearly 13,000 evictions in Kentucky, according to data compiled by Princeton University’s Eviction Lab. About a third of all households in the state rent, according to the data.
Beshear’s order does not relieve residents from their requirement to make rent or mortgage payments.
Wednesday’s order also lists a broad range of businesses that are considered “life-sustaining,” which are the only businesses presently allowed to operate. Those businesses include banks, gas stations, some professional services and more. — Jacob Ryan
11:12 a.m.: Later this afternoon, law enforcement officers will be stationed outside hospitals in Jefferson County, according to Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s spokeswoman Jean Porter.
“Governor Beshear earlier this week asked law enforcement and the National Guard in the state to have a presence at hospitals across the state, in preparation for them to get busier in coming days,” she said in an emailed statement. “Starting this afternoon, Louisville Metro Police and other local law enforcement officers will be stationed outside hospitals in Jefferson County.”
10:12 a.m.: Indiana now has 477 people with confirmed cases of COVID-19; that’s 112 additional positive tests since yesterday. Fourteen people have died from the virus in the state.
9:00 a.m.: The coronavirus pandemic has millions of children out of school across the country, and the world. Parents are stressed, and kids are too. But they’re finding ways to make it work. Listen to how a nine-year-old sees the situation here; we’ll also discuss how the pandemic is affecting children, youth and families on a special episode of In Conversation today at noon. You can listen here or on 89.3 FM.
Tuesday, March 24
6:25 p.m.: Gov. Andy Beshear announced that all non-life sustaining businesses in Kentucky will close to in-person traffic on Thursday. He said an executive order enforcing the closure will go into effect at 8 p.m that day.
Details specifying what businesses are life-sustaining will be released tomorrow, but Beshear said grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and gas stations are among those that will remain open.
The order is one of many that have temporarily shuttered some Kentucky businesses. Beshear ordered non-essential retail stores to close their doors to in-person business on March 23. An earlier order closed “public-facing” businesses like gyms and hair salons. Restaurants can continue to offer take-out, delivery or curbside service but dining rooms remain closed.
Beshear said the state is putting lives ahead of the economy — and residents must prepare to wait “however long it takes” before business and life returns to normal.
Thirty-nine new cases of coronavirus in Kentucky were confirmed today, marking the sharpest increase in cases across the commonwealth and bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 163. Beshear said he believes four people have fully recovered, and four people have died as a result of COVID-19 in Kentucky. — Kyeland Jackson
4:41 p.m.: Mayor Greg Fischer has signed an executive order, extending Louisville Metro’s state of emergency through May 10. In an update Tuesday afternoon, Fischer said in addition to the extension, he’s closing additional facilities.
Effective today at 5 p.m., the following goes into effect:
- All Metro Park playgrounds, soccer fields and basketball courts are closed;
- All portable toilets in the parks will be closed and removed;
- The campgrounds at Jefferson Memorial Forest will be closed;
- All dog parks for dogs to run without leashes are closed.
Fischer said that group activities like soccer, basketball, tennis, pickleball or “any activity that promotes congregation” in parks are strongly discouraged. He said Metro Parks will continue to clean all open, permanent restrooms, pick up trash and mow grass. Golf courses will stay open, as long as they are abiding by the clubhouse coronavirus protocol.
Fischer says there are now 34 people with positive tests for coronavirus in Jefferson County; one is a Louisville fire fighter. He says some fire fighters will be quarantined as a result. — Erica Peterson
4:22 p.m.: Some employees at Chewy and Spectrum’s Louisville-based call centers will be allowed to work from home, in an effort to create social distance between the remaining employees.
Both companies have been the subject of complaints filed to city health officials, and scrutiny in the media, including KyCIR. Here’s more.
3:59 p.m.: A team of researchers including a mathematician from the University of Louisville are poring over the numbers trying to estimate how far the coronavirus will spread in states like Kentucky.
“If you know what is the worst case, what is the best case, then you know how to prepare for it,” said Dan Han, University of Louisville associate professor with a doctorate in applied mathematics.
As of Wednesday, 124 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Kentucky with 32 of those cases coming from Jefferson County. Here are Han’s estimations for the next month:
- 7 days: 68
- 15 days: 107
- 30 days: 232
- 7 days: 394
- 15 days: 635
- 30 days: 1,354
The researchers’ model assumed that the number of confirmed cases in Kentucky will peak after 150 days: on Thursday, August 20.
3:00 p.m.: Louisville city officials announced today that a firefighter has tested positive for the coronavirus.
According to a press release, the firefighter wasn’t symptomatic during his last shift on Friday, but began displaying symptoms at home on Sunday. The firefighter was tested Monday due to his job as a first responder, according to the release. The firefighter is self-isolating in his home.
City officials noted that each firefighter has vitals checked three times during a 24-hour shift, and anyone with a fever of more than 100 degrees, or other symptoms, is sent home. — Kate Howard
2:15 p.m.: Cancelled rooms and events in response to the spreading coronavirus are now estimated to have caused $94.6 million in losses for Louisville’s tourism industry.
Business leaders and tourism officials discussed the growing impact of the coronavirus in a conference call Tuesday morning. Some pitched ideas to mitigate the financial impact of the virus. Others proposed events that bring business back after the virus runs its course.
Zack Davis, the Vice President of Destination Services for Louisville Tourism, said they expect area hotels to have single-digit occupancy rates from April through June. Louisville Tourism is going to encourage more collaboration between businesses and will plan advertising leading up to when things return to normal so that they can bring in a lot of business immediately, Davis said.
Louisville Tourism President and CEO Karen Williams last provided an update on the economic impact of the coronavirus on March 12, saying that cancelled events at that point had cost the city $57.6 million. Some Airbnb businesses have lost big because of the virus, with one manager in Louisville losing around $200,000 within a week. — Kyeland Jackson
1:23 p.m.: A new data-driven analysis of how well states are doing with social distancing gives both Kentucky and Indiana a “B” grade.
The interactive tool by tech company Unacast uses smart phone data to detect how far people are traveling. It then calculates changes in the distance traveled.
Unacast’s data shows that in both Indiana and Kentucky, residents have reduced their average distance traveled by 34 percent. Jefferson County did even better, reducing average distance traveled by 42 percent.
In a blog post, Unacast CEO Thomas Walle wrote the company intends to make several data tools available to help experts deal with the ongoing pandemic.
“The first toolkit element, live today, is a new Social Distancing Scoreboard, which we are making available to help raise awareness of and reinforce the importance of social distancing,” Walle wrote. “We also believe it will not only help make sense of what’s happening now, but unearth trends that will help project scenarios in the short- and mid-term future.”
12:15 p.m.: The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office is “all hands on deck” to investigate more than 800 price-gouging complaints so far. But the office hasn’t released any details yet on the complaints. Read the whole story here.
11:12 a.m.: The weeks of standardized tests Kentucky schools spend all year preparing are being canceled. The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) says the federal government will grant the state’s request to cancel testing for the 2019-2020 school year because of closures and other challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Kentucky Department of Education has been informed by the U.S. Department of Education that we meet the requirements for the waiver of assessment & accountability for the 2019-20 school year and that formal approval is forthcoming. As a result, we are canceling the administration of 2020 K-PREP,” KDE spokeswoman Toni Konz Tatman wrote in an emailed statement.
The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires all states to carry out standardized testing in public schools to determine how well schools are serving students and teaching them important skills and concepts. Kentucky’s tests are called K-PREP, and students’ scores determine the rating each school gets on the state’s new 5-star rating system. Schools with low ratings can face consequences from the state, like changes in staffing and management takeovers. — Jess Clark
Gov. Andy Beshear announced on Sunday that non-essential retail stores would have to close their doors by Monday at 8 p.m. Gun stores aren’t included in that; although Beshear’s order doesn’t categorize gun stores as either “life-sustaining” or “not life-sustaining” businesses, the order does contain language that it should not “interfere with the lawful sale of firearms and ammunition” as long as they observe social distancing and hygiene guidelines.
On Monday, Biff’s Gun World (pictured above) maintained a steady flow of customer traffic, reflecting a boom in firearm and ammunition sales seen nationally since the coronavirus outbreak. — J. Tyler Franklin
10:49 a.m.: Indiana is reporting a sharp increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state since yesterday. There are 106 additional people who have tested positive for COVID-19 since the numbers were updated yesterday; this brings the state’s total to 365 positive cases. Twelve people have died from the virus.
10:42 a.m.: Amazon has temporarily closed a Kentucky warehouse after an unspecified number of workers tested positive for the coronavirus.
The online retailer said Tuesday that the warehouse at Shepherdsville was undergoing “additional sanitization.” Amazon says it is supporting the “individuals who are now in quarantine and recovering.” The company says it is following all guidelines from local officials and is taking “extreme measures” to ensure the safety of employees at the site.
The company did not specify how many employees have been infected with the virus. — Associated Press
10:00 a.m.: The Tokyo Summer Olympics will be postponed a year, officials announced this morning. Here’s the latest from NPR.
Monday, March 23
6:50 p.m.: Governor Andy Beshear announced the establishment of a Team Kentucky Fund. The fund will be overseen by the Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet and will provide financial assistance to Kentuckians who have lost income related to the coronavirus.
At his 5:00 p.m. briefing on Monday, the governor also said people can now call a hotline to report employers or other groups not following state orders or CDC guidelines. The number is 1-833-KYSAFER (1-833-597-2337). The line will be answered from 7:30 a.m. until 9 p.m., but callers can leave a message if they call outside business hours.
6:50 p.m.: Mayor Greg Fischer announced that the One Louisville Fund has now raised $5.6 million to help organizations with their immediate operational needs, and to help people and families in financial distress. The mayor also announced that people can now call 311 to report business and groups of people not complying with social distancing guidelines.
Kentuckiana Works and Greater Louisville, Inc. have partnered on a job board to list employers that are still hiring.
5:45 p.m.: Louisville health officials have received 114 complaints about businesses since the state of emergency was declared, many alleging restaurants were still allowing dine-in service and businesses require workers to stay in close quarters. More here.
12:38 p.m.: Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has issued a “Stay at home” order, calling on all those in Indiana to stay at home unless absolutely necessary. The order begins Wednesday, Mar. 25 and runs through April 7.
Holcomb says the order, “calls on all Hoosiers to hunker down, stay at home. Unless you’re going out on an essential errand, essential work or essential business.”
Holcomb also announced an order closing all state government offices to in-person activity until April 7. He says state-issued licenses will be automatically extended.
Indiana’s number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose to 259 on Monday. Seven people have died from the virus in the state, according to Indiana’s official count.
“Make no mistake, this disease is killing people. Time is of the essence,” Holcomb said during a speech Monday.
Holcomb also said 54,000 people filed for unemployment last week alone. — Jess Clark
11 a.m.: A Louisville man is under court-ordered home isolation after testing positive for the COVID-19 disease.
The man, identified in court records as W.N., refused to comply with directions from the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness to self-isolate and went shopping on Saturday, according to court records.
Because of that, Jefferson District Judge Angela McCormick Bisig signed an order mandating the man to remain in his residence until April 4.
This is the second known case of forced isolation in Kentucky as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the world. The Courier-Journal first reported the case of the Louisville man on Sunday. People who test positive for the case are encouraged to isolate themselves from others to avoid spreading the disease.
The Louisville man is wearing a home monitoring ankle-bracelet and is under supervision of the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections, according to Jefferson County Sheriff Lt. Col. Carl Yates. The sheriff’s department served the order, and has the power to arrest the man if he violates the home isolation order.
The order can be extended, if necessary, after the mandated 14 day period expires.
8:55 a.m.: Indiana officials announced 76 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the number of cases statewide to 201. From the Associated Press:
State officials say two more people in Indiana have died from the coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths statewide to six. The total number of COVID-19 cases statewide is 201. The 76 newest cases announced Sunday have been reported in 22 counties. The highest number was in Marion County, which is reporting 35 new cases. After that there were eight new cases in Hamilton County. Gov. Eric Holcomb has delayed Indiana’s May 5 primary election until June 2. But he’s holding off on ordering residents to stay home as governors elsewhere, including Illinois, have done.
Sunday, March 22
5:29 p.m.: Gov. Andy Beshear announced Sunday that all non-essential retail businesses will have to close by Monday at 8 p.m. He said that will not include grocery stores, liquor stores, pharmacies or gas stations, but will require clothing stores, sporting good stores, florists, book stores and similar businesses to close. He also announced that healthcare providers will be required to stop elective procedures; this had previously been a recommendation, but Beshear said non-compliance on the part of some healthcare providers required this to become an order. — Eleanor Klibanoff
4:40 p.m.: Mayor Fischer asked everyone to stand on their porches and ring bells or bang pots or pans as part of what he’s calling Stand in Solidarity tonight at 7 p.m. Think of it as a way to vent frustration at our need to stay at home because of the coronavirus, Fischer said. He also announced the Big 4 Bridge will be lit in green as a symbol of compassion and urged everyone to fly a U.S. flag as a symbol of patriotism and hope. —Mike Edgerly
4:25 p.m.: There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Louisville’s homeless population, according to Vincent James, chief of Louisville’s Community Building. James said steps will be taken starting Monday to provide additional shelter space for unsheltered people who may need isolation or quarantine. During his Sunday afternoon briefing Mayor Greg Fischer said he is aware some people are still congregating and some ‘public facing’ businesses have not closed. Starting Monday citizens can report businesses who are not complying with the order by using the 311 line. —Mike Edgerly
1:46 p.m.: Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has tested positive for COVID-19 from the new coronavirus, according to a statement. He is in quarantine, but is asymptomatic and was tested “out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events.”
Senator Rand Paul has tested positive for COVID-19. He is feeling fine and is in quarantine. He is asymptomatic and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events. He was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 22, 2020
Paul will continue to work for the people of Kentucky at this difficult time, according to the statement. On March 7th, Paul attended the Speed Ball in Louisville; three attendees later tested positive for coronavirus. — Eleanor Klibanoff
Saturday, March 21
6:30 p.m: A third person in Kentucky has died from coronavirus. In his nightly press conference Saturday, Governor Andy Beshear said a 67-year-old man from Anderson County died from COVID-19. Beshear said he’s lighting up the governor’s mansion green in honor of the deceased.
“Green is the color of compassion, it’s a color of empathy, it’s also a color of renewal,” he said.
The governor said the state has now confirmed 87 cases the virus, with new cases in many parts of the state, including Jefferson County, Fayette County, Warren, and counties that are served by the Green River Health Department.
Beshear said with more labs coming online that are not run by the state health department, he’s not sure how many total people have been tested. However he believes it, “significantly exceeds 1,000.”
He also encouraged small businesses effected by the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for relief from the federal Small Business Association. Businesses who believe they are impacted may be eligible for low-interest loans from the federal government. You can apply here. Or call 1-800-659-2955.
Friday, March 20
6:30 p.m.: Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Marty Pollio announced Friday that the district would go to distance learning starting April 7th after spring break. The district is working on a plan to get internet access and laptops to students who otherwise would not be able to participate in online learning. Pollio said they’re working on a way to get 25,000 chromebooks distributed to students who qualify for free and reduced lunch. He also made a promise that all students in the class of 2020 would have commencement ceremonies whenever it was safe to do so. — Eleanor Klibanoff
6:15 p.m.: Businesses who have received loans from Louisville Metro government can now seek to have payments deferred for up to three months, under a plan approved Friday by the Metropolitan Business Development Corporation board of directors.
6:00 p.m.: Gov. Andy Beshear announced Kentucky is up to 63 positive coronavirus cases, though he said that number could change as additional information becomes available from the lab. The new cases are in Henderson, Jefferson, Warren, Pulaski, Calloway and Fayette counties.
Beshear announced new changes: he has asked Kentucky superintendents to keep schools closed through at least April 20, and said the state’s tax deadline would be extended to July 15, to align with the new federal deadline. He also announced that the state’s bourbon distillers would be helping by making hand sanitizer. Beshear asked anyone with access to personal protective equipment — particularly respirators — to reach out to the state. He alluded to forthcoming changes, including access to unemployment for independent contractors and setting up a hotline for people whose employers are not complying with CDC guidelines. — Eleanor Klibanoff
5:30 p.m.: There are 8 new coronavirus cases in Jefferson County, bringing the total to 25, Mayor Greg Fischer said. He took a serious tone as he encouraged residents to take precautions to help slow the spread of the virus.
“We do have to start preparing ourselves for the increase in the number of cases and also potential deaths that can come with that. People are aware that they’re saying there could be two million deaths in the United States. If there’s two million deaths in the United States, and we get our share of deaths here in Louisville, that could equate to thousands of our fellow citizens,” he said on a call with media.
He said Louisvillians need to get ready for an expected surge in cases, but could not say when that surge would arrive. For now, the three local hospital systems currently have the capacity to administer tests, said the city’s chief health strategist Dr. Sarah Moyer. Hospitals prioritize patients for testing based on the severity of their symptoms; their age or underlying medical conditions; and whether they are health care workers or have a travel history that includes coronavirus hotspots.
She said Metro is working closely with the hospitals to set up logistics to allow for drive-thru testing, which has in recent days become available in Lexington and Floyd County, Ind., which may happen if labs expand their criteria for testing beyond the sickest patients, or if hospitals are overwhelmed. Experts say widespread testing through means such as drive-thru testing would allow for a better understanding of how many cases are actually in the state. — Amina Elahi
4:15 p.m.: The Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet has released a new schedule for applying for unemployment insurance.
If you are planning on applying for unemployment insurance, the cabinet is asking that you apply on the day corresponding with the first letter of your last name. You can apply at the Kentucky Career Center’s unemployment benefits page at https://kcc.ky.gov/career or call 502-875-0442.
Here is the schedule:
Friday: V-Z and if you missed your day.
Deputy Secretary for the Cabinet for Education and Workforce Development Josh Benton said the schedule is meant to ease the burden on the application system. -Jared Bennett
3:20 p.m.: The Kentucky Department of Education plans to ask the U.S. Department of Education for permission to skip accountability testing in light of the coronavirus. U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement today that the feds will “grant a waiver to any state that is unable to assess its students due to the ongoing national emergency.” KDE spokesperson Toni Konz Tatman said the department plans to request the waiver on Monday, and has “every reason to believe” it will be granted. — Eleanor Klibanoff
3:00 p.m.: Coronavirus testing in Kentucky is still reserved for those who need it the most.
Until the test becomes more widely available, doctors are following federal guidelines that prioritize people who have been hospitalized, those with the worst symptoms and those who are at highest risk of mortality.
“If you’ve got a very sick person in the [Intensive Care Unit], they are going to get their test, yes, within 24 hours,” said Dr. Forest Arnold, University of Louisville Hospital epidemiologist. “But if you’ve got somebody who’s not, or maybe they came and left and are at home they may not have their test for several days if at all.”
1:46 p.m.: School closures due to the coronavirus have millions of students out of school nationwide. But teachers are still trying to keep students engaged in learning. That’s what Lincoln Elementary Performing Arts teacher KeNiesha Watkins was doing in her downtown apartment yesterday: teaching a writing lesson through FaceTime.
“OK, so we’re going to be working on ‘What is your favorite time of the year?’” Watkins explained to Addison, a fourth grader smiling back at Watkins from her iPhone screen.
12:42 p.m.: Indiana political leaders say they decided to postpone the state’s May 5 primary because of concern about the coronavirus pandemic.
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb said during a news conference with the state GOP and Democratic chairmen that the primary will instead be held on June 2. The announcement came shortly after Indiana health officials reported that the state had 23 new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
That raised the state’s total count to 79, including two patients who died.
Neighboring Ohio and Kentucky are among at least seven other states that have postponed their primaries. — Associated Press
11 a.m.: Kentucky’s Education and Workforce Development Cabinet says that, based on orders from the federal government, it cannot provide detailed information about the number of unemployment insurance applications.
Earlier this week, the cabinet disclosed that more than 34,000 had filed for unemployment over three days: 17,600 people on Wednesday 12,000 on Tuesday, and 4,800 on Monday. The cabinet’s executive director of communications, JT Henderson, said in an email that the message to stop disclosing unemployment numbers “was conveyed by the Department of Labor so I cannot communicate those numbers until further notice.”
The New York Times reported on Wednesday night that the Labor Department told state officials in an email to “provide information using generalities” and avoid giving specific numbers until national claims data is released next week. — Jared Bennett
10:35 a.m.: The Floyd County, Indiana Health Department has launched a pilot project to test some county residents for COVID-19 through drive-thru testing. In a news release, the health department said patients would have to first be screened by their primary care physician or the health department; then given a time to show up. Hours today will be 12 to 3 p.m. For questions, call the health department at 812-948-4726 x656.
8:30 a.m.: Here’s what you may have missed yesterday:
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has signed an executive order banning large gatherings of people from meeting in the commonwealth; this includes in-person worship services.
Louisville Metro Council has voted to shift $2.7 million previously earmarked for pension payments to make funds available for COVID-19 relief.
One of the last remaining large gatherings of people — the Kentucky General Assembly — finally decided to adjourn for a week amid the growing coronavirus crisis. The legislative body had been facing mounting criticism, as it banned most visitors from the capitol and continued to consider controversial bills dealing with abortion and immigration enforcement.
Less travel and shuttered schools and businesses means there’s a lagging demand for energy in the region. And that is causing energy producers, utilities and energy sector workers across the Ohio Valley to adjust operations and brace for continued economic impacts as the fast-moving coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold.
Thursday, March 19
Wednesday, March 18
Tuesday, March 17
Monday, March 16
Sunday, March 15
Saturday, March 14
Friday, March 13
Thursday, March 12
Wednesday, March 11
Tuesday, March 10
Thursday, March 19:
9:47 p.m.: The Louisville Metro Council voted to shift $2.7 million previously earmarked for pension payments to make funds available for COVID-19 relief.
