COVID-19 testing, social distancing topics of governor’s conference call

On one of the many conference calls Judge Executive Todd Ruckel was a party to this week, he leaned from Gov. Andy Beshear that the state will soon begin drive-through coronavirus testing for those who need it most.

“Gov. Beshear said the testing will begin at two sites in Frankfort and expand from there,” Ruckel said, adding that the governor hopes to eventually have up to 40 testing sites across the state.

That conference call was this morning and provided Ruckel and other local officials across the state some information on activities at the state level that will impact every community.

“The initial testing will be for the most vulnerable and high-risk candidates,” Ruckel said. “Those will include health care workers, first-responders, and those 60 and older who exhibit the COVID-19 symptoms.”

“The governor is urging those who don’t need a test not to get a test,” he said.

Ruckel said the governor told those participating in the conference call that the testing will be funded by state government and overseen by the Kentucky Department for Public Health.

“The governor said the testing will be with the cooperation of local health departments and local practitioners,” Ruckel said.

He added the state is continuing to seek and acquire much needed personal protection equipment for those who will be performing the testing and those who work in the health care field across the state.

Ruckel said the governor told participants the state has spent more than $8 million on personal protection equipment so far.

Ruckel said Gov. Beshear asked local officials today to monitor those gathering in public places such as parks and to stop them if people are not practicing social distancing and are risking the spread of COVID-19.

“Gov. Beshear also said he is working to eliminate any barriers to receiving unemployment compensation and said expiration deadlines for driver’s licenses, real estate licenses, auto registrations, handicapped parking permits, and just about all of those kinds of items have been extended by 90 days,” Ruckel said.

“He is urging everyone to be Healthy at Home,” Ruckel said.

In addition to the statewide restrictions, Ruckel said he will further limit in-person contact at the Lewis County Courthouse at the urging of the governor.

“There really is no need for face-to-face contact with any of our courthouse workers as we strive to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the coronavirus,” Ruckel said.

“Emergency situations will be addressed on a case-by-case basis and the office must be contacted by telephone or email first to determine if the matter can be taken care of without that personal contact,” he added.

Ruckel said a local helpline has been established for anyone with questions or concerns about COVID-19.

“By calling that helpline number, we will be able to find an answer to your questions or address your concerns as efficiently as possible,” he said.

The local helpline number is 606-202-8600.

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