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Gov. Beshear Tells Kentuckians Not To Travel To Tennessee

Gov. Andy Beshear is telling Kentuckians not to travel to Tennessee, a state he said has not taken the same “aggressive” steps as Kentucky in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

“I cannot control that Tennessee has not taken the steps that we have,” Beshear said. “I need you to not go to Tennessee for anything other than work, or helping a loved one, or maybe to the grocery.”

Beshear said Kentuckians on the southern border who travel into Tennessee to visit bars, restaurants or other types of establishments that are closed in Kentucky, risk bringing the virus back into the state.

“The sacrifice that people inside your county are making, ultimately you don’t honor that,” Beshear said.

Bars and restaurants in both states are supposed to have stopped all services except drive-thru, carry-out and delivery. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee ordered all bars and restaurants to close to in-person traffic for two weeks, starting Monday Mar. 23, a week after similar measures were taken in Kentucky.

As of Friday, Tennessee had more than 1,200 confirmed cases and 6 deaths, with higher concentrations of cases in counties bordering Kentucky.

Asked if he had a conversation with Lee on the matter, Beshear said, “I have not even called him.” But admitted he is “frustrated” the state has not taken the same steps to prevent the virus spreading.

3 More Deaths In Kentucky

Beshear also said three more Kentuckians have died due to COVID-19. During his daily 5 p.m. briefing Beshear said a 75-year-old woman tested in Fayette County has died, as well as a 77-year-old man tested in Hopkins County.

“We haven’t lost two in a day until now,” Beshear said. “And I know it’s hard, and I will tell you it won’t be the last time we do until we’re through this.”

About an hour later, Beshear announced on Twitter a third person had died Friday, a 73-year-old woman from Jefferson County.

The three new deaths bring the state’s total number of fatalities due to coronavirus to eight. The state had 302 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 Friday, up 54 cases from the day before.

The governor said he’s still working to get more personal protective equipment like masks and gloves, as well as ventilators. Kentucky has 1,352 ventilators, according to the governor. Beshear said the state is also working to convert at least two hotels into hospitals to make space for a potential surge of patients.

Jess Clark is LPMs Education and Learning Reporter. Email Jess at jclark@lpm.org.

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