Senior centers get OK to reopen June 11

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Tuesday that Senior Centers, which had been closed for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be able to reopen on June 11, and that an expanded audit has uncovered 260 more deaths.

“That will be among the many venues able to operate at full capacity that day,” he said during a virtual press briefing at the Capitol. “The Department for Aging and Independent Living oversaw a senior center reopening workgroup, to address concerns and ideas ahead of this June 11 date. The reopening adheres to CDC recommendations, which fall closely in line with long term care and adult day health care guidance.”

The governor said the original audit covered the period November, January, and February, where every death certificate was examined for COVID-related deaths.

“What we also saw was 5-10 deaths every day that were before that period, coming up from our local health departments. Given that we were still seeing those, we wanted to extend our commitment, because every Kentuckians lost to COVID needs to be recognized,” he stated. “so we extended our audit back to the very beginning of this pandemic, and in fact, going back even a little bit earlier, just to make sure we captured everything.”

He said he believes this audit, which uncovered 260 more deaths, is the most extensive in the United States. “They ranged from March 20, 2020, the very first of these that was not included in previous reporting, to October 26, 2020.”

The daily numbers Beshear revealed on Tuesday, showed 137 new cases reported to state public health officials, 34 of which, or around 25%, were among those 18 and younger. Kentucky’s pandemic total has now reached 458,712 positive cases, since the first one was reported on March 6, 2020.

Besides the 260 deaths reported from the final expanded audit, there was just one more new one on Tuesday, according to the governor. “I don’t remember the last time that was the case.”

This brings to 7,067 the number of Kentuckians lost to COVID-19.

He pointed out that both the weekly number of new cases and the positivity rate, which stood at 2.50% on Tuesday, have now declined for four straight weeks.

The county incidence rate on Tuesday showed no counties in the red zone, indicating 25 or more cases per 100,000 population, and an increasing number now in the green, which means less than one case per 100,000 population.

Gov. Beshear said he is now planning just one more COVID-19 press briefing at this point, which will be on June 11, the day that nearly all restrictions are lifted.