FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) - Governor Andy Beshear's news conference began Friday with one upbeat message: "We will get through this."
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has confirmed a coronavirus case in Lexington, the first in the Bluegrass State. (Photo: MGN)
That message comes as distressing numbers are released from the commonwealth's largest city.
Shortly before the news conference began, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced 43 new cases of COVID-19 in Jefferson County alone, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Those numbers are not consistent with the Governor's county-by-county totals, but Beshear did warn that local health departments may have some discrepancies compared to the state numbers.
In the news conference, Gov. Beshear confirmed 54 new cases in Kentucky, bringing the total up to 302. Two of those cases are in Pulaski County.
One of the cases is in Lawerence County, which is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the area.
The governor also announced three new deaths in Jefferson, Fayette and Hopkins Counties. That brings Kentucky's total to eight.
Gov. Beshear stressed that the state has more time than other states to "flatten the curve" and slow the spread of the virus through social distancing.
State officials say they are also working harder to protect the homeless from the virus through government housing programs, though they indicated they are unsure if they will receive support from the federal government.
The #COVID19 pandemic has created both a health and economic crisis and our response must address both. Today, I signed Executive Order No. 17 to temporarily limit social gatherings, move restaurant sales to takeout models for food and alcohol and also address the use of gyms. pic.twitter.com/ESFPpvHL7z— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) March 22, 2020
In stark terms, Gov. Beshear urged Kentuckians to not go to Tennessee unless absolutely necessary.
"I cannot help that Tennessee has not taken the steps that we have," the Governor said.
He later added that he was frustrated at the uneven virus response from Tennessee Governor Bill Lee.
"I need you to not go to Tennessee."
The state of Tennessee reported a total of more than 1,300 cases Friday afternoon, per CBS affiliate WTVF.
Davidson County, home to Nashville, is the epicenter with 312 cases - more than the entirety of the Bluegrass state.
"I think that we consider different options every single day. I'm not there yet," Beshear said when asked if he considered closing the border to Tennessee.
You can watch the full conference below: