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Latest Data Shows Black Kentuckians Are Dying At Higher Rates From COVID-19

The Kentucky State Capitol on 4/9/20, lit up green in memory of those who died from COVID-19.
The Kentucky State Capitol on 4/9/20, lit up green in memory of those who died from COVID-19.

The latest demographic information on Kentuckians who have died from COVID-19 reveals Black Kentuckians are more likely to die from the disease, compared to white and Asian Kentuckians. While Kentucky has a Black population of around 8%, 21% of those who have died of COVID-19 were Black, according to Gov. Andy Beshear. 78% of those who died were white, and around 1% were Asian.

“We are seeing what we are seeing in other places, and that’s a disproportionate number of deaths falling in our Black or African American communities,” Beshear said during his daily news briefing Saturday.

“I believe it stems from an unequal access to health care,” he said. “We have a lot more work to do, and we should have done it by now.”

The data Beshear shared only represented 81% of the state’s deaths, as officials are still in the process of collecting demographic information on cases.

Beshear Urges Kentuckians To Keep Social Distancing Through The Weekend

Beshear urged Kentuckians to heed his order not to attend in-person worship services on Easter Sunday, or come together in large groups.

"We are honoring your sacrifices by making sure that even this weekend when it's going to be hard, that we keep it up," he said.

According to Beshear there are still seven congregations in the state that plan to hold in-person services, despite the risk of infection. Despite criticism from some conservatives, Beshear said he’s sticking to his plan to have Kentucky State Police take down license plate numbers of cars in church parking lots on Easter Sunday. Beshear said that information will be used to order churchgoers to self-quarantine for 14 days.

"I'm just doing my best to save lives," Beshear said, pointing to a cluster of infections and six deaths that officials say resulted from a revival in Hopkins County.

He maintained his support for drive-in church services when appropriate, even while Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer continued to urge residents not to attend them.

New Cases, Deaths

On Saturday, Beshear announced 185 new confirmed cases and four new deaths due to COVID-19. The state also confirmed cases in five new nursing homes or long-term care facilities, and new cases in the Green River Correctional Facility and Western State Hospital.

Beshear said the National Guard is nearing completion of "phase I" of setting up a field hospital at the Kentucky State Fairgrounds in Louisville. According to Beshear, there are now 300 National Guard members active in the state. Many members will be transporting patients to and between hospitals across the state.

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