Gov. Beshear planning with other states for eventual reopening, new testing site coming to Madisonville

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear is collaborating with six other governors in the region to focus on reopening the economy and one of the new Kroger drive-thru testing sites will be located in Madisonville.

The governors of Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, and Kentucky will put together a plan that takes multiple things into account.  Those include controlling the rate of new infections and hospitalizations in addition to a better way to test and trace.

Governor Beshear said during his Thursday afternoon briefing that while each leader ultimately will make their own decision regarding their state’s plans, the collaboration will lead to a more effective eventual opening of different parts of the economy.

The governor says things won’t return to the ‘old normal’ in the near future and seniors will remain the most vulnerable until there is a vaccine. He says some aspects of society could begin to reopen in early to mid-May, but specifics will have to be worked out.

Madisonville will be home to one of four new Kroger-facilitated sites providing free, drive-thru testing that will be open for three days next week. Governor Beshear says residents of Christian and other adjoining counties can also utilize the site.

Only individuals exhibiting coronavirus symptoms will be tested at this point and one can apply for an appointment at The other new sites are in Paducah, Pikeville and Somerset.

Megan Brown of Kroger explained the process, noting the patient will be handed a swab to administer the test to his or herself.

The governor says Kentucky had 159 new cases from Wednesday to Thursday and an additional seven deaths. That brings the state total of cases since the pandemic began to 2,429. One of the new cases is a 10-day old baby in Lincoln County. A total of 129 Kentuckians have died from COVID-19.

Five additional staff members at Western State Hospital have tested positive, bringing the total there to 27 staff members and 13 patients.

A higher number of cases is expected Friday due to one batch of data being delayed, but the governor says the average this week will still look steady compared to what it’s been.

Tennessee has 6,262 total cases and 141 fatalities. Montgomery County remains at 102 total cases, Robertson County has 95 and Stewart County still has four.