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94 Second News Update

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.

News- March 24, 2020

In his evening press conference last night, Governor Andy Beshear informed the public that there are now 124 cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth. With this news came the announcement of the fourth death in Kentucky, an 82-year-old woman from Lexington who had underlying health conditions. The governor, however, has continued to try and make bold steps towards flattening the curve, including establishing a hotline to report guideline non-compliance. In addition, Governor Beshear announced the Team Kentucky Fund in order to try and help those who have lost their jobs. The fund will help provide financial assistance to those people, and every dollar that comes in or out will be able to be monitored so it can be ensured to be used properly. The fund will be collected online, and donations are tax deductible. There are no limits to donations, and every penny helps.

A regional distillery is doing their part in the fight against COVID-19. Boundary Oak Distillery has ceased regular production and has started producing sanitizers for local business. Owner Brent Goodin says that they knew they had the materials to produce, but did not have a license. Working with state offices, things came together and sanitizers have been provided to healthcare facilities, nursing homes, police and fire departments, and others. Supplies such as glycerin and peroxide are still needed. Anyone wishing to help can contact Boundary Oak.

The American Red Cross will be holding blood drives in Elizabethtown this week in the old Red Cross building at 405 West Dixie. The drives take place from 10:30 AM to 6 PM on Wednesday and Friday. Those wishing to donate are encouraged to make an appointment ahead of time. The organization is doing their best to screen for potential illness as patrons enter the facility.

The Elizabethtown Police Department has located the suspects in a burglary. According to the Police Department, the crime took place at Neighborhood Market at around 2 AM Monday morning. An unidentified male had broken into the business and took a large amount of merchandise while being accompanied by at least one other person. However, thanks to an anonymous tip, the offenders are now in custody. However, due to the fact that both offenders were juveniles, their identities can not be released. The investigation into the case is closed.

Real estate office TW Shortt has decided to help businesses by reducing rent for businesses in the Radcliff Plaza by 50% for the month of April. President of the Radcliff Small Business Alliance TW Shortt says the goal is to make sure no businesses are totally lost in the shutdowns of COVID-19. There are around fourteen small businesses situated in the Radcliff Plaza.

News- March 23, 2020

In his evening press conference on Sunday, Governor Andy Beshear announced that there are currently 103 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Governor Beshear commended the hospitals of Kentucky for their efforts, lauding the only 6% ICU rate seen with COVID-19 in the state. The Governor added that over 2000 tests have been administered across the state. In terms of new steps being taken to combat COVID-19, Governor Beshear declared that all non-essential retail businesses be closed by tonight at 8 PM. This includes florists, bookstores, fashion, clothing, and shoe stores, entertainment and electronics stores, etc. This does not include grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, or drug stores.

Since Friday afternoon, there have been 2 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hardin County, with one being an adult aged 21, and the first being a child. Since the announcement, local leaders have stressed to the public that taking steps, such as social distancing, can help limit the spread of the illness, and urge to continue safe habits to help keep the curve low in the Commonwealth. The juvenile who contracted the virus is a student in the Hardin County School system.

In the wake of the first positive cases of COVID-19 in Hardin County, Hardin Memorial Health have announced that they have established a temporary respiratory health clinic for potential COVID-19 patients. Located at 1004 Woodland Drive, the clinic saw its first patient on Friday, March 20. The clinic has been specially outfitted as a drive thru for referred patients experiencing respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath. While isolated in their vehicle, the patient will be registered, triaged, tested, and seen by a physician or advanced practice clinician. The clinic will only be available to those referred by an area physician or via the HMH Patient Symptom Hotline. Doctor Thomas Hustead, Medical Director for HMH Medical Group, said of the clinic, “We want to provide the best care possible without overwhelming hospital functions. I cannot say thank you enough to the physicians, advanced practice clinicians, nurses, and staff who are working to care for clinic patients during these unprecedented times.”

After Governor Andy Beshear ordered all child care facilities closed effective last Friday, Hardin Memorial Health have taken steps to help provide childcare for their employees. This came after the organization realized they would need some type of help for their employees who have children. The foundation hopes to partner with local childcare facilities to provide this opportunity. The process of getting the necessary partnerships will be starting today.

