This blog will be updated daily with the latest information on COVID-19 in Kentucky. You can also see the newest stories in our Coronavirus section.
Saturday, March 21
A third person has died from coronavirus in Kentucky. The governor identified the person as a 67-year-old man in Anderson County.
Kentucky has 87 confirmed cases so far. Included in the new cases mentioned Saturday are a 54-year-old female and 48-year-old female from Jefferson Co. as well as a 36-year-old male from Spencer Co. Beshear said he plans to light the governor's mansion green every night after a death as a show of support.
"Green is the color of compassion. It's also the color of empathy. It's also a color of renewal," he said.
Governor Beshear didn't give a clear idea of whether or not he'd issue a "shelter in place" order in Kentucky anytime soon. He said the state has already taken lots of steps to increase social distancing.
"Some of these states that are now using this term are including things they haven't done for the first time like closing bars and restaurants, or forward-facing businesses, or day cares, or limiting visitation to senior centers, I mean we've been aggressive," he said. "What we will be talking about and what we will have to take some steps moving forward on is just limiting our direct interactions with people."
If you started an unemployment insurance application this week, The governor asks you to have it complete by midnight Saturday to make sure the data is saved.
"It will make sure that you don't have to go back. it'll make sure you don't have to fill anything out a second time. these are already a frustrating enough time, we want to make sure you get those in," he said.
Gov. Beshear also said Saturday Kentucky's Secretary of State is "considering" all mail-in ballots for Kentucky's primary election. The date was already pushed back to June 23rd.
"I think its a good sign that our Secretary of State is putting aside philosophy and figuring out how we can carry this out at a time when it's possible at that point when it's not safe for poll workers to be there," Beshear said. "Whether I have to go to Congress, whether I've got to use emergency powers in this state, whether we have to look at options like vote-in mailing, I'm not going to put poll workers in a dangerous place and I'm not going to create crowds and lines if it's not safe to do so."
In a positive note, the governor invites everyone to join together in a show of faith and support to ring bells Sunday morning at 10 a.m. due to houses of worship unable to meet in person right now.
Friday, March 20:
5 p.m. Gov. Andy Beshear said there are now 63 cases of coronavirus in Kentucky.
Beshear asked all schools to close through Friday, April 17. The change would mean Kentucky students would not return to class until Monday, April 20.
The tax deadline was extended to July 15, both for state and federal taxes.
4 p.m. Jefferson County has 25 cases of coronavirus, Mayor Greg Fischer said. The number includes two people under 18, an 8-month-old and a 17-year-old. A 6-year-old reported in Jefferson County is not from Louisville, but is being treated in the city.
3 p.m. A Hardin County elementary school student has tested positive for coronavirus, the district confirmed to WHAS11.
The News-Enterprise first reported a Heartland Elementary School student was diagnosed with the first case of COVID-19 in Hardin County. John Wright with Hardin County Schools confirmed the report, and said parents of students who attend the school received a one-call.
Superintendent Terrie Morgan said the student exhibited no symptoms of the virus before school was canceled.
12:40 p.m. A third Humana employee has tested positive for COVID-19 and is receiving treatment, Humana confirmed to WHAS11. The employee is the second employee at Humana's Waterside building to test positive.
Individuals within a defined proximity of all confirmed cases have been informed and were placed on paid leave.
"Humana has strongly encouraged all employees who are able to work from home to do so," Kate Marx with Humana Corporate Communications said. "We also continue to coordinate closely with public health authorities and take appropriate steps to protect our employees and members."
9 a.m. Solaris Diagnostics, a CLIA certified clinical laboratory in Nicholasville is now receiving and evaluating tests for COVID-19. Solaris Diagnostics is an accredited testing facility serving clinicians and health care providers. The clinical lab said they began testing for the coronavirus on March 16. Read more here.
Kentucky State Parks have implemented the following precautionary measures to keep park visitors and staff healthy:
- Food services are limited to carry-out only. No food will be served in restaurant dining rooms and lounges and bars are closed.
- Hidden Rivers Restaurant at Blue Lick's Battlefield State Park will remain closed.
- History homes and museums remain open per winter and spring schedules.
- All scheduled park events have been canceled or postponed through April 30.
All remaining Girl Scout cookie booths have been canceled, leaving the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana with unsold cookies. The board has extended the online and direct connection part of the Operation: Cookie program through May 1. You can purchase cookies through your local troop.
All cookies sold through Operation: Cookie between March 18 and May 1 will go to first responders, medical professionals and local food pantries supporting the COVID-19 outbreak. If you don't have a local troop and still want to make a cookie donation, click here.
