Gov. Beshear, Health Officials Confirm State’s First COVID-19 Case

Gov. Beshear declares state of emergency to ensure state has all necessary resources

FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 6, 2020) – Today at the Capitol, Governor Andy Beshear and state leaders, including top health officials, confirmed Kentucky’s first case of COVID-19.

Gov. Beshear declared a state of emergency on Friday to ensure all state entities have the necessary resources to respond.

“We have been preparing and this was expected as the novel coronavirus spread throughout the world and into neighboring states,” Gov. Beshear said. “We urge Kentuckians not to panic, and to continue taking precautionary steps to protect their health and that of those around them.”

The governor confirmed the first case is in Lexington with the individual currently in isolation in a medical facility receiving treatment. 

“I want to make sure every resource we need we have right now,” Gov. Beshear said in declaring the state of emergency. “Everyone should be calm and know your state government will have every tool they need.”

Gov. Beshear’s order, which can be read in full here, reads:

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, Andy Beshear, Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Chapter 39A of the Kentucky Revised Statutes, declare that a State of Emergency exists in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and do hereby order and direct the issuance of appropriate state active duty orders for the necessary officers, troops, personnel, equipment, including the resources of the Kentucky National Guard and other logistical support necessary for an immediate response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency in the Commonwealth. I further order and direct as follows:

  1. The Division of Emergency Management within the Department of Military Affairs and the Kentucky Department of Public Health shall coordinate the response and relief activities of all state agencies and private relief organizations in response to the COVID-19 emergency described herein.
  2. The Division of Emergency Management within the Department of Military Affairs shall execute the Kentucky Emergency Operations Plan and, from the Kentucky Emergency Operations Center, shall coordinate the relief and response activities of all state agencies and private relief organizations in response to this emergency.
  3. The Adjutant General is authorized to issue active duty orders for the mobilization of such National Guard personnel and equipment as he may determine to protect life and safety, to continue essential public services, and to prevent undue loss and suffering.
  4. The Division of Emergency Management is authorized to request assistance, federal, state, local, private sector, volunteer, and donated resources as may be available to minimize human suffering and to restore essential services to the general population and to assist state and local governments and individuals impacted by this emergency.
  5. The Finance and Administration Cabinet is directed to provide assistance with incident resource management, procurements, and contracting and to fund the urgent operational and/or response of the Division of Emergency Management and the unbudgeted expenditures and obligations of other state agencies that are incurred in response and recovery from this emergency incident and in executing the provisions of this Executive Order.
  6. The Kentucky Department of Public Health and all other state agencies shall provide sufficient personnel required for the staffing of the Kentucky Emergency Operations Center or other command, control, and coordination points as may be designated by the Division of Emergency Management’s Director and shall provide such personnel, vehicles, equipment, and other resources needed to protect life and property and to ensure continuation, restoration, and recovery of essential public services.
  7. The Kentucky Office of Homeland Security (“KOHS”) shall provide information to individuals and private organizations, including volunteer and religious organizations, regarding how they can best prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 emergency described herein and whom to contact to volunteer help or services.  Further, the KOHS shall specifically identify and encourage private organizations to commit to provide food, shelter, personnel, equipment, materials, consultation, and advice, or other services needed to respond to the COVID-19 emergency.  Additionally, the KOHS shall coordinate its efforts with the federal Department of Homeland Security, as necessary, and administer the Kentucky Intelligence Fusion Center to facilitate information sharing about COVID-19 among public safety and public service agencies at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as the private sector.”

Acting Secretary Eric Friedlander of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) and Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack joined Gov. Beshear to discuss the case, the state’s response and Kentucky’s preparedness.

Dr. Stack said Kentuckians remain at low risk.

Gov. Beshear will issue an executive order implementing Kentucky’s price-gouging laws. He is asking Attorney General Daniel Cameron to enforce the price-gouging laws. If anyone has information regarding possible price gouging, they should contact the Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Hotline at 888-432-9257.

Gov. Beshear said as with any virus, especially during the flu season, there are a number of steps Kentuckians should take to protect their health, including:

  • Get a flu shot from your Local Health Department or your family provider.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Click here to watch videos on proper handwashing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then properly dispose of it.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

For more information about the state’s preparedness and response shared Thursday, people can click here.

People can call the COVID-19 Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

Kentuckians can visit and for up-to-date information.