The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached the U.S. state of Kentucky on March 6, 2020, when Governor Andy Beshear‘s office announced the first confirmed case in Lexington and declared a state of emergency to ensure all entities have the necessary response resources. As of September 2, 49,991 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed, with 966 deaths. The Kentucky government announced a series of restrictions and recommendations in order to help curb the spread of the disease. Schools, universities, and a range of businesses were broadly closed to the public. Public sporting events were closed or postponed, including the 2020 Kentucky Derby.
The Kentucky government announced on March 6, 2020 that the state had seen its first confirmed case of the virus, in the city of Lexington. The individual had been placed in isolation in an unidentified medical facility. On the same day a state of emergency was declared. As of March 18, one of the first two patients to test positive for the virus, a 56-year-old man from Montgomery County, had fully recovered and was released from isolation.A total of 35 cases were confirmed, and 489 test had been administered statewide. s of September 2, there were 760 coronavirus cases among University of Kentucky students.
As of March 16, Governor Beshear announced that all bars and restaurants would close to dining .Schools and child care facilities were closed statewide.The University of Kentucky suspended in-person classes for the entirety of the spring semester.The electricity providers Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas & Electric announced it would suspend shut-offs and waive late fees until May 1, 2020.All public facing businesses that encourage public congregation and which cannot comply with the CDC’s social distancing guidelines were ordered closed as of March 17. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer ordered the closure of playgrounds, basketball courts and soccer fields in Louisville’s 120 parks on March 24.
On March 17 an executive order was announced allowing pharmacists to issue prescriptions for 30 days if they cannot contact a patient’s doctor. It also allowed pharmacists to set up and conduct business in areas not covered by the normal permitting process, to increase the ease and availability of mobile operations. Blood donations were substantially impacted as scheduled blood drives were cancelled and the public took measures to avoid public spaces. Adult daycare centers were ordered closed as of March 17.
Initially, religious leaders were upset when Governor Beshear called for all religious services to be halted on March 11, 2020. However, many followed the guideline on Sunday the 14th with even more following by the following Sunday. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington suspended public masses from March 20 until further notice.By April 4, two churches in Hopkins County had been linked to an outbreak with over 50 cases and 4 deaths.
The running of the Kentucky Derby, normally scheduled for the first Saturday in May, was postponed until September. This was the first time in 75 years that the race was rescheduled.NASCAR held their races at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta as planned on July 9–12 the Xfinity series gained an additional race there for the first since 2017 that there would a second race at the track for the Xfinity Series, all events were closed behind doors.
Governor Beshear has a daily public address at 5:00 pm EDT on the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor is joined regularly by an ASL interpreter, Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing Executive Director Virginia Moore, and Dr. Steven Stack, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Public Health. Some of the common phrases that the Governor uses during these addresses can be purchased on various items to help raise money for Team Kentucky fund started by the Governor to help those who have been hurt financially by the pandemic.
The Governor also asks people to light up their house green whenever there are coronavirus deaths in the state that day to honor those that are lost. As part of this, Beshear has ordered the Governor’s Mansion and the dome illuminated in green on those nights. Compliance with the Governor’s order to wear masks was reported as a “mixed bag” in Louisville.