Thursday, March 19:
8:15 p.m. First confirmed case of coronavirus has been reported in Oldham County. The patient is a female in her 60s, Teresa Gamsky, Director of Public Health at the Oldham County Health Department says.
“The patient is currently in isolation at Baptist Health La Grange. Recommended precautions are being taken to protect the patient and staff. The medical team is evaluating and monitoring the progress," a spokesperson for Baptist Health La Grange says.
5 p.m. 2nd death reported in Kentucky. 64-year-old in Jefferson County. Also, a 6-year-old has tested positive for coronavirus.
As of 5 p.m. March 19, the state’s COVID-19 patient information includes 47 who have tested positive. A second child, a 6-year-old in Jefferson County, has tested positive. A 64-year-old male in Jefferson County passed away and since tested positive. The man’s death is the second in the state connected to the virus.
Here are all 47 cases as of Thursday:
27 F Harrison, recovered
69 M Jefferson
67 F Harrison
40 F Fayette
68 M Harrison
46 M Fayette
60 M Harrison
54 F Harrison
31 F Fayette
51 M Harrison
56 M Montgomery
80 F Jefferson
68 F Jefferson
66 M Bourbon, passed away
53 M Nelson
67 F Jefferson
47 M Fayette
31 M Fayette
49 M Clark
73 F Jefferson
54 M Jefferson
51 M Montgomery
34 F Jefferson
33 F Out of State
74 M Jefferson
66 M Jefferson
69 M Lyon
88 F Bourbon
Infant Jefferson, verbal confirmation
27 F Clark
51 M Daviess
26 F Fayette
61 F Franklin
50 M Harrison
66 F Kenton
59 F Pulaski
73 M Warren
61 F Christian
45 F Jefferson
46 F Jefferson
Gov. Andy Beshear wants everyone to continue social distancing. He also wants everyone to remain positive and share good stuff on social media.
Companies need to let people who can--work from home. Gov. Beshear said he doesn't want to get the government involved to make companies spread people out, but will if it comes to that.
Government building closed to in-person traffic.
Groceries and food chains are safe. We won't run out. Buy for a week, not for a month.
All social gatherings should stop! This includes churches and other organizations.
No evidence it can travel from pets to people. Gov. Beshear says if your pet is close to someone, then you're not practicing social distancing.
Keep unemployment claims coming. They're repurposing and reassigning government workers who are working from home to make sure the claim applications are processed.
4 p.m. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer confirmed there are 17 cases of COVID-19 in Jefferson County as of 2 p.m. He has also started an initiative called "Lift Up Lou" that is designed to keep encouraging and engaging people while combating coronavirus.
Lift Up Lou will provide things to do, and encourage healthy ways to reduce stress through eating, exercises and other activities. More information can be found at LiftUpLou.com.
Fischer said there has been no official discussion about shelter-in-place at this time, but continued to recommend social distancing, teleworking and landlords taking rent month-by-month.
3 p.m The WHAS Crusade for Children made a tough decision and has decided to re-schedule the 2020 Crusade due to coronavirus concerns. The new dates for WHAS 67th Crusade Children are Aug. 8 and 9.
2:50 p.m. GE Appliances will shut down production at Appliance Park after third shift Sunday night, March 22. The company said there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus at Appliance Park, but said it will close for one week to clean.
7 a.m. Kentucky makes it easy to apply for unemployment benefits after site crashes.
You can apply for unemployment benefits through the Kentucky Career Center by calling 502-875-0442. Office hours are Monday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. You can also call toll-free 800-648-6057 for telecommunications relay service.
You can also apply online. Website hours are Monday - Friday from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. You will be given an online form and the website will walk you through the process. Make sure you answer all of the required questions so your claim will go through properly.
Wednesday, March 18
11 p.m. Interview with coronavirus patient, Louisville philanthropist. Prominent philanthropist Christy Brown sat down with WHAS11's Doug Proffitt to discuss her symptoms and recovery after testing positive for COVID-19 on March 13. after falling ill Sunday, March 8.
The 73-year-old had attended the Speed Ball at Speed Art Museum with local leaders like Mayor Greg Fischer and Rep. John Yarmuth March 7, and later fell ill on March 8, leading them to announce self-quarantines.
5 p.m. An 8-month-old in Jefferson County has tested positive for coronavirus in Kentucky. Gov. Andy Beshear said the test is very rare, and said the baby is in "good condition."
Beshear said there are 35 COVID-19 cases in Kentucky, and one additional case for a person who is in New York.