Two citizens, Brandon Keith and Kaitlyn Edwards, have created what is being called a match program for those affected by COVID-19. This service pairs at risk citizens with citizens who are lower risk in order to receive assistance. Brandon can be reached by calling 502-822-6148 or Kaitlyn by 502-822-6515, or those in need of assistance or who want to volunteer can visit elizabethtowncovidmatch.com. All volunteers will be vetted by the Elizabethtown Police Department.

While many events have been cancelled due to COVID-19, numerous outdoor recreational opportunities remain open. Fort Knox’s Lindsey Golf Course will still operate. Prices for the golf course, as well as a list of things to do on post, can be found at knox.armymwr.com.

News- March 20, 2020

Another Kentuckian has died as a result of the novel coronavirus. Governor Andy Beshear announced yesterday evening that a 64-year-old male from Jefferson County had died from complications related to COVID-19. As with the first COVID-19 death, Beshear stressed that the individual had several underlying health problems. As of last night, Beshear indicated that the state has seen 47 positive cases.

At the end of today, child care facilities across the Commonwealth will have to close their doors until further notice. As previously reported, Governor Andy Beshear made the decision to close daycares and other childcare facilities on Monday. Beshear stated that exceptions will be granted for workers in the healthcare industry. Childcare centers are just one of numerous closures the Governor has ordered in hopes of limiting the spread of COVID-19. As of yesterday, 2 children had tested for the virus.

While out on regular patrols, an officer with the Elizabethtown Police Department was alarmed to find a house on Guthrie Street fully engulfed in flames. The Elizabethtown Fire Department was called immediately, and the fire was put out. The home was abandoned and had no utilities running to it. No one was injured or displaced as a result of the fire. The investigation is ongoing.

The Kentucky House of Representatives passed a COVID-19 emergency bill last night before adjourning for a week, according to a social media post from Representative Jim DuPlessis. The bill removes the seven day waiting period for unemployment, extends the maximum amount of weeks of unemployment beyond twenty-six weeks, and allows for employees who have been reduced to part-time to draw a partial benefit. The bill also adds unemployment insurance relief for small businesses. In addition, the bill gives relief from licensing fees and other requirements for occupations and professions required to be licensed under Kentucky law, offers relief from tax filing and payment deadlines under state law to match federal changes, and deems physical therapists as essential health care under Kentucky law.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a local city has taken preemptive steps to better prepare. The City of Hodgenville announced yesterday that Mayor Jim Phelps declared a state of emergency in the city. Executive order 2020-02 entitles the city to possible federal funds to combat the virus, as well as the ability to pass special rules and regulations if needed. So far, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Larue County. 

News- March 19, 2020

In his now daily evening press conference, Governor Andy Beshear informed the public that the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth of Kentucky is now at 35. Of those cases, one is that of an eight-month-old child who the Governor said is doing well, and is being treated at home. The Governor also announced continued steps to help those who may be in need. The department of community based services will be extending certification periods for recipients of all public assistance programs, such as food stamps or Medicaid, for three months. The Governor also announced the suspension of all commercial gaming licenses, saying that bingo halls presented a danger to those who are the most at risk, and announced that banks would more than likely begin imposing restrictions on lobby access and hours of operation.

Elizabethtown Community and Technical College have announced that they will be moving to online classes beginning today through March 27th. All lab classes at the college have been postponed until the threat of COVID-19 has passed, and will resume near the end of the term. The majority of personnel will work remotely during this time, however the college is open with limited staff and limited access to certain areas. Student services will be offered virtually or in a limited fashion on campus and all travel has been halted for staff members, including visits to other KCTCS colleges and the Versailles office. Before March 27th, ECTC leadership and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System president will determine if it is safe to return to regular instruction with staff on campus, or to continue online coursework and telework for staff.

Kentucky State Police Post Four assisted the Bullitt County Sheriff’s Office and Shepherdsville Police Department after a hit and run incident led to a high speed chase. Dispatch advised the pursuit was southbound on US 31W heading toward Radcliff with speeds close to 100 miles per hour. Troopers and deputies with the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office attempted to deploy spike sticks, but were unsuccessful. As the subject approached Veterans Drive, he attempted to cross the median and struck two Shepherdsville Police cruisers, ending the pursuit. The driver, Dakota Elliot (27) of Keyser Mineral, West Virginia, and a Shepherdsville Police Officer were taken to Hardin Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and later released. Elliot’s passenger was also treated at a separate medical facility for non-life-threatening injuries. Both had out of state warrants, and the Shepherdsville Police Department will be handling charges.

