LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - With COVID-19 cases still surging across the commonwealth, Governor Andy Beshear said one of the most vulnerable populations is severely at risk. In a press conference Monday, he urged people to wear a mask to protect the elderly population, especially those living in facilities.
“We shouldn’t be sacrificing our seniors because we don’t want to wear a mask,” the governor said. “We ought to be wearing a mask to protect them especially with the level we are at right now.”
Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Eric Friedlander said the state will be taking an even more aggressive approach to long-term care facilities by tightening up on communal dining and group activities.
“We have community widespread across the commonwealth,” he said. “That’s the biggest predictor of what’s going to happen and we are seeing it reflected in our facilities.”
The state is holiday visitation restrictions in place for long-term care facilities. Friedlander said if a resident leaves a facility for an outing, the resident will need to quarantine upon returning to the facility. The state is encouraging televisits and outdoor visits.
The state is also sending in National Guard members to take over duties like guest relations, COVID screening and decontaminating the facility.
There will be 10 teams spread throughout the commonwealth in the most critical areas.
While the National Guard will be stepping in statewide, Oldham County specifically has requested additional help. Oldham County Health Department Director Matt Rhodes confirmed to WAVE 3 News Tuesday that they have requested a nurse strike team to help one of the county’s long-term care facilities.
Rhodes said the county’s request was still pending Tuesday.
Friendship Health and Rehab in Pewee Valley has seen a recent spike in COVID cases both among residents and staff. According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, as of Tuesday, there are 58 cases of the virus among residents there and 23 cases among staff members. (Find the latest data here.)
KCHFS data says seven people have died from COVID-19 at the facility since March.
WAVE 3 News reached out to Friendship Health and Rehab but did not receive a call back.