The ordinance states that the money is intended to be used “as a fund of last resort,” to be accessed when other funding sources are insufficient. The legislation was fast-tracked this week because it was an emergency ordinance, meaning it was not heard in committee.
Twenty-three members voted yes, two voted no and one — Brent Ackerson (D-26) — voted present. Ackerson said he opposed the legislation because there is now federal aid on the way and because the city continues to face fiscal problems. — Amina Elahi
7:47 p.m.: The Kentucky legislature will not meet for a week due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The news comes after state lawmakers continued to meet despite warnings about the seriousness of the disease and the need for people to not gather in large groups to prevent its spread.
Senate President Robert Stivers and House Speaker David Osborne announced Thursday afternoon that after the day’s business, the legislature would adjourn until March 26.
Osborne said that the legislature’s main focus would be passing a budget and bills that would help the state deal with the pandemic. — Ryland Barton
6:21 p.m.: Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday he has signed an executive order prohibiting all gatherings where people would come together, including in-person services held by houses of worship.
He announced the new order during his regular coronavirus briefing at the state capitol building. Beshear said there are approximately 47 people in Kentucky that have tested positive for COVID-19. Two people have died due to complications related to the disease.
Beshear did not specifically say what the penalties are if a place of worship violates the order, but he encouraged all religious leaders to heed the call.
“No one is going to be out there arresting people, that’s not the right thing to do,” he said. “The right thing is for everyone to do their duty, and for that see people not doing their duty, ask them to, but ask them to nicely.”
He said the order was not an easy decision, citing his own deep faith, but he said it was a necessary step to stem the spread of COVID-19. The order was not immediately available online. A spokesperson for Beshear said the order would be posted in the coming hours. — Jacob Ryan
5:11 p.m.: GE Appliances plans to shut down operations at the Appliance Park in Louisville for at least a week, according to the Courier Journal.
On Tuesday the company announced plans to limit operations, and decided to close entirely on Thursday.
The CJ reports that there are no confirmed cases at the Appliance Park. Distribution Centers will remain open for delivery, installation and servicing of GE products.
Toyota too, plans to temporarily shutter its largest production plant in the U.S. through at least April 6, according to WDRB. — Ryan Van Velzer
5:10 p.m.: There are now 17 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Jefferson County, Mayor Greg Fischer said. That makes six new cases since Gov. Andy Beshear briefed the press yesterday evening.
“I just want to continue to prepare folks, there’s going to be more and more cases. As there’s more cases, there’s going to be more serious illness as well. And I hope and pray this is not the case but if we’re like other places in the world, people will lose their lives as a result of this virus,” he said during a press conference.
Fischer said, as he has before, that Louisville has the advantage of learning from how coronavirus has spread in other places and reiterated that people should practice social distancing, good hand hygiene and other best practices as much as possible.
His wife, Alexandra Gerassimides, who was confirmed as a new case yesterday, is “getting through it,” he said. — Amina Elahi
5:06 p.m.: Republican leaders of the Kentucky legislature have postponed this year’s legislative session by a week due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Senate President Robert Stivers and House Speaker David Osborne announced that after Thursday’s business, the General assembly will adjourn until March 26, though lawmakers will still meet to hammer out a final version of the two-year budget.
The news came as the Senate debated its version of the budget, which was unveiled on Wednesday evening.
Lawmakers have continued to meet despite warnings about the coronavirus and the need for people to not gather in large groups to prevent spread of the disease. — Ryland Barton
3:45 p.m.: Immigration cases for Louisville-area residents have been postponed through April 10 while the local immigration court is closed, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement will scale back opening new cases, according to various federal agencies.
The Executive Office for Immigration Review has postponed non-detained immigration hearings and closed many immigration courts, including those in Louisville and Memphis, the two courts where local cases are most often routed
Immigration court in Louisville has been closed since August for “building condition” reasons, unrelated to the coronavirus. In the meantime, Louisville area hearings have been conducted via teleconference with a judge in Memphis, but now Memphis is closed.
Individuals whose hearings are postponed will receive a new notice when those hearings are scheduled. Hearings can range from setting schedules to deciding whether an individual gets asylum or another immigration benefit they have applied for.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says it will adjust its enforcement posture starting March 18 and focus its enforcement operations on public safety risks and people with criminal backgrounds who need to be detained. For people who don’t fall into those categories, ICE says it will exercise discretion to delay enforcement actions until after the coronavirus crisis.
ICE says that during the COVID-19 crisis it will not carry out enforcement operations at or near health care facilities such as hospitals, doctors’ offices or health clinics except in what it calls “the most extraordinary of circumstances.”
“Individuals should not avoid seeking medical care because they fear civil immigration enforcement,” ICE said in an emailed notification.
Homeland Security says it will continue to carry out criminal investigations and enforcement actions that are necessary to maintain public safety and national security. — Jared Bennett
2:45 p.m.: Lyon County, in western Kentucky, had its first person test positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday. Here’s what people are saying in the county seat of Eddyville.
1:27 p.m.: Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced today that all schools in the state will remain closed through May 1.
11:41 a.m.: Health officials say 17 new coronavirus infection cases have been confirmed around Indiana, increasing the state’s total to 56. The virus causing COVID-19 illnesses has now been identified in 22 of Indiana’s 92 counties.
Eight of the new cases announced today (Thurs) by state health officials are in Indianapolis, with others confirmed among residents of Howard, Lake, Owen, St. Joseph, Tippecanoe and Wayne counties. Indiana has recorded two COVID-19 deaths, one each in Marion and Johnson counties.
As the economic fallout spreads, the owners of the two largest hotels in downtown Indianapolis are considering temporary closures as they’ve seen drastic declines in business. — Associated Press
10:45 a.m.: Tens of thousands of Kentuckians lost their jobs this week and are turning to unemployment insurance to help make ends meet as businesses close and restaurants transition to takeout and delivery service only.
The Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet says it processed over 17,600 applications on Wednesday — and that’s after processing 12,000 on Tuesday.
The cabinet says during a typical week, they process 2,000 applications.
More on unemployment is explained here. — Jared Bennett
9:00 a.m.: Businesses across Kentucky and Indiana are closed, factories are closing and some office workers are being told to work from home. But others are still going into work — and many are worried about their heath in the midst of the pandemic.
Wednesday, March 18:
9:15 p.m.: Starting Friday, Louisville’s public transit system is changing its schedule to reduce crowds. TARC will run most of its buses on a Saturday schedule every day but Sunday, when they will run on a Sunday schedule. The agency is also suspending certain routes: The U of L campus shuttle, the Second Street/airport service and the free LouLift circulator. TARC 3 paratransit service and some other routes, including to Riverport and UPS, will not change. The agency has already stepped up disinfecting practices on its buses. Real-time route updates are available at ridetarc.org.
7:24 p.m.: Automakers across the Ohio Valley are temporarily closing their plants in response to the coronavirus pandemic. That includes the big three U.S. automakers — Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler, and Toyota.
Kentucky is home to GM’s Corvette plant in Bowling Green, which employs about 1,400 people, and a Ford facility in Louisville which employs about 4,000 people assembling the Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair.
Toyota’s facility in Georgetown, Kentucky, is Toyota’s largest vehicle manufacturing plant in the world, and employs more than 8,000 people. More on this story here. — Becca Schimmel, Ohio Valley ReSource
6:15 p.m.: Gov. Andy Beshear unveiled two new steps to help people receive and keep their public assistance during Wednesday’s press conference: Anyone who is now unemployed may immediately sign up for Medicaid. And anyone who receives any form of public assistance such as SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) and Medicaid will automatically receive an additional three months of benefits without having to re-certify.
Beshear also suspended all charitable gaming licenses, AKA, he canceled bingo. He appeared to call out one parlor in particular:
“If you are a Bingo parlor in Pike County you ought to be closed by the end of the day,” Beshear said. “Those parlors cater to an older and more at-risk crowd. Do not, do not, engage in the kind of conduct that can put people at risk.” — Ryan Van Velzer
5:08 p.m.: Gov. Andy Beshear says Kentucky now has 35 people who have tested positive for COVID-19, and that includes an 8-month-old in Jefferson County. The virus most commonly affects older people and those who are immunocompromised, but in rare cases can affect children, he said. The child is currently in good condition, Beshear said.
4:58 p.m.: Alexandra Gerassimides, the wife of Mayor Greg Fischer, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is isolating.
Fischer has been in quarantine since Sunday, after learning that he was in contact with someone who later tested positive on March 7. He speculated Wednesday that his wife may have contracted the virus from the same source. Fischer, who remains without symptoms, said his quarantine will be extended until March 31. Gerassimides is doing well, he said. — Amina Elahi
4:25 p.m.: Over the span of a few days, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear issued orders that will grind business in Kentucky to a halt and increase quick access to unemployment benefits.
By 5 p.m. Wednesday, all “public facing” businesses including entertainment, hospitality and recreational facilities, gyms and exercise facilities and hair salons will close their doors. That’s on top of the bars and restaurants that have shuttered or reduced staff as they transitioned to take out and delivery services.
As a result, many in Kentucky have already lost their income source, and many more will in the coming days. Nationwide, nearly 1 in 5 Americans have experienced a layoff or a reduction in hours due to the coronavirus, an NPR/ PBS Newshour/Marist poll found.
Unemployment insurance is available for those who have lost their jobs to help ease the burden.
Beshear announced policy changes aimed at making unemployment insurance more available to people who lose their jobs due to the coronavirus, including waiving the one-week waiting period for receiving benefits and the requirement that recipients prove they are actively looking for work. But the process can be difficult to navigate. Here’s an explainer on how it works. — Jared Bennett
3:26 p.m.: Attorney General Daniel Cameron unveiled an online form Wednesday for Kentuckians to report suspected price gouging.
The Attorney General’s Office has received 84 complaints of suspected price gouging since Governor Andy Beshear enacted state laws relating to price gouging on March 7. Cameron said the form will speed up investigations into people profiting from the spread of the coronavirus.
“Kentuckians are already facing changes and uncertainty as a result of the coronavirus, and we want to make sure that reporting suspected price gouging does not create additional stress,” Cameron said in a press release. “These changes allow us to access the information needed to more quickly investigate price gouging claims on behalf of Kentuckians.”
You can file a price gouging complaint online at ag.ky.gov/pricegouging, or by calling 1-888-432-9527. — Kyeland Jackson
1:58 p.m: Ford Motor Company is suspending production amid growing spread of coronavirus, the Associated Press reports. Ford employs more than 12,000 people at its two Louisville plants: the Louisville Assembly Plant and the Kentucky Truck Plant. The facilities will close at the end of Thursday’s shifts and aims to reopen on March 30th, according to the AP. The closure comes amid pressure from the United Auto Workers Union; UAW Local 862 President Todd Dunn did not immediately return request for comment. — Eleanor Klibanoff
12:25 p.m.: The Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and the public defender’s office are working together to identify inmates who can be released without compromising public safety.
