One year since first COVID case reported in Ky.; Beshear, victims remember those whose lives were lost

One year since first COVID case reported in Ky.; Beshear, victims remember those whose lives were lost

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - On the one-year anniversary since the first COVID-19 case reported in the commonwealth, Governor Beshear confirmed 840 additional cases of COVID-19 as the fight against the virus continues.

Beshear spoke at the Capitol grounds Saturday afternoon to remember the more than 4,700 Kentuckians who lost their life to the virus since the pandemic began one year ago.

“March 6th of last year was a bright sunny day, it was a Friday. But that bright sunny day would begin a long, sometimes dark year,” Beshear said. “A year ago today, March 6, 2020, marked the first case of COVID-19 reported here in Kentucky, ushering the commonwealth in the war against a deadly, once in a century global pandemic.”

The memorial at the Capitol featured many first responders, health care providers, and families of those who have lost their life due to the virus.

With tears in his eyes, Mark Tilford stood on the Capitol steps to remember his wife Arethia.

“She had a great sense of humor and a beautiful smile,” Tilford said.

The Tilfords were married for 22 years and had two boys. Arethia, a JCPS employee, worked at Lincoln Elementary for 12 years.

In November, COVID-19 ripped the couple apart.

“It was once said about my wife to know her was to love her, and that’s so true,” Tilford said.

And now, Arethia’s memory will be remembered forever.

The 4,754 flags planted on the Capitol Lawn are temporary placeholders for what will be a permanent memorial for every Kentuckian who was killed by COVID.

Included in that group, Zoneton Fire Chief Rob Orkies and Major Garry Key.

On Saturday, the department’s acting chief was there to remember his brothers on the force.

“There’s a huge hole in our hearts, the fire district and in our community. They are and will be deeply, dearly missed,” Zoneton Acting Chief Kevin Moulson said.

So will all the victims, killed by a virus that for a year has changed our lives.

While the service memorialized lives that were lost, Beshear also reminded Kentuckians of a light at the end of the tunnel, with vaccinations being rolled out faster than ever.

In Saturday’s update, Beshear confirmed an additional 840 cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky, bringing the total number of cases reported since the pandemic began to 410,184.

An additional 52 deaths due to COVID-19 were also confirmed Saturday. Total deaths due to the virus in the commonwealth is now reported at 4,806.

The state’s positivity rate hit 4.0 percent based on a seven-day rolling average.

Other information provided in Saturday’s update includes:

  • Patients currently hospitalized : 591
  • Patients currently in ICU : 171
  • Patients currently on a ventilator : 72

For additional information on positive cases and breakdowns on county, race and ethnicity, visit the Team Kentucky COVID-19 website.

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