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Gov. Beshear Says Mask Mandate Has Slowed Spread Of Coronavirus

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear poses for a photo after a media briefing at the State Capitol Building on July 14, 2020.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear poses for a photo after a media briefing at the State Capitol Building on July 14, 2020.

Gov. Andy Beshear said he believes the mask mandate has put the breaks on the sharp increase in new coronavirus cases seen in July.

"What the numbers are telling us is that facial coverings and masks are working," Beshear said during his briefing Monday.

Data provided during the briefing showed the number of new cases jumped up for the first three weeks of July, but slowed after the third week.

The governor urged Kentuckians to continue to comply with themask mandate. Other measures meant to curb the virus are still in effect, including a limit on private gatherings to 10 people or fewer, bar closures and reduced capacity at restaurants.

He reported 322 new coronavirus cases Monday, many fewer than previous days. Two more Kentuckians have died.

The state's positivity rate is 5.18% -- meaning 5.18% of people tested are found to have the virus. That's still above the 5% rate at which the White House and CDC recommend rolling back reopening. However, the rate is down from a high of 5.81% last Wednesday.

Replacing Kroger Testing

The University of Louisville and St. Elizabeth Healthcare will replace Kroger as the state's main partners in providing free drive-through testing for COVID-19.

"We think we're ultimately going to test more folks because of this," Beshear said.

Kroger announced last week it would end testing at its community-based drive-through sites. Kroger will continue to offer more limited drive-through testing through the Kroger Little Clinics.

Beginning Tuesday, people seeking a coronavirus test will be able to call 502-588-0414 to schedule an appointment through U of L for a free test at one of the following locations:

499 S. Brook Street in downtown Louisville

Mary & Elizabeth Hospital in South Louisville

Medical Center South in Bullitt County

In northern Kentucky, Beshear said St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Gravity Diagnostics will be providing free drive-through testing starting Thursday at the Atlantic Corporate Center, 25 Atlantic Ave, Erlanger, KY. He said more details about making appointments are coming tomorrow.

McAtee Investigation "Substantially Completed"

Governor Andy Beshear’s Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown announced the Kentucky State Police has "substantially completed" its investigation into the shooting of Louisville barbecue chef David McAtee.

Brown said investigators have not found anything significantly different from what was reported in June.

"There's nothing to suggest from the evidence collected so far that there's any significant difference between the sequence of events and actions that was previously reported, or captured on the videos," Brown said.

In June, state police said they believed McAtee fired his handgun when National Guard and police approached his restaurant, and that he was killed when National Guard members returned fire.

Brown said the state will turn the file over to the Commonwealth Attorney’s office. The FBI is still investigating, and Brown says the U.S. Attorney’s Office has asked state police not to release any additional information to the public.

More details here.

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