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Virginia Moore, the American Sign Language interpreter who led Kentucky through the early pandemic, has died

A woman smiles broadly. Her hands are in an open gesture.
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Governor's Office
Virginia Moore became known to Kentuckians for her role interpreting Gov. Andy Beshear's daily COVID-19 briefings into ASL.

Virginia Moore is remembered as a “rock of stability and grace through the pandemic.”

Virginia Moore, the American Sign Language interpreter who brought the governor’s COVID briefings to thousands of deaf Kentuckians, has died, according to Gov. Andy Beshear.

“Virginia Moore, the Kentuckian who taught us all the importance of leading with love and inclusion, passed away yesterday,” Beshear said in a statement on Twitter Sunday.

Moore’s face became known to many Kentuckians during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when thousands of people streamed Beshear’s daily briefings on Facebook and Youtube. Moore nearly always appeared in the corner of the screen, interpreting important health updates from Beshear and other public officials in ASL with a vigor many came to love.

“Virginia was a rock of stability and grace during the pandemic. She helped bring us all together in our most challenging times,” Beshear wrote.

In addition to her role as an interpreter, Moore was also the executive director of the Kentucky Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (KCDHH), where she advocated on behalf of the nearly 700,000 Kentuckians who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Moore was the child of deaf parents and had deaf siblings. ASL was her first language, according to an interview she gave in a video posted to Youtube by Personal Counseling Services.

Beshear’s office did not release the cause of death.

Moore took a pause from daily coronavirus briefings in the fall of 2020, after she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. She returned to her post in November 2020.

“I will miss her greatly, but as Virginia would remind us in our grief: We will get through this; we will get through this together,” Beshear said.

This story has been updated.

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