Governor Reiterates Importance of Social Distancing after 'Coronavirus Party' Attendee Tests Positive for Virus

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a first-term Democrat, discusses his state's response to the coronavirus outbreak on March 13, 2020.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a first-term Democrat, discusses his state's response to the coronavirus outbreak on March 13, 2020. Associated Press


Connecting state and local government leaders

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear had a hard time containing his frustration this week.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear pleaded with residents to adhere to social distancing guidelines as he described a young adult who contracted Covid-19 after attending a “coronavirus party,” a gathering allegedly held specifically to ignore public health recommendations.

“This is the part where I, the person that tells everybody to be calm, have to remain calm myself," Beshear said Tuesday at a press conference. "Because anyone who goes to something like this may think that they are indestructible, but it’s someone else’s loved one that they are going to hurt.”

The person was one of 39 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state. Beshear did not specify which county the patient came from, only that he or she had attended a gathering of adults in their 20s. Four people in the state have died from Covid-19.

"We are battling for the health and the lives of our parents and our grandparents," he said. "Don't be callous as to intentionally go to something and expose yourself to something that will hurt other people. We ought to be much better than that."

Beshear said he planned to sign an executive order closing “non-life-sustaining businesses” to in-person traffic by Thursday at 8 p.m. Businesses that can stay open—grocery stores, drug stores and pharmacies, banks, hardware stores, gas stations, media and others—“still need to practice social distancing.”

The party is not the only gathering in recent weeks to poke fun at the coronavirus. Residents in New Jersey invited neighbors over for a pandemic-themed soiree but required attendees to don shoe covers and face masks before entering, the New York Post reported.

Kentucky as a whole received a B in social-distancing compliance, according to a "Social Distancing Scorecard" released this week by Unacast, a company that collects and analyzes GPS data from cell phones. The scoreboard assigns letter grades to states and counties based on the changes to residents’ daily movements since social distancing guidelines were implemented. Places with at least a 40% decrease in average distance traveled receive an A. Kentucky residents averaged a 34% decline in movement, according to the data.

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Kate Elizabeth Queram is a Staff Correspondent for Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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