So far, at least 117 agreed orders have been signed to releases inmates to home incarceration or on their own recognizance. That number does not include orders handled by individual prosecutors and private defense attorneys.
The measure is intended to reduce overcrowding and the potential for spread in Metro Corrections.
“We are reviewing [the public defender’s] list on a case by case basis and, in what our office feels are the appropriate cases, are agreeing that the defendants be released,” said commonwealth’s attorney spokesperson Jeff Cooke. “Those agreed releases may involve home incarceration, telephone monitoring or release on their own recognizance.” — Jacob Ryan
12:00 p.m.: We’re live for a special “In Conversation” on 89.3 WFPL or streaming here. We’ll talk about coronavirus’ effects on the economy — in Louisville, Southern Indiana and around the region: everything from the delay of Derby to restaurant closures to job losses. Give us a call at 502-814-TALK to join the conversation.
10:51 a.m.: Here’s an update on the situation in Indiana from our friends at Side Effects Public Media:
“Religious groups are adjusting to restrictions on public gatherings. At St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend, that meant no holy water, no hymnals and other changes in the mass.
Indiana joined neighboring states in closing bars, nightclubs and restaurants to dine-in customers. The restriction will last at least until the end of March.
The state gaming commission ordered casinos to close for at least two weeks.
More than 270 school districts have closed, and officials are working with the remaining 16 districts to determine their next steps.”
10:24 a.m.: With the closures of libraries and community centers and new recommendations against gatherings of people, people in substance abuse recovery are facing new challenges. Here’s how some groups and people in Louisville are coping.
9:40 a.m.: Gov. Andy Beshear has ordered additional closures to begin at 5 p.m. today: they include “entertainment, hospitality and recreational facilities, community and recreation centers, gyms and exercise facilities, hair salons, nail salons, spas, concert venues, theaters, and sporting event facilities.” That’s in addition to all bars and restaurants, unless they offer carry-out, drive-thru or delivery. Exempt from these closures are retail stores, grocery store, hardware stores, pharmacies, banks, post offices, pet stores and hotels.
In good news for some in the state, Beshear has also directed the Department of Revenue to pause enforced collection methods while the state deals with the economic fallout of the coronavirus.
Also, the Kentucky General Assembly is still in session, despite calls for adjournment amid the pandemic.
Tuesday, March 17:
7:58 p.m.: Gov. Andy Beshear is urging the state legislature to either quickly pass a two-year budget or adjourn and return for a special session in the coming months. Republicans say they won’t adjourn until they have a budget.
7:15 p.m.: The state Department of Revenue is halting all enforced collection methods, including wage garnishment and driver’s license revocations. Read more.
5:44 p.m.: Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad says calls for public intoxication, loitering, loud music and other non-violent offenses will be handled over the phone by LMPD’s Service Center. Conrad said the change is meant to minimize in-person interaction between officers and the public, to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
“For example: Calls for public intoxication, loitering, trespassing, loud music, found property, speeding, illegal parking, those are the kinds of things that are not going to necessitate a police response unless there is a known risk to a person,” he said during a call with reporters.
Other changes announced Tuesday affect the city’s fire department, emergency medical services and other public safety positions.
5:13 p.m.: After playing a video made for kids to help explain the coronavirus to them, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says there are now 26 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky. He also said he has signed an executive order that all “public facing businesses” that can’t comply with the CDC’s guidelines on social distancing must close by close of business tomorrow. Those include entertainment and recreation facilities, gyms, hair and nail salons and concert venues. There are exceptions, including hotels, pet stores, banks and hardware stores.
5:00 p.m.: Though all Louisville-area YMCAs are closed, the Y is offering free online classes for its members. There are more than 100 workout classes online here, to better help the community relieve some stress and get some physical activity as long as the coronavirus crisis disrupts daily life.
4:51 p.m.: Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities is expanding the suspension of disconnects to business accounts. In a press release today, the company said it was suspending disconnects and waiving new late fees for all business customers until at least May 1.
“We appreciate the contributions, economic value and character local businesses bring to our communities and, just as our residential customers, we know they’re struggling,” said Vice President of Customer Service Eileen Saunders. “We hope this policy will give them a bit of relief as they continue to try and navigate the uncertainty now and ahead.”
Earlier, the company said it would suspend residential disconnects during the coronavirus crisis.
3:30 p.m.: The COVID-19 pandemic is putting pressure on all of us. Whether or not we get sick, many of us are stressed financially and emotionally. Here’s a list of resources for the Louisville community during this time. — Jess Clark
1:43 p.m.: Two influential groups are calling on the Kentucky General Assembly to adjourn, and stop taking up legislation while access to the state capitol is restricted.
The Kentucky Education Association is demanding lawmakers pass a budget, “then go home.”
“Democracy does not work ‘virtually’ or in the dark. Bills and policies that would otherwise receive vocal outrage and opposition will pop up like mushrooms in that darkness. Educators have seen this before,” KEA president Eddie Campbell wrote in an emailed statement.
He’s asking lawmakers to pass an education-forward budget, as well as legislation to waive the requirement school districts make up many of the instructional days lost to the school closures.
Meanwhile the ACLU of Kentucky is calling on lawmakers to postpone hearing all legislation, even the budget.
“Lawmakers have the opportunity to pass a budget and work on other legislative matters at a later date,” ACLU-KY executive director Michael Aldridge wrote in an emailed statement.
“Continuing the legislative session behind closed doors exposes essential LRC employees to the novel coronavirus, endangers the safety of communities where legislators will return after working in close quarters at the Capitol, and violates Kentuckians’ right to participate in their Government,” he wrote.
The Republican leadership of both chambers sent out a statement Monday saying they are continuing the legislative process, limiting access to meetings to lawmakers, essential staff and reporters. — Jess Clark
12:20 p.m.: Starting this evening, Chef Edward Lee and Maker’s Mark will begin distributing meals tonight to restaurant workers affected by widespread closures.
Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday ordered all restaurants and bars to close to inside customers and instead offer only takeout, delivery or drive-through service. Lee, a prominent chef who owns several Louisville restaurants, announced the restaurant worker’s relief program late Monday.
According to Lee’s Instagram, anyone with a restaurant pay stub can come to 610 Magnolia in Old Louisville and pick up to-go dinners, two per person. (610 Magnolia is both the address and the name of the restaurant.)
“There are so many restaurant workers suddenly out of work,” Lee wrote. “They are the backbone of our industry. They have always answered the call to work our kitchens and run our dining rooms. I am doing anything I can to make sure that they are not forgotten.”
The dinners will last as long as it’s financially feasible, Lee said. He is accepting donations to the program at LEEInitiative.org. The Omni Louisville announced this morning that it’s donating all the hotel’s perishable foods to the program this afternoon. — Kate Howard
10:18 a.m.: Indiana has announced its second death as a result of COVID-19 from the new coronavirus. The state now has 30 confirmed cases.
9:30 a.m.: Because of the health concerns involving large gatherings of people, WFPK and Waterfront Park are delaying the launch of this year’s Waterfront Wednesday season. In a release, the groups said the first concert, planned for April 22, will be delayed.
Like WFPL, WFPK is part of Louisville Public Media.
9:05 a.m.: For only the second time in history, the Kentucky Derby will be postponed. Read the whole story here.
9 a.m.: The Jefferson County Sheriff has stopped executing eviction orders.
Lt. Col. Carl Yates said the agency “got word from the courts” to stop executing the orders late Monday evening.
He said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer also announced the procedure change on the radio Tuesday morning.
Until now, the sheriff has continued to execute eviction orders, even as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads and government officials pressure residents to stay home.
The sheriff executed 14 eviction orders on Monday and had more than 60 scheduled for this week. The remaining orders will be put on hold until further notice, Yates said.
Monday, March 16:
9:05 p.m.: An evening release from Gov. Andy Beshear’s office said Kentucky’s total is now at 25 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Here’s a list of all of the patients thus far, with their ages, sex and location, if available:
- 66, Male, Bourbon, passed away March 15
- 40, Female, Fayette
- 46, Male, Fayette
- 31, Female, Fayette
- 47, Male, Fayette
- 31, Male, Fayette
- 27, Female, Harrison, fully recovered
- 67, Female, Harrison
- 68, Male, Harrison
- 54, Female, Harrison
- 60, Male, Harrison
- 51, Male, Harrison
- 69, Male, Jefferson
- 67, Female, Jefferson
- 68, Female, Jefferson
- 80, Female, Jefferson
- 73, Female, Jefferson
- 56, Male, Montgomery
- 53, Male, Nelson
- 49, Male, Clark
- 54, Male, Jefferson
- 34, Female, Jefferson
- 74, Male, Fayette
- 33, Female, Fayette
- 51, Male, Montgomery
“Again, we believe there are cases out there where people aren’t being tested because they are asymptomatic,” Beshear said in the release. “What we’re dealing with is serious. It shouldn’t scare you, but it should give you a commitment to make sure we are following the guidelines that we have to follow.”
7:04 p.m.: Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced the Louisville Zoo is now closed to the public and that visitation at Metro Corrections is now suspended.
“I wish this step was not necessary,” he said. Visitation is usually conducted on-site by video conference. Fischer said essential zoo staff would continue to care for animals, while others are being encouraged to work from home. He said the zoo would offer refunds and cancellations for events.
Dr. Sarah Moyer, the director of Louisville’s health department, said the city is about a week or two behind San Francisco and Seattle in terms of incidence of coronavirus. Today, officials in six Bay Area counties issued an order for all residents to shelter in place for three weeks and for most non-essential businesses to temporarily close. Moyer said that is the scenario Louisville is trying to avoid.
“We have implemented the social distancing orders much sooner, and as we’ve seen modeled in other pandemics over the past century, we’re hoping that our actions taken sooner will prevent something like that,” she said. — Amina Elahi
6:30 p.m.: A Louisville Metro Housing Authority spokesperson said via email Monday evening that the agency will suspend evictions and set outs for those evictions that were already signed by the court.
“We have reached out to participants to ensure they are reporting any losses in income to ensure sustained home security as well,” the statement said. “LMHA is continuing daily sanitation of high traffic areas, have closed all common spaces and are limiting visitors to encourage social distancing. Property managers and case managers are continuing to remind residents of the importance of good disease prevention habits.”
It’s unclear how many of the evictions scheduled for this week were LMHA tenants. — Jacob Ryan
5:10 p.m.: Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says there are 22 cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky. The newest case is in Jefferson County; she is a 34-year-old woman.
Beshear is also asking child care centers across Kentucky to close by the end of the day Friday. “I know it’s going to be hard. Everything I’ve announced over the past several days is going to be hard,” he said.
There will also be a three-month extension on drivers licenses, to avoid in-person traffic coming into those facilities. By the end of the day tomorrow, all government offices will be closed to in-person traffic, Beshear said.
He also said the state had applied for a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help small businesses suffering from the economic problems coming from the coronavirus. And Beshear confirmed that the state would postpone the state’s primary elections by the 35 days allowed by Kentucky law: until June 23.
5:00 p.m.: Republican leaders of the Kentucky legislature say that the 2020 legislative session will continue despite worries of large gatherings amid the coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement from House Speaker David Osborne and Senate President Robert Stivers announced that the they are restricting in-person access to meetings to lawmakers, essential staff and reporters.The news comes after the CDC recommended that Americans avoid gatherings of more than 50 people amid the coronavirus pandemic.
There are 138 members of the General Assembly, plus hundreds of staff, reporters and others who work on the state Capitol campus every day. — Ryland Barton
4:56 p.m.: Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams is recommending that the state move its primary elections from May 19 to June 23.
The request comes in response to the coronavirus epidemic. So far 21 people have been confirmed with the disease in Kentucky.
Authority to delay an election ultimately resides with the governor. In a letter to Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, Adams asked Beshear to delay the primary election by 35 days. In this year’s primary contest, Kentuckians will weigh in on who to nominate for U.S. Senate, Congress and the state legislature. — Ryland Barton
4:20 p.m.: At the end of the day today, all Louisville area YMCA branches will be closed through March 29.
“This is an unprecedented event in our nation’s history, as well as for the YMCA of Greater Louisville. We are extraordinarily grateful for you and appreciate your patience and understanding while we navigate this challenging time,” YMCA of Greater Louisville President Steve Tarver wrote in an email.
3:24 p.m.: Mayor Greg Fischer does not have coronavirus per a test result Monday afternoon, he said in an emailed statement.
“Per Health Department guidance, I will continue to self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure, which runs through March 21. In the meantime, I’m working from home, in constant communication with my staff and others in the community as we work through this crisis. I urge all to adhere to the health department guidelines about protecting yourself and your community,” the statement said.
Fischer started quarantining yesterday after learning he had been in contact with someone at the Speed Ball who tested positive for COVID-19. At least two attendees have tested positive.
Another attendee, Rep. John Yarmuth, announced earlier today his test came back negative as well.
My #COVID19 test results came back NEGATIVE. I plan to continue working from home and will avoid going out in order to do my part as we all work to practice safe and precautionary distancing to help defeat this pandemic.
— Rep. John Yarmuth (@RepJohnYarmuth) March 16, 2020
— Amina Elahi
2:27 p.m.: The Jefferson County Sheriff will continue to execute eviction orders, even as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads and sparks cancellations and closures across the state.
On Monday the sheriff’s department had 14 eviction orders scheduled, according to Lt. Col. Carl Yates, the department’s public information officer. There are more than 60 eviction orders scheduled for this week.
Yates said the department is following judges’ orders.
“These are not decisions made by us, these are decisions made by judges,” he said. “Our duties are to carry out those orders until we are told to stop.”
Read the story here. — Jacob Ryan
1:25 p.m.: By now, you’ve heard it a lot: a lot of people who come down with COVID-19 from the new coronavirus have mild or moderate symptoms. But what do these terms actually mean as it relates to the epidemic? NPR breaks it down here.
12:45 p.m.: Many events in the Louisville area have been canceled or postponed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the larger events that have been impacted include:
- Festival of Faiths
- Actors Theatre’s Humana Festival of New American Plays
- Anastasia at Whitney Hall
- An Evening with Michael Bublé at the KFC Yum! Center
- Events at the Speed Art Museum
- Events at Louisville Free Public Library branches
- The Moth Storyslam at Headliners Music Hall
— Ashlee Clark Thompson
11:54 a.m.: Kentucky utilities announced Monday they will suspend disconnects for residential customers until May 1 and waive late fees incurred between now and then.
The announcement applies to Louisville Gas and Electric (LG&E), Kentucky Utilities Company (KU) and Old Dominion Power. Louisville Water also suspended its shutoffs last week.
“While we’ve historically taken similar measures during extreme weather conditions, we are in unprecedented times with this virus and we want to ensure that our residential customers, who may need some extra time to make payments, have the additional grace period,” said Eileen Saunders, vice president of customer services, in an emailed statement. “We are committed to working with our customers who may be having difficulty paying their energy bills and connecting them with available resources that can further assist them.”
All LG&E, KU and ODP business offices and facilities remain open and some offer service through a drive-through window. — Kate Howard
11:50 a.m.: Indiana’s governor is ordering restaurants and bars closed to in-person customers in another step toward stemming the spread of the coronavirus.
The order Monday from Gov. Eric Holcomb follows each of Indiana’s adjacent states taking the same step in recent days. The governor’s office says 273 public school districts have decided to close to students and that the state education department is working with the 16 others to determine their next steps. Indiana’s hospitals and surgery centers are being asked to cancel or postpone elective and non-urgent surgical procedures to help free up resources and personnel for possible virus illnesses.
More than two-thirds of Indiana’s school districts have closed their doors to students as all public schools in surrounding states have done so in an attempt to slow the coronavirus spread. — Associated Press
11:39 a.m.: The Indiana health department says the number of confirmed COVID-19 illnesses in Indiana reached 24 Monday in 13 counties.
That is five more than reported on Sunday and double Friday’s number. The state Department of Education said 218 of Indiana’s some 300 public school district have reported closure or switching to online classwork because of the virus outbreak.
Statewide school closings are occurring in Kentucky and other states. — Associated Press
11:01 a.m.: University Of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi is in self-quarantine after attending an event where someone tested positive for COVID-19. Bendapudi said in a tweet Sunday afternoon that she has shown no symptoms, and will work remotely.
I have been informed by the city’s health department that someone who attended an event at which I was present has tested positive for COVID-19.
Although I currently show no symptoms, I am following protocol and am in self-quarantine out of an abundance of caution.
— Neeli Bendapudi (@UofLPresNeeli) March 15, 2020
This follows news that Louisville philanthropist Christy Brown and Kentucky Author Forum Founder Mary Moss Greenebaum were diagnosed with the coronavirus after attending the March 7 Speed Art Museum Ball. — Kyeland Jackson
9:07 a.m.: Gov. Andy Beshear says Kentucky has had its first death related to the new coronavirus. The individual was a 66-year-old man from Bourbon County, and COVID-19 was only one factor in the death, he said.
The governor also said all bars and restaurants in Kentucky will be closed except for drive-through, carry-out and delivery as of 5:00 p.m. today. The state capitol will also be closed to all non-essential employees starting tomorrow. Here’s more.
8:30 a.m.: Floyd County, Indiana health officials have confirmed a case of COVID-19 from the new coronavirus in the county. The individual is being treated at Baptist Health Floyd, and while the health department isn’t releasing any information about the individual, they say they are an adult and not a student, and was in the following places on the following dates:
- Northside Christian Church, 3/8/2020, 11:30 service
- IHSAA Boys Basketball Sectionals at Seymour High School on 3/7/2020
- Color Guard Competition at Floyd Central High School on 3/7/2020
- High School wrestling match at Floyd Central High School on 3/1/2020
- Attended Caesar’s Casino of Southern Indiana on the following dates: 2/25/2020 thru 2/29/2020 and again from 3/3/2020 thru 3/7/2020 8a-4p on all days listed.
In an email this morning, Caesar’s Casino of Southern Indiana announced that in the interest of public health and as a precautionary measure, it will be closing for at least 14 days beginning this morning.
In Kentucky, the number of positive COVID-19 cases was at 21 at the end of the day yesterday; Gov. Andy Beshear is scheduled to give an update at 9 a.m. We’ll carry that live on 89.3 WFPL. — Erica Peterson
Sunday, March 15:
7:25 p.m.: Mary Moss Greenebaum says she’s on the mend and symptom-free after getting diagnosed with COVID-19 and “an unpleasant two days.”
Greenebaum, the founder of the Kentucky Author Forum, said she started feeling sick a couple days after she attended the Speed Art Museum Ball. Another attendee, philanthropist Christy Brown, has also tested positive.
Greenebaum said she first thought she had a stomach bug, and then the next day, she developed symptoms she’s been hearing about related to the coronavirus: a hacking cough and a high fever. She went to the hospital on Thursday, she said, and after ruling out the flu, she was tested for coronavirus. The first test came back negative, but doctors ran the test again.
Greenebaum will remain isolated for the next 10 days, she said.
“I think people should take isolation seriously,” she said. “ If everyone who could possibly do it would adhere to it, it would make an enormous dent in our being able to flatten out its progress. That’s the responsibility I hope everyone will take, if they can.” -Kate Howard
6:26 p.m.: Per a release from Gov. Andy Beshear’s office, Kentucky’s total is now at 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Here’s a list of all of the patients thus far, with their ages, sex and location, if available:
- Harrison, F, 27, out of hospital and fully recovered
- Fayette, M, 40
- Jefferson, M, 69
- Harrison, F, 67
- Harrison, M, 68
- Fayette, M, 46
- Harrison, F, 54
- Harrison, M, 60
- Harrison, M, 51
- Fayette, F, 31
- Jefferson, F, 67
- Bourbon, M, 66
- Jefferson, F, 68
- Jefferson, F, 80
- Nelson, M, 53
- Montgomery, M, 56
- Fayette, M, 47
- Fayette, M, 31
- Clark, M, 49
- Jefferson, F, 73
5:49 p.m.: Speed Museum Director Stephen Reily says two guests at the March 7 Speed Ball have tested positive for COVID-19.
5:38 p.m.: Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says he is self-quarantining, after the news that someone he had contact with at the Speed Ball, presumably Christy Brown, tested positive for COVID-19 (see below). Fischer says so far, he feels fine. He has been tested and is awaiting the results.
5:27 p.m.: Prominent Louisville philanthropist Christy Brown has tested positive for COVID-19, per her attorney. Brown had been at the Speed Ball on March 7, a large fundraising event at the Speed Museum, along with many other people including Gov. Andy Beshear, Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. John Yarmuth. Here’s more.
5 p.m.: Gov. Andy Beshear confirmed 20 cases of the coronavirus have spread across seven Kentucky counties during an afternoon press conference Sunday.
At least one of those patients is not expected to survive, while another patient in Nelson County refused to self-isolate and now has a sheriff’s deputy parked outside their home.
As reports come in of empty store shelves and people hoarding supplies, Beshear reminded Kentuckians to act responsibly and only purchase what is necessary so that everyone can get what they need.
“First we just need Kentuckians to be good neighbors and realize that if you take eight months of baby formula it means another mom won’t be able to get it,” Beshear said Sunday.
He also admonished people for crowding into bars and clubs over the weekend, and asked those people to reduce their contacts and take preventative measures to protect people.
Ohio has ordered the temporary closure of bars and restaurants, and Beshear said he would consider doing the same if people could not act responsibly.
Beshear himself said he has tested negative for the virus after attending the Speed Art Museum Ball in Louisville. That fundraiser was also attended by philanthropist Christy Brown, as well other local and state officials.
Brown has confirmed through an attorney that she has tested positive for the virus.