No changes have been made to the Hardin County Jail visitations due to COVID-19. Jailer Josh Lindblom says that since interaction takes place over the phone or through glass, there was no need for a change. Lindblom also says that work release inmates will continue to work, and that there has been increased frequency in cleaning the facility.

The Elizabethtown Police Department responded to an automobile collision with a building on Tuesday night. A red pickup truck failed to stop at the intersection at College Street, and continued until it hit Brown Funeral Home. The driver and lone occupant, Brian Young of Elizabethtown, was transported to Hardin Memorial Hospital where he remains in critical but stable condition. The cause of the collision is still under investigation.

As COVID-19 continues to spread around the Commonwealth, a regional healthcare provider has taken steps to help limit the illness’s reach. Hardin Memorial Health announced yesterday the establishment of a hotline for patients experiencing flu or respiratory-like symptoms. Patients experiencing symptoms can call 270-979-7777. The hotline will operate Monday through Friday 8 AM to 4:30 PM.

Ford Automotive Plant have announced that they will be temporarily suspending operations effective this Friday. The plant announced that they would shut down after Thursday’s shifts, and thoroughly clean and sanitize facilities in preparation for employees returning to work on March 30th. Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, and GM are also halting production, according to statements from the manufacturers.

Despite initial worry on social media yesterday, Fort Knox has announced that there is no confirmed case of COVID-19 on post at this time. Medical officials on post are attending to the patient in question to make sure the strain is not present. Officials at the Ireland Army Health Clinic are screening individuals for COVID-19 as they enter the clinic.

News- March 18, 2020

Just a day removed from prohibiting gathering in restaurants and bars, Governor Andy Beshear announced a new executive order, this time ordering certain businesses closed. These businesses include gyms, movie theaters, sports facilities, and all forms of salons. Beshear did say that certain businesses will be granted exemptions, including grocery stores, consumer goods, and retail services. A full list can be found on the Governor’s website. As of last night, 26 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were in Kentucky.

Various colleges and universities have had their education courses altered due to the threat of COVID-19 in the state. Western Kentucky University, University of Louisville, and the University of Kentucky have both cancelled in-person instruction for the rest of the spring semester. Both universities have announced that they will be using alternative instruction to get the course load to those that need it. All in-person events for the rest of the semester must be cancelled, postponed, or virtualized. Degrees will still be given to those who completed all necessary coursework, but in-person commencement ceremonies will need to be postponed. As for Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, the college announced last night that spring break for students has been extended through March 20th, with no classes taking place before March 23rd. Employees will be working remotely, except for essential personnel. Also, the college’s walk-in enrollment service has been closed to the public, however these services are still available over the phone or through e-mail.

The Elizabethtown Police Department is encouraging caution after news of a scam. According to Officer Chris Denham, the new scam features someone saying that they are selling COVID-19 testing kits, which are only for use in medical facilities. As far as the department is aware, these kits are not for home use. The department advises those who believe they have been infected with the virus or show symptoms to contact health care professionals for advice.

Hardin County Judge Executive Harry Berry has directed all county facilities be closed to the public effective at 4:30 PM yesterday. Berry notes that all employees will continue to report for duty in order to conduct business for citizens. Additional information and direction will be available at hcky.org. Fiscal Court will continue as planned on March 24, 2020, but will be closed to the public. The meeting will be streamed live on the county government’s official YouTube channel, and a recorded version will be posted to the county’s webpage the next day.

The American Red Cross is urging the public to continue to give blood despite COVID-19. The organization says that over 1,500 blood drives have been cancelled, leading to over 46,000 fewer donations. Spokesperson Tiffany Taylor says that the Red Cross is taking all necessary steps to ensure that donors and staff are safe, and facilities are clean. Those who are healthy and eligible to donate blood are encouraged to visit redcrossblood.org to find a blood drive nearby.