Gov. Beshear, Dr. Stack: Kentucky Headed for Exponential Growth in Cases

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On Tuesday, Gov. Andy Beshear again warned Kentuckians that they must take action to stop COVID-19, as cases are increasing rapidly in the commonwealth. Families, schools, businesses and community leaders were urged to all come together and do their part.

“When we talk about our health care workers, we call them our front line of defense,” said Gov. Beshear. “But really, they’re our only line. We don’t have back up. So if we are going to truly care about them and ensure there are enough doctors and nurses to help people who are sick, we have to lower community spread.”

The White House Federal COVID-19 Report for Kentucky explained that “there is now aggressive, unrelenting, expanding broad community spread across the country, reaching most counties, without evidence of improvement, but rather further deterioration. Current mitigation efforts are inadequate and must be increased to sustain the health system for both COVID and non-COVID emergencies. We share the strong concern of Kentucky leaders that the current situation is worsening and that all Kentuckians need to do their part to stop the spread. The Governor’s active measures are commended.”

Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, shared new models that demonstrate how COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths will likely progress in the state if Kentuckians don’t take action to flatten the curve.

Dr. Stack showed the success of Kentucky’s Healthy at Home program and mask mandate in suppressing the virus and helping the state avoid an exponential increase in cases during the spring and summer. Unfortunately, he said without new action, Kentucky will likely see that exponential growth in cases in the fall and winter.

He then explained that COVID-19 is expected to be the nation’s third leading cause of death in 2020, only behind heart disease and cancer.

“This is not political. We are trying to keep people safe from a once-in-a-century pandemic,” said Dr. Stack. “If your neighbor’s house is burning down, are you going to stand idly by, or are you going to try to rescue them from the fire? I am confident that if we come together we can interrupt this third climb, but it’s got to be Team Kentucky pulling together.”

He also highlighted a video from Pikeville Medical Center CEO Donovan Blackburn.

“Our COVID-19 ICU patients range from 32 years old to 90 years old,” said Blackburn. “With 83 COVID-19 patients and climbing, we – like other hospitals in the state and region – are nearing our capacity. We are also at risk of shutting down other vital services. So that we do not overburden our hospitals and health care workers, I urge all Kentuckians to please take this seriously and mask up.”

Gov. Beshear said he will announce additional steps to combat the virus Wednesday at 4 p.m. EST.

“When you look at the severity of this, action has to be taken,” the Governor said.