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News- March 31, 2020

In his evening press conference last night, Governor Andy Beshear announced that there are now 480 cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 42 of those being newly confirmed. There were also two new deaths reported on Monday, an 88-year-old female from Kenton County and a 90-year-old female from Simpson County, raising the state’s total to 11 deaths related to the virus. Both victims had underlying health conditions that also contributed to their death. In terms of new steps being taken, Governor Beshear announced an executive order to limit Kentuckians out-of-state travel. The order allows for a few exemptions including travel to other states for work, groceries, to care for loved ones, or to seek court order required health care. Kentuckians arriving back in the Commonwealth from out of state are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

With the end of the school year fast approaching, school districts across the area are still deciding what to do for their high school graduations. During their March board meeting, Hardin County Schools set the graduation dates for all three high schools, which are still on schedule at this time. The Elizabethtown Board of Education has not yet set a date for their graduation.

As the number of positive cases grow, many have pointed to differences between numbers provided by Governor Beshear and by other governmental agencies, such as the Lincoln Trail District Health Department. Officials with the department say there are two main reasons behind the occasional difference; Not all labs report to the state labs, and the turnaround for the labs could be delayed for multiple reasons. Public information officer Terrie Burgan says that while there may be an occasional lag in numbers reported by the Governor, the Health Department has put forth accurate numbers. At this time, the Health Department has seen 11 positive cases within their service area.

The City of Elizabethtown has announced a new effort in order to attempt to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. At a specially called meeting of the Elizabethtown City Council, a budget amendment was approved that will create the Economic Stimulus Recovery Fund. The fund will be available to qualifying small businesses in the city of Elizabethtown, and the city will make grants up to $3000 available per small business to aid in recovery efforts. Mayor Jeff Gregory said that the city wanted to, “…provide some immediate relief for businesses until the various proposed state and federal programs can cut off assistance.” The city will begin taking applications for the funding on April 1st. More information, including a list of eligible businesses and program guidelines can be found at elizabethtownky.gov.

The Hardin County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a suspicious man knocking on doors over the weekend. Reportedly, the man, later identified as Johnny Kolley of Cecilia, was knocking on doors asking to use a phone charger. When officers arrived, they saw Kolley walking behind a house. The residents of the home started pointing at him, and as officers pulled into the driveway, Kolley fled on foot. As officers exited the vehicle, several commands to stop were given, but Kolley hopped a gate and ran into a barn, where he was apprehended. Kolley would not give officers his hands, and when checked, was discovered to have an active warrant. He was arrested for fleeing or evading police, burglary, and resisting arrest. He is lodged in the Hardin County Detention Center.

News- March 30, 2020

In his evening press conference last night, Governor Andy Beshear announced that there are at least 439 cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth with 45 new cases being confirmed. This is after the largest one-day rise in cases on Saturday, with 92 new positives on the 28th. Governor Beshear has stressed that the next two weeks are critical as the pandemic begins to spike as expected, and urges businesses to do better when it comes to social distancing, specifically citing state parks, grocery stores, and golf courses. Governor Beshear has also asked Kentuckians not to travel out of state, but specifically cited Tennessee, which has failed to enact strict social distancing guidelines. The Governor says that Kentuckians can go to Tennessee for work, to care for a loved one, or event to go to the grocery store if it is closer, but asks that residents not go across state lines to partake in activities that have been limited in Kentucky.

While manufacturers across the state make decisions about potential closures, a local operation is planning to stay open. In a phone message last week, Metalsa plant coordinator Matthew Carter says the plant will remain open with their designated essential critical infrastructure workforce. Carter says necessary materials will be distributed to those employees on their next working day in the plant. As previously reported, Akebono was shutting down production for this week.

The city of Radcliff has announced that in efforts to better support social distancing, Saunders Springs will be closed until further notice. Radcliff Mayor JJ Duvall says that it was difficult to keep tabs on social distancing efforts in the park, so for the safety of the public, it was decided that closure was the best option. While the city of Radcliff has closed down one of their major recreational spots in Saunders Springs, the city of Elizabethtown is thanking its residents for following the temporary guidelines in place at Freeman Lake Park. Officials with the Elizabethtown Police Department say that going forward, anyone caught violating the guidelines can be subjected to criminal charges. American Legion Park, as well as the University Drive Platforms and Elizabethtown Sports Park have already closed.

Hardin Memorial Hospital has seen its very first case of COVID-19. In a statement release last Friday, Chief Nursing Officer Sharon Wright explained that the hospital has been preparing for this moment for several months, and have followed all CDC recommendations for treating the patient, including isolation. In a separate release on Saturday, Fort Knox confirmed that their second case of COVID-19, a civilian employee, is being treated at Hardin Memorial.

News- March 27, 2020

In his evening press conference last night, Governor Andy Beshear announced that there are now 248 cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, the single greatest growth in positive cases thus far. The Governor notes that this is normal in pandemics, and is also in part to the increase in testing. Governor Beshear expressed pride in seeing the sacrifices that people have made, but says that even more is needed in order to beat the virus on the first try. Governor Beshear again stressed social distancing, and refraining from group gatherings at all costs. No new steps were taken last night in terms of new executive order, but the Governor did note that the state is working diligently in order to get more information and progress made regarding the drive-thru testing facility that the Governor is hoping to have open next week.

The first local manufacturer in the area will be shutting down production. In a releae from Senior Human Resources supervisor Jeff Mills, Akebono Production is going to remain cancelled for the week of March 25th to April 5th. This shut down will be unpaid, but the release offers kcc.ky.gov to file unemployment.

Hardin County has seen its third positive case of COVID-19, and Larue County now has its first, according to the Lincoln Trail District Health Department. In a press release made public yesterday, the health department announced this news and stated that this brings the total number of cases in the Lincoln Trail district to six, with the remaining two being in Nelson County. One Nelson County case was released from isolation yesterday, and the other remains isolated at home. All Hardin County cases are isolated at home, and the Larue County case is isolated in a hospital. The health department advises that, going forward, Kentuckians reduce their contacts by 75% to see the biggest impact in the reduction of new cases.

Gate procedures at Fort Knox have been altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Formerly, each ID in the car would be taken by the gate guard and scanned. Now, the post asks that the driver collect all IDs and show them individually to the gate guard from a distance. Single occupants can make use of the scanning kiosk at the gate in order to enter. The health condition code on post right now is “Charlie”.

Another City of Elizabethtown event has been cancelled as a result of COVID-19. The scheduled Spring Clean-Up for the city has been postponed. New dates will be posted on city social media as they become available. Brush pickup will still be on its normal schedule.

Brandenburg Telecom is offering free wi-fi hotspots to their service area in order to better help people during the COVID-19 pandemic. These hotspots are available in Brandenburg, Elizabethtown, Radcliff, Vine Grove, and Hardinsburg in the parking lots of business offices. In addition, there are several more hotspots at campgrounds and parks in the area. A full list of the hotspots can be found at bbtel.com.

The Elizabethtown Police Department wants to make the public aware of a new scam revolving around COVID-19. The department was notified of the scam by a resident, who received a call saying her government issued check was ready, and that the caller needed her bank information in order to deposit the check. The federal government has not decided when or if they will be sending checks out to anyone at this time. The department urges citizens to never give their information out to anyone over the phone.

News- March 26, 2020

In his evening press conference last night, Governor Andy Beshear announced that there are now 198 cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth. This marked 35 new positive cases, which was less than the previous day’s total. However, with this announcement came sad news, as the fifth death related to COVID-19 was confirmed. The victim, a 75-year-old male from Jefferson County, had underlying health issues. In terms of new steps being taken, Governor Beshear ordered a halt to all residential evictions, expanded unemployment eligibility to the self-employed, independent contractors, and freelance workers, and gave a status update on a potential new way of testing for the virus. Beginning next week, the first drive-thru test facility will be established in the Commonwealth. Hopefully starting on Monday, a single location for a specific group who are showing symptoms will be opened. The Governor says that this is a test concept that, if successful, could lead to several more such facilities opening next week, which would allow for far more testing than before.

Cases of COVID-19 continue to grow in the surrounding area, with Grayson County becoming the latest area with a confirmed case. In a statement released yesterday, the Grayson County Health Center confirmed the presence of a positive case of the virus in the community. Officials with the Health Center remind community members to remain calm and to practice social distancing, as well as to stay home if sick. The age and gender of the individual has not yet been released.

Friends of Hardin County Animal Shelter have announced that they are offering assistance to those who may need help feeding their pets during the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are being accepted at fohcas.org. There must be a real financial need for the assistance, and vouchers for the food will be distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis based on need. The shelter is currently closed to the public, and is undergoing deep cleaning.

The City of Elizabethtown have announced that several attractions at Freeman Lake and other parks will be closed starting today as a response to guidance from the Lincoln Trail Health Department and CDC guidelines. Playgrounds, pavilions, dog parks, tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball fields, and par 3 golf courses are closed. However, the parks and trails will remain open, and are still able to be enjoyed as long as social distancing guidelines are met.

News- March 25, 2020

As the state continues the fight against COVID-19, Governor Andy Beshear announced in his press conference last night that there are now one hundred and sixty three cases of the virus in the Commonwealth. The governor announced that one of these positive cases came from someone who attended a coronavirus party. Beshear denounced the act, again stressing social distancing and regard for the lives of others. Governor Beshear noted that with the expected spike in cases, increasingly significant steps towards fighting the illness can be expected, and the governor took one of those steps last night. Beshear ordered that all non-life-sustaining businesses be closed by 8 PM Thursday. Businesses that will remain open include grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, and drug stores as well as laundromats, banks, and home-based care and services, among others. The Governor says the order will be made public today in order to make the announcement clearer.

Monday morning, the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office apprehended three suspects who allegedly stole a tractor from Bullitt County. Later in the afternoon, the trailer used to steal the tractor was reported stolen as well. All items have been returned to their owners. In regards to the three suspects, Joseph Christopher Redmon was charged with two indictment warrants from Nelson and Bullitt counties, receiving stolen property over five hundred dollars, operating with a suspended license, and public intoxication. Mark Vittitow was charged with receiving stolen property and public intoxication, and Allen Ballard was charged with receiving stolen property. All three were lodged in the Nelson County Jail.

The Grayson County Sheriff’s Office conducted a traffic stop on Shaw Station Road in Leitchfield in an attempt to stop a reckless driver. Officers made contact with the driver, 29-year-old Mercedes Goldsmith of Louisville, who is a repeat offender with the Sheriff’s Office. Goldsmith had several warrants for her arrest, and her vehicle was searched. The inspection led to the discovery of meth, marijuana, and a handgun in the car and on Goldsmith’s person. She also failed sobriety tests conducted by officers. Goldsmith was charged with several traffic violations, possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, tampering with physical evidence, and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon. She was lodged in the Grayson County Detention Center. The investigation is ongoing.

Hardin Memorial Health has announced that effective today, visitation at Hardin Memorial Hospital has been suspended, with only essential caregivers allowed to accompany patients for medical appointments or tests. The organization has been progressively restricting access to the hospital and medical office to protect patients from COVID-19. There will be limited exceptions, allowing one healthy visitor, who will be screened prior to visitation, for patients under eighteen, women in labor, end of life patients, hospice patients, dependent patients who require assistance, and outpatient surgery and cath lab patients. These visitors are asked to enter at the main registration and patient pick-up entrance. For more information on Hardin Memorial’s policies and response to COVID-19, visit hmh.net.