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Coronavirus

With Covid Now Under Control In KY, Gov. Beshear Holds Final Coronavirus Update

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Governor Andy Beshear will hold his last coronavirus briefing on Friday. His first coronavirus update was held on February 27, 2020. It was called “State Response to COVID 19”.

At that time, the threat appeared low. “First, let me be very clear. No one in Kentucky has been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus,” said Governor Beshear.

Then on March 6, the governor confirmed the Commonwealth’s first coronavirus case.

“The individual that has tested positive for the virus is in Lexington and is currently being treated in isolation,” Beshear said.  

While declaring a state of emergency and announcing daily briefings, the Governor tried to stay optimistic, saying that the risk to Kentuckians remained low.

However, just ten days later the Governor announced the first of what would become thousands of deaths. “Today we’re reporting that we lost the individual that we knew was in bad shape. They are the Bourbon County resident. They have passed away,” said Beshear.

From that point on, the Governor held at least one, sometimes two, daily briefings through March and then April. Most days the governor would read through a list of “Ten Steps to Fight COVID-19”. It included things like hand washing, social distancing and prioritizing mental health.

“So tomorrow we’re going to take a day off. A day off from, my very first day off, from this briefing. I need to prioritize my mental health, if not just for a day. And I know you need to, too,” Beshear said.

Governor Beshear was back the following Sunday with another update. He always started the same way, with the phrase “We will get through this. We will get through this together.”

Governor Beshear kept holding coronavirus briefings through the winter holidays, through another big surge in cases in January and through the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine.  

When the Governor finishes his last coronavirus briefing June 11, he will have briefed Kentuckians on the pandemic more than 250 times. Some Kentuckians criticized the number of briefings Beshear held. Republican Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said the first month or so of briefings helped Kentuckians understand the pandemic.

“But over the past half year or so, I think that the message coming out of the governor’s office and the reality on the ground in Kentucky presented a severe disconnect,” said Quarles.

Quarles added that he’s glad the briefings are coming to an end and Kentucky is finally catching up to states that opened months ago.

There was also concern that the Governor was using the briefings as a means of political self-promotion.

Al Cross is Director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues. He said the daily briefings where necessary and informative.

“The political effect for him was clearly good but I think he also had an obligation to give the public as much information as possible and to answer questions as much as possible. He may have stretched it a little bit,” said Cross.

Cross added that the Governor made a lot of appearances, but hasn’t become a skilled media star.

“Frankly, I really don’t think he’s developed his public presentation skills as much as I thought he would in the last year,” said Cross.

The Governor’s last coronavirus briefing is set for Friday afternoon at 12:30.

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If you appreciate access to this important content during this global pandemic, please help us continue to provide public service journalism and information to Central and Eastern Kentucky communities.
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