LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Governor Andy Beshear confirmed in his Wednesday COVID-19 press briefing that more than 1,000 Kentuckians have died of the coronavirus since the spring.
“Over one-thousand Kentuckians are no longer with us because of a virus that had its first case in Kentucky just 6 months ago,” he said. “Compared to most states we’ve done well but lives are on the line and too many have been lost. We absolutely have to do better.”
Beshear, again, stressed the importance of wearing a face mask in public, citing a memo from the White House saying there should be a “mask requirement" in place to keep the spread of COVID-19 down.
Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said Kentucky’s death toll could be higher it not for steps taken six months ago.
“I’m very grateful that we had the opportunity to blunt the harm but the harm that’s happened was substantial nonetheless,” he said.
COVID-19 case information from Wednesday, Sept. 9:
- New cases: 667
- Deaths: 16
- Statewide total deaths: 1,004
- State overall total: 53,977
- Positivity rate: 3.84%
- Hospitalizations: 558
- Patients in intensive care: 153
- Patients on a ventilator: 76
Beshear became emotional when discussing Wednesday’s newest deaths, saying he hopes Kentuckians continue to take the virus seriously as it has been seen to impact the elderly at a higher rate.
“A lot of people like my parents in their 70s [have died], and I’m not going to consider that old, because I want a lot more time with them,” he said. “With them and my kids. Each one of these people is so much more than what we read off. I mean, they’re one of us. They’re one of us, and no matter how old they were, they deserve time."
A special event will be held Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in place of Beshear’s daily coronavirus update to honor the lives lost to COVID-19. He described it as a chance to reflect on the losses and discuss what the Commonwealth can do to continue to combat the virus moving forward.
“I intend for us to come out of it stronger and better,” Beshear said of the pandemic, again becoming emotional as he promised to help the Commonwealth rebuild into a thriving state post-outbreak. “I intend to create better jobs, better-paying jobs, better educational opportunities for all of our people to move us forward in substantial ways. [I intend] to provide more affordable healthcare to everybody, to do everything I can to make sure no one goes hungry whether it’s during a pandemic or afterward. [I intend] to build the type of world that I think my kids deserve and other people’s kids do, too. This is probably the most important thing that I will ever do in my career, and other than raising my kids, maybe my life.”
In honor of those who died, Beshear ordered flags on state buildings to fly at half-staff for the next week. He also scheduled a wreath-laying with the Kentucky State Police Honor Guard in the Capitol rotunda at 10 a.m. Thursday.
Watch the briefing below.
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