Gov. Beshear Urges Vigilance As Kentucky Takes First Reopening Step

Monday, April 27, 2020 at 6:55 AM

By Gov. Andy Beshear, news release

Monday will be the first day that instead of adding restrictions, there will be reopening in healthcare settings.

(Frankfort, Ky.) - On Sunday, Gov. Andy Beshear asked Kentuckians to remain vigilant in the fight against the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) as the state takes an initial step toward reopening certain health care operations Monday.

“Tomorrow [April 27] is the first day since this virus hit that instead of adding restrictions, we are reopening some areas,” the Governor said. “We are starting with health care for some very simple reasons. First, people have not been able to go in to some types of visits and important appointments to keep themselves healthy. And people can grow unhealthy or have other issues that are unrelated to COVID-19.

“Second, we need to get our health care industry moving again because as we want to test more people we will need our health care industry to be operating at a greater level to make that happen. And third, in thinking about how to do this gradually in a way that protects people, in a way that we can always take a temperature as we move forward, health care is the place to start.”

Gov. Beshear says the phased reopening of health care services is the first step under the Healthy at Work initiative he introduced to help businesses restart operations safely when the time is right.

The initiative set out public health benchmarks for reopening Kentucky’s economy. These benchmarks closely follow the White House’s Guidelines for Reopening America.

On April 27, health care practitioners can resume non-urgent/emergent health care services, diagnostic radiology and lab services in:

  • Hospital outpatient settings;
  • Health care clinics and medical offices;
  • Physical therapy settings, chiropractic offices and optometrists;
  • Dental offices (but with enhanced aerosol protections)

“From a public health standpoint, from a medical standpoint, we would probably prefer to wait even longer before lifting any restrictions,” Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner for the Department for Public Health, said. “But we’re trying to balance competing societal needs: people’s need to get back to work, people’s need to perform other important functions in society, people’s need to pursue their lives, with the need to keep people safe.”

This guidance does not apply to long-term care settings, prisons and other industries or other settings for which separate guidance has already or will be provided in the future. This guidance does not apply to elective surgeries or procedures, which will be addressed in a subsequent phase.

Dr. Stack emphasized that this is a phased, gradual reopening of services and that a COVID-19 surge may require adjustment.

For full guidance on criteria for reopening and new best practices, click here.

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