Governor Beshear, state health officials give update on coronavirus preparations

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) - Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear made an announcement regarding coronavirus preparations in the commonwealth Thursday afternoon.

Governor Andy Beshear // Facebook

Beshear and public health officials gathered in Frankfort at 3 p.m. to provide updates on how the state is closely monitoring the international situation.

"No one in Kentucky has been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus," the governor assured.

On Wednesday, Kentucky's health commissioner said they are monitoring nearly 120 people who returned from traveling in China. They were all tested negative for the new strain of the virus, COVID-19, but state officials are not taking any chances.

"Those hundred people were folks that had traveled to China, within the last period of time. And so, it was a precaution. Entirely a precaution. Most all of those are out of the 14-day window that we would look at, which means we're pretty sure they're out of the woods and they won't have any symptoms," Beshear said.

The governor repeatedly said the risk for the coronavirus is low, but they are going to use this time to prepare for the possibility of a problem in the days ahead. The state's health cabinet website is being updated with information about the respiratory illness that can spread from person to person.

"And I want to reassure you that I have high confidence in our health care system, in professionals who serve you every day," said Dr. Steven Stack with the Department of Public Health.

Kentuckians who travel overseas to impacted countries are asked to tell their local health departments. Health officials said you should treat the coronavirus like you should the flu. Wash your hands and stay home when you are sick.

"If you haven't got the flu shot, go get one. Stay home if you're not feeling well, don't come to work. We tell people in state government that. And wash your hands," Beshear added.

The governor said as of now it's a matter of waiting and watching, but he does not believe any drastic steps or measures are warranted.

Workers at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington are working to keep the terminal clean, and hand sanitizer is available throughout the airport. Anyone who has been closely monitored by the state government has done so willingly out of concern for their health and others'.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talked briefly about the new strain on the Senate floor Thursday. You can watch his remarks in the video below.