An 88-year-old in Bourbon County, a person in their 60s in Franklin County and a female in Jefferson County have tested positive today. Beshear said he received positive tests from Clark, Warren, Kenton and Fayette County, but said he did not have demographics at this time.
He said one Montgomery County patient has been released from the hospital and is in good condition.
Beshear said all schools are now eligible for non-traditional instruction. He also said elective procedures must stop after today or it will be a mandate.
The Department of Community-Based Services will extend recipients of all public assistance programs for three months. Anyone who is now unemployed can immediately apply for Medicaid.
All charitable gaming licenses will also be suspended. The governor said bingo parlors must close immediately. Recreational and entertainment facilities like salons and gyms are expected to close today.
Bellarmine University announced that it would move to online-only instruction for the rest of the spring semester. Students are expected to move out by Saturday.
Kentucky State University has suspended in-person classes until April 13. Classes are canceled through March 22 so students and faculty can prepare for online instruction, which will begin March 23.
The Kentucky National Guard is preparing to provide support for the state. The Guard is modifying its training drills for this weekend, according to a statement.
4 p.m. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced his wife, Alexandra Gerassimides, has tested positive for coronavirus.
Fischer previously tested negative after he and Gerassimides came into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus during the Speed Ball at Speed Art Museum.
Fischer said he will be self-quarantining until March 31.
Mayor Fischer also announced the creation of an emergency response fund to quickly get resources to people and community-based organizations that are affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The "One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund" will provide flexible funding resources for rental assistance, childcare assistance, transportation aid, food access, utility assistance, pharmaceutical needs and other support through $1,000 payments to eligible households. Funds will also be made available to community-based organizations that are being hit hard by the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fischer said organizers have already built the fund to more than $3.6 million.
Households seeking assistance should call their nearest Neighborhood Place location. To find a Neighborhood Place in your area, you can call Metro311 or (502) 574-5000.
Community-based organizations seeking assistance should contact the Community Foundation of Louisville at (502) 585-4649.
If you'd like to donate to the relief fund, you can do so here: COVID-19 Response Fund.
JCPS added 13 more meal distribution sites, bringing the total to 58 across Jefferson County starting Thursday. You can see the full list of sites here.
3:45 p.m. TARC announced changes to its ride service in Louisville, beginning March 20.
The University of Louisville campus shuttle (Route #94), Second Street/airport service (Route #02), and the LouLift circulator (Routes #01 & #77) will suspend service until further notice.
The Riverport Circulator (Route #20), Preston Highway service (Route #28), Health Sciences Center Campus circulator (Route #96), and UPS service (Routes #93 and #99) will continue to operate as normal.
TARC3, the paratransit service, will also continue to operate as normal at this time. All other routes will run Saturday service schedules from Monday through Saturday, and Sunday service on Sundays until further notice.
3 p.m. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced the release of a new online form to help combat price gouging in the state.
The form prompts consumers to provide information about the suspected price gouging, including the item purchased, the price of the item, and the location where the item was purchased. The completed form is then sent to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division to review and investigate.
2 p.m. The University of Louisville has extended its online instruction through April 28, the duration of the spring semester. In an email, UofL President Neeli Bendapudi said final exams will be conducted remotely and that all students living in campus residence halls must be moved out by March 29. The Spring Commencement ceremony has been postponed.
The University of Kentucky is doing the same. UK originally announced instruction would be online through April 3, but said it will now finish the spring semester online. The school has asked students to return to their residences away from campus, and said more information will come Thursday, March 19.
1 p.m. Ford announced that it would temporarily suspend production at manufacturing sites in Mexico, Canada and the United States until March 30.
Approximately 4,100 people work at the Louisville Assembly Plant, with 3,900 hourly employees. Nearly 9,000 employees work at the Kentucky Truck Plant, with more than 8,620 of the hourly employees.
Factory workers in Louisville are worried about the same thing happening in their facilities, and some are concerned about potentially unsafe working conditions. You can read that story here.
9 a.m. The Jefferson County Clerk has suspended all in-person transactions, but will continue to offer mail-in, phone and online renewal options for drivers' licenses and voter registration.
Marriage licenses and notary oath and bonding have been suspended. Couples with scheduled wedding dates within the next 30 days can contact the Professional Licenses office at 502-574-5884.
See how one bride in Louisville is handling wedding planning in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic here.
WHAS11's Doug Proffitt spoke with philanthropist Christy Brown, a Louisville woman who tested positive for coronavirus on March 13, about her symptoms and recovery. Listen to the interview here: