Beshear announces ramp-up of coronavirus testing

Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced plans Wednesday to ramp
up coronavirus testing as he considers a timetable to start reopening
the state’s battered economy.

governor announced that new drive-thru testing locations, in a
partnership with Kroger, will open next week in the state’s two largest
cities — Louisville and Lexington — as well as in Owensboro and Bowling
Green. The testing will be offered to the general public.

The goal is to expand to about 20,000 tests per week statewide, Beshear said during his daily briefing. So far, about 36,000 people have been tested in Kentucky, he said. It will take time to reach that goal, but the state had a 7% increase in testing from Tuesday to Wednesday, he said.

in Kentucky and everywhere has been a challenge, and we and every other
state continue to worry,” Beshear said. “But also to work to ensure we
can increase our capacity day over day.”

governor has listed increased testing as one of the guidelines to meet
before reopening a cross-section of Kentucky businesses now shuttered to
try to contain the virus’s spread.

testing ramp-up was announced as Beshear reported 14 more virus-related
deaths in Kentucky, raising the statewide death count to 185 since the
pandemic began. Total virus cases approached 3,400 statewide as the
governor announced nearly 200 more cases. The governor reiterated that
the numbers are indicating that the state’s overall virus cases appear
to be plateauing.

More than 1,300 people have recovered from COVID-19 in Kentucky, he said.

most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such
as fever and cough that clear up in weeks. For some, it can cause
life-threatening illness.

is reaching out to local leaders and business groups, asking for their
input in formulating plans to gradually reopen the state’s economy. The
governor said Wednesday that his office has already received several
proposals, which he termed as “well thought out.”

gives me a lot of hope that we will move through this in a smart,
deliberate and gradual fashion,” he said. “Where we can do everything we
can to prevent a future spike (in virus cases), which will open up our
economy in a way to where I believe we can be more successful than many
others who are currently taking different steps.”

Beshear announced the state’s “single-largest testing commitment” since the pandemic began.

Testing sites will open starting Monday in or near predominantly black neighborhoods in Louisville and Lexington, he said. Minorities have been hit disproportionately hard by the virus, he said.

in Lexington, another new testing site will open Friday and run seven
days a week in partnership with Walgreens, the governor said.

testing in the ongoing partnership with Kroger is underway this week in
Madisonville, Paducah, Somerset and Pikeville.

Beshear announced that an initial phase of resuming health care
services currently halted because of the virus will start next week. The
initial easing of restrictions will allow for resumption of such
services as diagnostic and radiology testing, he said. The governor
halted elective medical procedures to ensure hospitals have enough
capacity and personal protective equipment to deal with the virus.

said his administration is close to reaching an agreement on guidelines
for the gradual reopening of many hospital and health care services.

“We know that it’s incredibly important, that it’s hit the bottom line of our health care institutions,” the governor said.

another development, state police on Tuesday arrested a Louisville man
accused of posting statements on social media that appeared to threaten
Beshear. Police traced the statements to 53-year-old Greg Troutman, a
lawyer. He was charged with third-degree terroristic threatening.
Troutman’s attorney, Steve Romines, told WDRB-TV that his client’s post was “not a threat.”

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Source: Mountain Top