As for the passengers who were aboard the Grand Princess cruise, 14 of them are expected to be home tonight and the remaining two are expected back in the state tomorrow, Beshear said.
“Again, these are our people. I don’t think they’ve been treated the way they should. We will take responsibility for them here in Kentucky,” he said.
12:00 p.m.: Houses of worship across Kentucky offered online services in mostly-empty buildings as many heeded Gov. Andy Beshear’s request to cancel in-person gatherings.
Among the large congregations offering online-only services were St. Stephen Church in west Louisville and Southeast Christian Church. Calvary Cathedral downtown also held service online in the wake of the diocese’s advice.
At St. Stephen, Rev. Kevin Cosby preached to a room with only musicians, each standing several feet apart. Cosby stressed the seriousness of the COVID-19 outbreak, particularly for seniors, and encouraged listeners of his sermon to turn to God.
“Any blow that stimulates us to pray, to trust God, to seek God… that blow was worth the blow, if it causes us to seek God,” Cosby said. “Sometimes it takes a blow to get us to say, ‘Father, I stretch my hand to thee.'”
At St. James Catholic Church in the Highlands, some attended in-person, but the person leading the service said there would be no communion from the cup or coffee and donuts after the service. She encouraged members to greet one another from a distance.
Beshear tweeted early Sunday that it was difficult to stay home from church.
As a person of deep faith I know this morning is tough for many of us, not being able to attend our church service in person. We are doing what is needed to help protect ourselves and those around us. Thank you for coming together to help keep our communities safe. ^AB
— Governor Andy Beshear (@GovAndyBeshear) March 15, 2020
Beshear is expected to provide updates on Kentucky’s coronavirus cases at a 4 p.m. briefing. On Saturday, he said one case was critical and he expected he might have to share bad news.
Saturday, March 14:
8:37 p.m.: Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has announced two additional COVID-19 cases in Kentucky, bringing the state’s total to 18. Both of the new cases are in Fayette County.
Earlier today, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced additional closures in the city, including all libraries, community centers, some indoor portions of the Louisville Zoo and the Mary T. Meagher Aquatic Center. Here’s more.
4:32 p.m.: Gov. Andy Beshear says there are now 16 confirmed coronavirus cases in Kentucky. The cases are in Harrison, Fayette, Jefferson, Nelson (with Meade Co. connections), Montgomery and Bourbon counties. Four are in Jefferson County. Additionally, Beshear says he is awaiting the results of 31 more tests, and may know more later tonight.
Beshear says he’s asking all Kentucky hospitals to cease all elective procedures by close of business on Wednesday.
“We need all the capacity we can to deal with the cases we believe we will see,” he said.
All Kentucky schools are closed for at least the next two weeks; Beshear said he’s asking child care facilities to prepare emergency plans, and plan to be ready to close within 72 hours notice.
Beshear added that in the confirmed COVID-19 case in Nelson County, the individual refused to self-isolate. He said they left the hospital against medical advice and refused to self-quarantine. Beshear said they have been forced into isolation in their home.
He also provided an update of the Kentucky passengers on the Grand Princess: 14 are at one Air Force Base, two are at another. He says the 14 are expected to be back home tomorrow. – Erica Peterson
1:56 p.m.: Kentucky is among states with the largest share of adults age 18 and older at higher risk of serious illness if infected with coronavirus. That’s according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation that found 45% of adults in Kentucky are at a higher risk of serious illness if infected due to old age or underlying health conditions.
The World Health Organization says the majority of people infected with coronavirus will not show symptoms or will not require major medical treatment. Older adults and people with other medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease are more likely to become seriously ill if infected with coronavirus.
The study found that, nationwide, 4 in 10 adults fall in this higher risk category. Between 40 and 45% of adults in Ohio and Indiana are at a higher risk if infected. – Jared Bennett
11:38 a.m.: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Indiana has risen to 15, all in the central or northern parts of the state.
9:00 a.m.: Good morning! Yesterday brought more school closures and cancellation, as state leaders urged Kentuckians to limit contact with others (“social distancing”) and wash hands frequently to prevent the spread of COVID-19 caused by the new coronavirus.
Some fresh reading for this morning: the region’s hospitals and local public health departments say years of underfunding mean they’re offering diminished services in the face of this newest public health crisis. And if you’re facing two or three or four weeks of having your children at home (perhaps while you’re trying to work), that’s a problem shared by families across the region.
Mayor Greg Fischer and Metro Public Health’s Medical Director Lori Caloia will be on Facebook Live at 10 a.m. to answer your questions. And we’ll bring you updates throughout the day, including from Gov. Andy Beshear’s scheduled 4 p.m. update. – Erica Peterson
Friday, March 13:
6:04 p.m.: Gov. Andy Beshear says that all of Kentucky’s 172 public school districts will shut down for two weeks, per his recommendation on Thursday for them to do so amid the coronavirus pandemic. Beshear also said that at least three more Kentuckians have tested positive for the disease, bringing the state’s total to at least 14.
One of the positive cases is from Montgomery County, about 30 miles east of Lexington. There are now four Kentucky counties with confirmed cases — Jefferson, Fayette, Harrison and Montgomery.
In addition to the state lab in Frankfort, two other labs have begun to test potential coronavirus cases in Kentucky — one at the University of Louisville and another at LabCorp, a private diagnostic company.
Beshear said the additional labs have created much-need testing bandwidth, but that compiling results from different labs had created some confusion about totals.
“This is something entirely new for this country and this state and we’re doing the best we can to compile all the information coming from different places,” Beshear said.
Beshear said that three cases tested at U of L came back positive on Friday, but that two of them might have come from already-known patients.
Beshear also announced that the first confirmed coronavirus patient, a 27 year-old woman from Harrison County, had been released from UK Chandler Hospital after full recovery. – Ryland Barton
5:46 p.m.: Mayor Greg Fischer said Friday he had not been tested for coronavirus and that Louisville Metro Government had no employees in isolation. Still, Metro is implementing an emergency paid sick leave plan for employees who are under medically-directed isolation. Fischer issued an executive order Friday to allow employees who are symptomatic of coronavirus to take up to 10 paid sick days. If employees need more than 10 days, they can use accrued sick leave. The order, which will be in effect for 30 days, also encourages telework when appropriate. Department heads will have discretion in determining how employees will comply with social distancing and other guidelines while continuing to provide city services.
5:29 p.m.: Gov. Beshear says there are at least three new cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky, but there could be as many as five. That would bring the state total to 14 to 16 cases.
5:00 p.m.: Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear is scheduled to give another update on the state’s coronavirus response.
4:33 p.m.: Senior centers across Kentucky will be closing after Gov. Andy Beshear’s recommendation of the measure earlier Friday to limit exposure of the elderly to coronavirus.
In Louisville, the Metro Office of Resilience and Community Services plans to help those who rely on such centers for food through a frozen meals program starting on Tuesday, March 17. Adults 60 and older will be eligible to receive one box of five frozen meals per week. Meal pickup will be available between 10 a.m. and noon on weekdays at different community locations each day on a first come, first serve basis. Those interested can call 502-574-5223 for more information.
Mayor Greg Fischer said the program would distribute 26,000 meals through April 3. – Amina Elahi
3:46 p.m.: Canceled conferences and events in Louisville in response to the coronavirus has caused an estimated economic loss of $57.6 million.
Louisville Tourism officials released the information in a press release, adding that 14 organizations canceled events scheduled for the coming weeks. Two of those organizations — the Mid-America Trucking show and Vex Robotics World Championship — represent around 86% of the loss.
“This is a devastating loss to our city,” Louisville Tourism President and CEO Karen Williams said. “We will work through this and come out on the other side. Louisville has, and will continue to be, a great destination for leisure business and conventions.”
Some Kentucky Derby festival events have also been postponed, and Churchill Downs officials reported they are weighing whether to postpone the Kentucky Derby race.
Williams said she expects more cancellations going forward, and her staff are working to book more groups. She said it will be difficult to re-book larger groups like Mid-America Trucking and Vex Robotics.
For updates on coronavirus-related cancellations, click here. – Kyeland Jackson
2:30 p.m.: UK HealthCare has confirmed that Kentucky’s first known coronavirus patient has recovered and been discharged from the hospital.
1:40 p.m.: The Louisville Water company is suspending water shut-offs for failure to pay until further notice, an official with the utility confirmed Friday.
About 2,000 people have their water service shut-off each month, but as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads and officials encourage residents to maintain good hygiene the city’s water company will cease all shut-offs for residents who cannot afford to pay their bill, said Vince Guenthner, a senior utilities consultant with Louisville Water.
Residents do not need to take any action to ensure they won’t have their water shut-off; Guenthner said the utility simply is not executing the shut-offs.
“We’re monitoring what’s going on here with the coronavirus and the emergency that we are under … as this virus and this emergency has escalated, we internally decided that it was timely to discontinue the turn-offs,” Guenthner said.
He stressed the policy change is temporary and will not eliminate outstanding bills. Customers will still be on the hook for late bills and for the water they use during this time. Guenthner encouraged all residents to do all they can to stay current on their bill. Customers will also continue to receive their monthly bill.
The Louisville Water Company provided water to more than 250,000 residential customers in 2018, according to the companies annual report. The average residential monthly bill is about $22. – Jacob Ryan
12:51 p.m.: New numbers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: there are 1,629 cases in 46 states and D.C. Forty-one people have died from COVID-19.
12:34 p.m.: YMCA childcare is canceled for the next several weeks. In Jefferson County, child care is suspended until spring break; a decision about spring break camp hasn’t been made yet. In Floyd County, Indiana, YMCA spring break camp has been canceled.
11:40 a.m.: Schools in Floyd County, Indiana will be closed starting Monday, March 16 through Monday, March 30. Students had already been scheduled to be on spring break for nine days during that time period. Here’s a list of current school closings.
11:00 a.m. Do you have questions about the coronavirus, and the state and city’s response to it? Have stories to share about coping with working from home, child care logistics or trying to get tested for COVID-19? WFPL’s In Conversation is live and we’d love to hear from you. Listen here or on 89.3 WFPL, and call us at 502-814-TALK with your questions or comments.
10:11 a.m.: Gov. Andy Beshear has announced that 195 state-supported senior centers around Kentucky will temporarily be closed to in person-activities in response to coronavirus.
Using funds available because of the declared state of emergency, the centers will still provide meals to citizens either through home delivery or having them available for pick-up, Beshear said.
“We need to try to provide every meal that would’ve been provided to a senior at a senior center to make sure they get it one way or another,” Beshear said.
Senior centers provide meals, health and fitness programs, recreational activities and other programs for Kentuckians. Centers in Harrison, Fayette and Nicholas counties have already closed.
Beshear announced that Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance, the state’s largest issuer of workers’ compensation insurance that contracts with many state agencies, will provide wage replacement benefits to first responders who have to be quarantined due to coronavirus.
“That should also give confidence to our healthcare employees that are out there,” Beshear said. “If they end up having to be at home because of their work we’re going to take care of them.”
Beshear also announced that he was issuing a guidance to all state boards and commissions to stop holding in-person meetings and to conduct business via teleconference. Beshear said that he had consulted with the Kentucky Press Association and that holding meetings remotely would comply with the state’s open meetings laws.
“It’s the very best we can do,” Beshear said.
– Ryland Barton
8:55 a.m.: At 9 a.m., Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear is set to give another update to the state’s response to the pandemic with Steven Stack, the commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health.
8:32 a.m.: The current number of positive coronavirus tests in Kentucky and Indiana remains at 11 and 12, respectively. Yesterday saw a wave of cancellations; everything from some school districts (including JCPS, starting Monday) to some early Derby Festival events, college and high school basketball tournaments and some worship services.
Courts will be canceled come Monday, per an order signed last night. Here’s what the scene looked like yesterday at the Jefferson County Courthouse.
Like many people in Louisville, the WFPL News staff is working remotely when possible as a precautionary measure. If you want to reach us to share your story, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear will give another update around 9 a.m.; we’ll bring you that here on this page and on 89.3 WFPL.
Thursday, March 12:
9:16 p.m.: There are now 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky.
8:30 p.m.: Archdiocese of Louisville Catholic Schools will be closed Monday, March 16, 2020 through Friday, April 3, 2020 in response to Governor Andy Beshear’s recommendation that all Kentucky schools close as one of several preventive measures to address the COVID-19 outbreak. All Catholic school activities are also canceled during this time. – Jess Clark
6:57 p.m.: Leaders of the Kentucky legislature say they won’t conduct business on Friday or Monday in response to the coronavirus.
In a joint statement from the Republican and Democratic leaders of the state House and Senate, lawmakers said they would likely reconvene on Tuesday but that the break would allow them to “evaluate safety procedures as we move through the remainder of session.”
Lawmakers have 14 more working days in this year’s session, which is required to end by the end of April 15th.
The main task lawmakers have to complete during the session is write a two-year state budget, though they are considering hundreds of other pieces of legislation.
Hundreds of people work in the state Capitol in Frankfort every day during the legislative session. Building administrators have taken only preliminary precautions to address coronavirus like distancing chairs in committee rooms and closing the cafeteria eating area. – Ryland Barton
6:10 p.m.: Jefferson County Public Schools will close March 16 until April 6. Lunches will be available to all students at 35 community sites that will be on JCPS’ website.
5:43 p.m.: Gov. Andy Beshear recommended closing all schools across the state – public and private – to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He’s asking schools to close Monday Mar. 16, and stay closed for two weeks.
“This is a big but necessary step,” Beshear said. “Announcing it gives our superintendents, principals, teachers and parents time to prepare and it will give our schools time to provide the at homes assignments and guidance that are needed.”
Beshear joins the governors of Ohio and Maryland in calling for statewide school closures.
As we reported earlier today, not all of Kentucky’s school districts (including its two largest, Jefferson and Fayette counties) are ready with Non-Traditional Instruction plans.
5:03 p.m.: Gov. Andy Beshear says there are two more probable positive tests in Kentucky. One is in Jefferson County and one in Fayette County.
4:27 p.m.: The NCAA has canceled all remaining championships, including the men’s basketball tournament.
— NCAA (@NCAA) March 12, 2020
3:44 p.m.: The Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky is urging its congregations to suspend worship services and other gatherings for the next two weeks, according to a statement released Thursday afternoon.
Bishop Terry White said the decision followed a conference call with Gov. Andy Beshear and members of his COVID-19 task force.
“Responding to the reality of the Coronavirus in our communities is a profoundly pastoral matter which requires the flexibility Episcopalians are known for when we are at our best,” White said. “Different situations and contexts may call for different responses. I join Bishop Van Koevering in humbly inviting you to practice a Lenten fast from public worship, meetings, and social gatherings as an act of love toward your neighbor, especially those who are most vulnerable to the risk factors of this virus.” – Kate Howard
3:04 p.m.: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has announced a three week spring break for the state’s children, starting Monday.
We have today again consulted with experts, so we are announcing today that children in the state will have an extended spring break of 3 weeks. We will review it afterwards. This will begin on Monday.
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) March 12, 2020
2:45 p.m.: Houses of worship in the Louisville area are taking varying approaches to services as the weekend approaches. On Wednesday, Gov. Andy Beshear encouraged congregations to cancel upcoming services to prevent further spread.
Southeast Christian Church, which previously said it would hold most services, announced Thursday afternoon it is suspending “all large in-person gatherings” and instead meeting exclusively online through Sunday on YouTube, Facebook and its website.
Beargrass Christian Church is also canceling all services and events starting Friday at 2 p.m. through Monday. “We make this decision not out of fear but out of love for all,” the church said in a press release.
Meanwhile, others in the community are continuing with services and activities.
The Archdiocese of Louisville is not canceling services. In a directive Wednesday, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz wrote, “I want individuals who feel vulnerable, especially senior citizens or those with underlying health conditions, to know that they are not obligated to attend Sunday Mass.” Masses this weekend will be available to stream online and on TV. The Archdiocese is letting individual parishes decide whether to continue holding fish fries.
Rabbi Joe Rooks Rapport of the Temple on Brownsboro Rd. will proceed with smaller services and activities this weekend while encouraging those over 60 or with underlying medical conditions to participate via livestream when possible. “If you’re going to be going out to a restaurant, working out at the gym, going to work, going to school, then the social contact associated with going to services isn’t unique in that regard as particularly dangerous,” he said.
Rapport said he agreed with Gov. Beshear that people should avoid large crowds, which is why the Temple is rescheduling larger events for now. – Amina Elahi
1:54 p.m.: Six Kentucky school districts have closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Harrison County Schools was the first district to close, after three confirmed cases in the community. On Thursday morning, Owen County Schools announced it would close for the day after a school employee was potentially exposed to the virus. Boyle County Schools announced Thursday afternoon they would close through April 10 as a preventative measure. Boone County, Lincoln County and Danville Independent will also close.
Yesterday, Gov. Andy Beshear said schools need to be prepared to close within 72 hours, but some districts are more prepared than others. Kentucky Department of Education spokeswoman Toni Konz Tatman suggested the governor may be on the verge of announcing school closures.
“Any closures that will happen in the near future will be done on strong recommendation by the governor,” Konz Tatman said.
Previously the department had been directing districts to rely on their local health departments. – Jess Clark
1:09 p.m.: The status of the home opener for LouCity FC, the professional men’s soccer team, is in question, a spokesman for the team said following the United Soccer League’s announcement that it is suspending the 2020 season for 30 days. Howie Lindsay with LouCity said in an email, “30 days from today is April 11 so we are seeking clarity from the league. The team will continue to train.” – Amina Elahi
12:30 p.m.: As of Thursday morning, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky remains at 8. However, a Humana employee in Louisville has received a presumptive positive from a non-certified lab, Gov. Andy Beshear said during a 12:00 briefing. Regardless, the governor says the number of cases will rise and Kentuckians should anticipate ongoing disruption to their everyday lives for at least the next couple months.
Beshear says 16 Kentucky residents who were aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship will return to the state. The National Guard will escort the residents. All of them have tested negative for COVID-19 and will remain under self-quarantine for 14 days following their return, Beshear said. – Ryan Van Velzer
12:12 p.m.: The ACC, SEC, AAC and Big Ten have all canceled their conference tournaments, citing the spread of the coronavirus.
The University of Louisville is part of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and was scheduled to play Syracuse on Thursday night.
The Courier Journal reports University of Louisville athletics director Vince Tyra will offer more details at 1 p.m.
— ACC Men’s Basketball (@accmbb) March 12, 2020
ALERT: Based on the latest developments and the continued spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Southeastern Conference today announced the cancellation of the remainder of the 2020 Men’s Basketball Tournament in Nashville.
— Southeastern Conference (@SEC) March 12, 2020
11:18 a.m.: The Indiana State Department of Health has confirmed two more COVID-19 cases in Indiana, bringing the state’s total to 12.
11:07 a.m.: In the wake of Gov. Andy Beshear’s call for canceling religious services, the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky is still weighing “the very real public health concerns alongside the nourishment Christians receive” at church.
The Rev. Canon. Amy Real Coultas, Canon to the Ordinary for the Kentucky diocese, said in an emailed statement Wednesday evening that the diocese and church leaders are in frequent conversation about its next steps.
“We do believe God has given us the gift of wisdom and science to provide markers for how to move forward,” Coultas said.
She encouraged all people to follow CDC recommendations, and that individuals who are at high risk in contracting the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 to avoid gatherings that put them in close proximity to others.
At least three cases have been diagnosed in attendees of a Louisville conference last month of Episcopal clergy called CEEP. In the first case, a Washington, D.C. pastor began feeling sick a couple days after leaving Louisville. DC Health officials said he posed no risk since he was asymptomatic during the Louisville conference. But two other cases have been diagnosed since then in conference attendees.
Coultas said the Kentucky diocese hasn’t gotten any additional information from CEEP or public health officials since they were told the DC case posed no risk. – Kate Howard
10:11 a.m.: Humana spokeswoman Kate Marx confirmed via email that one of the company’s employees who works in the Waterside building has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19. Here’s the statement:
“As the coronavirus situation evolves, we’ve been focused on two guiding principles: protecting the health and well-being of our teammates and minimizing any potential disruption to our ability to care for members and patients.
“We can confirm that one of our employees who works in the Waterside building has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19. We are unable to share further detail given patient privacy and confidentiality. Out of an abundance of caution, employees who work in proximity to this individual have been notified and have been asked to self-quarantine and follow CDC guidelines. They are out on leave and are being paid as usual.”
9:28 a.m.: The Courier Journal is reporting that a Humana employee in Louisville has tested positive for the coronavirus. According to the newspaper, Humana told employees in an email this morning they should work from home if able.
8:00 a.m.: Yesterday, we saw the cancellation — or suggested cancellation — of Kentucky worship services and the Louisville St. Patrick’s Day parade. The NCAA announced it wouldn’t have fans at this year’s tournament, the NBA suspended all games after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus and President Trump banned all travel from Europe for the next 30 days. There’s no word yet if Gov. Andy Beshear will update reporters this morning; if he does, we’ll bring it to you live here and on 89.3 WFPL.
Wednesday, March 11:
9:30 p.m.: President Trump is banning all travel from Europe to the U.S. for the next 30 days, beginning on Friday at midnight. This doesn’t apply to travelers from the United Kingdom. Here’s more from NPR.
5:10 p.m.: There are no new cases of Covid-19 from the coronavirus today, according to Gov. Andy Beshear. He said he was glad he didn’t have to call any county judge-executives with news of new cases today. In his latest briefing, the governor continued to urge Kentuckians to look out for each other and to prepare for additional cases. He said he met with school superintendents but is not asking schools to close at this point. He did say legislation is moving in the General Assembly that would add 10 extra days to the school calendar which would not have to be made up. He says he believes those days will be needed eventually. – Eleanor Klibanoff
4:53 p.m.: Now it’s official: NCAA President Mark Emmert says NCAA Division I basketball tournament games will be played without fans in the arenas because of concerns about the spread of coronavirus. Emmert says he made the decision to conduct both the men’s and women’s tournaments, which begin next week, with only essential staff and limited family in attendance. – Associated Press
4:52 p.m.: No St. Patrick’s Day parade this weekend. John O’Dwyer, president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, whose charitable arm runs the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade said the event, which was scheduled for this Saturday, will be postponed. “We will look forward and try to set this up again in the future,” O’Dwyer said at a press conference with Mayor Greg Fischer and other officials. “It’s important not just for the wellbeing and the fun of the community, but there are a lot of businesses that run their business plan around that day…so we are not going to give up the cause, we’re just going to do it in a safe manner.” – Amina Elahi
4:45 p.m.: Mayor Greg Fischer announced there are no additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Louisville at this time. He said the patient diagnosed over the weekend has been discharged from Norton Brownsboro Hospital and will complete isolation at home. – Amina Elahi
4:31 p.m.: Sorry basketball fans: the NCAA is recommending not having this year’s tournament open to the public. Full statement:
“The NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel recognizes the fluidity of COVID-19 and its impact on hosting events in a public space. COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in the United States, and behavioral risk mitigation strategies are the best option for slowing the spread of this disease. This is especially important because mildly symptomatic individuals can transmit COVID-19. Given these considerations, coupled with a more unfavorable outcome of COVID-19 in older adults – especially those with underlying chronic medical conditions – we recommend against sporting events open to the public. We do believe sport events can take place with only essential personnel and limited family attendance, and this protects our players, employees, and fans.”
2:59 p.m.: Some hospitals and long-term care facilities in Kentucky are restricting visitors to help stem the spread of coronavirus among the most vulnerable populations.
In southern Kentucky, The Medical Center, which owns the Cal Turner Rehab and Specialty Care facility in Scottsville, Kentucky is barring visitors except those seeing patients in end of life care. TJ Samson Community Hospital in Glasgow is also restricting visitors in its skilled nursing unit.
The decisions follow an executive order by Governor Andy Beshear aimed at protecting the most vulnerable populations from potential exposure to coronavirus. – Lisa Autry, WKU Public Radio
2:22 p.m.: The University of Louisville announced Wednesday it is extending spring break through March 17. Starting Wednesday, March 18, through April 5, all classes will be delivered remotely. The University of Kentucky will remain open, but instruction will continue through online or other alternatives from March 23 through April 3.
Bellarmine University announced Wednesday that face-to-face classes and activities are suspended from Thursday, March 12, until Wednesday, March 18, when courses will resume online or electronically. The administration anticipates students returning to classrooms on April 1, but that is subject to change.
Here’s a list of other colleges and university closures in the region from the Ohio Valley ReSource.
1:59 p.m.: A third attendee at the CEEP conference in Louisville has been diagnosed with coronavirus, according to a statement from the Omni Louisville Hotel, which hosted the conference. General Manager Scott Stuckey said in the statement that the hotel remains in contact with the leadership from the conference, and has notified the Louisville health department about this development. – Eleanor Klibanoff
1:37 p.m.: Our friends at Do502 are keeping an up-to-date list of all the events around town that are being canceled due to concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus. Check it out here, and let them know if you hear of another cancellation.
12:32 p.m.: The World Health Organization has officially characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic.
🚨 BREAKING 🚨
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) March 11, 2020
“Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
11:53 a.m.: A second attendee of a Louisville conference has been diagnosed with coronavirus. Rev. Dr. Robert Pace, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, Texas, has tested positive and is hospitalized in isolation, according to the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. Pace attended the Conference of Endowed Episcopal Parishes (CEEP) Network conference at the Omni Louisville Hotel in late February. On Monday, DC Health issued a statement saying that Rector Rev. Tim Cole, the first confirmed coronavirus case in Washington, D.C., had been asymptomatic at the conference and posed no risk to conference attendees. – Eleanor Klibanoff
11:10 a.m.: Indiana’s number of reported cases of COVID-19 is up to 10.
11:00 a.m.: Derby is big business for Louisville. Louisville Tourism projects the economic impact in the region of this year’s Derby and Oaks will be more than $394 million, and expects the events to draw more than 256,000 attendees. The agency believes Thunder will have an additional value of more than $16 million and attract 725,000 attendees. So….what would the impact be if Derby is cancelled? What about if it goes on, and nobody shows up?
9:19 a.m. As of Wednesday morning there are no new cases of COVID-19 from the coronavirus in Kentucky. The number of cases remains at eight, according to Gov. Andy Beshear. In his morning briefing, Beshear said 54 tests have been administered, 46 have returned negative for the virus, with eight being positive.
He announced new steps to contain the spread of the virus, saying that it’s clear the virus has been community spread. Beshear announced that the state is temporarily canceling visitation at state prisons and facilities.
The governor also recommended that all places of worship cancel services this week.
He and his staff continued to stress maintaining proper hygiene. The most strenuous recommendation from the governor? Do not go on cruises. – Mike Edgerly
Tuesday, March 10:
5:00 p.m. Gov. Andy Beshear says there are now eight positive cases of COVID-19 from the coronavirus. The additional two cases are in Harrison County and are connected, according to the governor. Apart from Harrison County, two of the cases are in Fayette County and one in Jefferson County. – Mike Edgerly
4:06 p.m.: Indiana University is suspending classroom teaching for the two weeks following the school’s spring break, which starts next week. In a letter sent today, President Michael A. McRobbie said students would be able to continue work virtually whenever possible.
“The steps that we are taking are necessary to help ensure the continuing good health of our community,” he wrote. “On behalf of Indiana University, I am grateful to all of you in advance for your patience, support and dedication as we work together to energetically address the problems associated with COVID-19.”
The school also launched a website with daily updates on the situation.
3:00 p.m.: The Louisville jail will move to limit visits to video conferences. At a briefing Tuesday, Mayor Greg Fischer said he anticipated visits would be restricted, similar to how nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are preventing visitors. “I’m not sure if that’s in place at this moment. But naturally, we’re going to try that same type of precaution (at Metro Corrections),” he said.
The Corrections website says, “Visitation is conducted by video conferencing.” It is not clear when this change went into effect.
Fischer’s spokeswoman Jean Fischer said in an email, “DOC visitation is always non-contact, so there is no interruption at this time.” – Amina Elahi
2:26 p.m.: Baptist Health is putting new visitor rules in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus. At its hospitals in Louisville, La Grange and New Albany patients in Intensive Care Units, Telemetry and Medical-Surgery units will only be allowed two visitors at a time from immediate family. Guides for visitors to maternity and NICU are available from each hospital.
In a release sent out on Tuesday, Baptist Health stressed that anyone with fever, runny nose, body aches or respiratory symptoms should not visit.
Baptist Health is allowing clergy for palliative, emergent and hospice care along with immediate family. – Mike Edgerly
2:00 p.m.: In a briefing Tuesday, Louisville officials offered additional limited details about the Jefferson County patient diagnosed with COVID-19. In his daily press briefing, Mayor Greg Fischer said the patient is a 69-year-old man. “He’s a traveler and what we mean by that is this is a person that’s been moving around the country, maybe outside of the country as well, as opposed to just community-spread,” Fischer said, referring to how the man may have contracted the virus.
Dr. Sarah Moyer, director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, confirmed the patient flew into Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport and said airport employees and tenants were informed that the patient passed through there and presented a low risk. She said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is responsible for informing anyone on the flight who may have been in close contact with the patient.
Moyer said her department was aware of all the people the patient came into contact with after arriving in Louisville and before going to the hospital, and that they had followed up with those people. She did not provide more details, except to say there were no places for the public to avoid tied to this particular case. – Amina Elahi
1:30 p.m.: A Kentucky jail has been placed on lockdown after several inmates became sick.
Bullitt County Detention Center Chief Deputy Carl Reesor told WDRB-TV that six inmates have a high fever and several others are exhibiting flu-like symptoms. He said the lockdown began Tuesday morning and no one is being allowed in or out of the facility.
Reesor says nurses are administering tests to identify the illness. According to the jail’s website, there were about 300 inmates housed in the facility Tuesday. Calls to the jail by The Associated Press and WFPL News were not answered. – The Associated Press
1:00 p.m.: Berea College, a private liberal arts institution in Madison County, announced on Tuesday that it would cancel classes for the rest of the semester due to worries about its ability to respond to the coronavirus.
In a statement, Berea President Lyle Roelofs said the college would not be able to assure “student and employee safety in the circumstance of a case of COVID-19 occurring on campus.”
Classes will be canceled at the end of the day on Friday and students have been asked to move out by Saturday, though accommodations can be provided to students experiencing hardships. – Ryland Barton
“There is no identified risk of exposure to CEEP conference attendees as a result of contact with this case,” DC Health said in a statement. – Eleanor Klibanoff
10:00 a.m. In his morning briefing, Gov. Andy Beshear told reporters that he expects testing to ramp up in the coming days, and the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state to increase. Cabinet officials announced new guidance to prevent the spread of the virus in nursing homes and long-term care facilities in the state—restricting visitors to long-term care facilities.
The restrictions are mandatory for state-run facilities, but the governor strongly recommended that all long-term care facilities and nursing homes restrict access to visitors to limit the spread of COVID-19. – Ryan Van Velzer
6:00 a.m.: In Kentucky, nursing homes and their residents are especially vulnerable to the new coronavirus. Federal data show that infection control has been a problem at nursing homes across Kentucky, and facilities are already running low on protective gear and qualified staff.
Monday, March 9
State officials warn there are signs coronavirus is spreading in the community, but too early to predict how far it will spread. Gov. Andy Beshear issues an executive order to waive virus testing fees for those who are state employees or have private health insurance; this is expected to affect 460,000 Kentuckians. There are two more confirmed cases of COVID-19, both in Harrison County, bringing the state total to six.
Sunday, March 8
Gov. Andy Beshear confirms three more confirmed cases of coronavirus in Kentucky, bringing the state total to four. Patients are in Jefferson, Fayette and Harrison counties, and all are being treated in isolation. State officials haven’t released any information on how individuals contracted the virus.
In Washington D.C., a pastor gets sick after returning from a conference in Louisville in late February.
Saturday, March 7
The state’s first patient is a Harrison County resident, in treatment at UK Chandler Hospital. Harrison County schools will be closed at least part of next week; Gov. Andy Beshear recommends nursing homes close to visitors for the next week.
Nationwide, there are more than 300 confirmed coronavirus cases. Nineteen have died, with 14 associated with a nursing home near Seattle.
Friday, March 6
Kentucky has its first confirmed case of COVID-19 from coronavirus. The patient is in isolation in the hospital in Lexington, being treated. Of 10 people tested, this was the state’s first positive test. Indiana also confirms its first case of the virus.