MARCH 27, 2020

Murray Mayor Bob Rogers and Calloway County Judge Executive Kenny Imes have declared a local state of emergency in the city and county. The declaration by the city of Murray is retroactive to March 1. The Calloway County Office of Emergency Management will coordinate all local government agencies to provide any needed assistance within the county. All city agencies will cooperate with the the Emergency Management Director to provide any needed help. The declaration also gives Mayor Rogers the authority to waive procedures and formalities as needed, regarding any needed public work, entering in contracts, incurring obligations, employment of permanent or temporary workers, utilization of volunteers, rental of equipment, and appropriation or spending of public funds. The City also announced yesterday that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are temporarily unable to accept recycling items at this time.

Kentucky now has 248 confirmed COVID-19 cases which is up 50 since Wednesday, and that is the largest daily increase in the state to date. This includes two new cases in Christian County and one new case in Calloway. As of Thursday there were no new deaths associated with the virus. At yesterday’s COVID-19 update, Governor Andy Beshear announced that he has asked county judge-executives and mayors to monitor park areas and to shut them down if people are not implementing social distancing within the parks. Beshear says he expects to have a formal announcement soon regarding the drive-through testing sites in the state which are expected to begin on Monday. The Governor said there’s been a spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases in people in their 20s in the past week. Kentucky leaders say there’s at least 29-patients in their 20s now, a 28-hundred percent increase. Patients in their 60s rose by 250-percent.

The Kentucky General Assembly is moving a coronavirus relief measure to the governor’s desk. The Assembly passed the bill unanimously yesterday. The bill includes provisions to protect workers and businesses and is intended to reinforce emergency measures. It also declares an emergency in the state and lifts restrictions on telehealth services.

While we combat COVID-19 in the area, we may also have to deal with some severe weather on Saturday. According to the National Weather Service, the best chance of thunderstorms arrives Saturday afternoon and evening. Strong to severe thunderstorms cannot be ruled out during this time, with damaging winds the primary concern. Thunderstorms will also produce lightning and locally heavy downpours.

West Kentucky Community and Technical College will continue to offer online/remote classes through the last day of instruction, which is May 2, and will use online/remote assessment during the regular final exam week of May 4-10. WKCTC employees will continue to work remotely through at least April 17 but this date could change. KCTCS leadership, which includes the presidents of the 16 colleges, has decided to postpone spring commencement. Dates for each college’s commencement will be announced in the coming weeks.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced earlier this week that schools will remain closed there until April 24. As a result, the World’s Biggest Fish Fry Board of Directors have decided that it is in the best interest of the citizens of Paris and Henry County that the Fish Fry’s remaining events be cancelled.

Beginning today, the Tennessee Department of Health will be offering COVID-19 assessment drive-up sites in Paris, Trenton, and Dyersburg. The sites will be open from 9 am to 3 pm weekdays and will offer drive-up COVID-19 assessments and testing, if recommended. Individuals will be assessed and tested based on CDC guidelines.

Fort Campbell has its first confirmed case of COVID-19. Officials say the patient is a dependent of a military retiree currently isolated at their home which is off-base. Military health officials are looking to contact anyone who may have been exposed to the patient and are also assessing any risk to the community off the base.

West Kentucky Community and Technical College recently donated needed personal protective equipment to area health care providers to help battle the COVID-19 pandemic. WKCTC made the donation to local emergency management services to distribute to hospitals within its service area. Donated items from the college’s allied health and nursing programs included over 400 N95 face masks, 1,300 “regular” face masks, more than 11,000 exam gloves, 75 sterile gloves and over 250 sterile/non-sterile gowns. WKCTC’s Paducah School of Art and Design also donated 200 N95 masks to help health care providers throughout the region.

Kentucky senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, and Representatives Hal Rogers, John Yarmuth, Brett Guthrie, Thomas Massie, Andy Barr, and James Comer, sent a letter to President Donald Trump expressing their support of Governor Andy Beshear’s request for a federal disaster declaration for Kentucky. In the letter to the President, the delegation wrote that as the Governor indicated in his request, when Kentucky is able to expand testing, it is certain the infection number will significantly increase. The delegation asked for the President’s timely consideration of the Governor’s major disaster declaration request, which would aid Kentucky communities and families that continue to be severely impacted by COVID-19.

SHEPHERDSVILLE—Amazon says they’ll re-open their Shepherdsville, Kentucky warehouse next week after three employees were diagnosed with coronavirus. Amazon told employees in a phone message that Governor Andy Beshear requested the facility delay its re-opening to April 1st. Employees will be paid for their missed shifts. The employees were diagnosed on Monday with the illness.

TENNESSEE—Unemployment claims are at an all-time high in Tennessee. Officials yesterday said nearly 40-thousand Tennesseans filed for unemployment as states try to manage the COVID-19 crisis. The U.S. Department of Labor says just under three-point-three-million Americans filed an unemployment claim for last week. That’s nearly five times the prior record in one-weeks claim set in 1982.

TENNESSEE—The Tennessee Department of Human Services is accepting assistance applications for those people affected by the coronavirus. The state opened the application process today for people who need emergency cash after losing their job or half their income because of the virus. Applicants need to have lost income as of March 11th. Applications are being accepted online and more information is available at the State Department of Human Services website.

TENNESSEE—Tennessee State Parks remain open during the COVID-19 outbreak. All 56 parks will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through April 10th. All overnight accommodations are closed for now. Visitors are also asked to practice social distancing and not to gather in crowds of ten or more.

GEORGETOWN—Workers at the Toyota plant in Georgetown won’t be returning to work until April 20th. The company has extended its shutdown nationwide. Officials say hourly workers will be paid for the week of April 6th through 12th and can use paid or unpaid time off for the week of April 13th through 19th without penalties.

LONDON—Two Pulaski County constables are facing formal charges in connection with their arrest earlier this month. Officials reported yesterday that 45-year-old Michael Wallace and 55-year-old Gary Baldock were indicted for conspiring to violate the civil rights of persons within Pulaski County. Baldock was also indicted for attempted murder of an FBI agent. The indictments allege the two deprived individuals of their rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, as well as from deprivation of property without due process. Baldock also allegedly acted with deliberation and premeditation to attempt to kill a special agent of the FBI.

OWENSBORO—Matthew Constant will be the 20th superintendent of Owensboro Public Schools, pending contract negotiations. Constant was selected for the post at the school board’s regularly scheduled meeting last night. He will remain the interim superintendent through June 30th, when his current contract expires. If a new contract is agreed on, Constant will officially take over on July.

LEXINGTON—The Kentucky Blood Center wants potential donors to know it’s still open. It also wants donors to know it serves more than 70 hospitals that are concerned about the supply of blood in the coming weeks. More than 100 blood drives have been canceled through April due to social distancing. Donations are by appointment only.

TENNESSEE—Governor Bill Lee is urging people to practice social distancing due to coronavirus, especially young people. Governor Lee said yesterday that the “vast majority” of the state’s COVID-19 cases are people under 40-years-old. Lee also called on churches to stop meeting in person to help prevent the spread of the virus. He said the pandemic has led to a 13-hundred percent increase in unemployment filings in Tennessee.

TENNESSEE—Governor Bill Lee is being slammed for his efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus in Tennessee. Some doctors on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 say a stay-at-home order is needed. During a teleconference yesterday, Williamson County critical care doctor Aaron Milestone said the governor’s “failure to issue a stay at home order is essentially allowing the pandemic to spread through communities nearly unchecked.” More than 22-thousand doctors and nurses have signed a petition requesting a stay-at-home order.

TENNESSEE—There are nearly 11-hundred confirmed cases of coronavirus in Tennessee. Davidson County continues to be the epicenter of the pandemic in Tennessee with nearly 300 cases. Shelby County is second in the number of COVID-19 cases with about 200. The state health department says complications from the virus have claimed the lives of three Tennesseans.

TENNESSEE—Despite being locked down, there are confirmed coronavirus cases at a Gallatin nursing home. The cases are at Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing. At least one patient and one employee have tested positive. A post of the facility’s Facebook page wasn’t specific about the number of cases.

TENNESSEE—Governor Bill Lee is showing his support for National Guard troops who are being deployed in nearly three dozen rural counties. The volunteers are helping out on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak. Governor Lee prayed with the troops and told them what they’re doing is about Tennessee families. He told the troops Tennesseans are counting on them to do something that they themselves don’t have the capacity to address.

TENNESSEE—A two-month-old baby is among the coronavirus victims in Davidson County. The infant is one of roughly 300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county, according to the Metro Public Health Department. The baby is the youngest patient being treated for the virus, and a 93-year-old man is the oldest, according to public health officials.

TENNESSEE—Vanderbilt University Medical Center is thanking a local nonprofit for donating pallets of supplies. University officials say they received the large donation from Healing Hands International. They say the supplies will benefit their “doctors, nurses, staff and patients,” and they’re very grateful for the generosity. The supplies will be distributed throughout the center and to its 14 COVID-19 testing sites.