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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Beshear: 45 New Coronavirus Cases, Disease Is 'Escalating'

andy beshear
Timothy D. Easley

Gov. Andy Beshear says there were 45 new cases of coronavirus in Kentucky, bringing the state's total to 439.

During an evening update Sunday, Beshear reported no new deaths associated with the disease, which has killed nine in Kentucky so far. The daily increase of cases is less than half of the increase reported yesterday — which was the largest to date at 92 — but Beshear said that the state and country are escalating right now.

"It's going to continue. There are going to be days where we have more positive tests than we did yesterday, when we had ninety-something," Beshear said.

Beshear criticized several instances of people not properly social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, highlighting reports of golfers congregating around a putting green and gatherings in state parks.

Beshear said he had deployed additional park rangers to Dale Hollow State Park in Cumberland County. A fishing tournament in Tennessee had led to people congregating in the southern Kentucky park, he said.

Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Steven Stack highlighted reports of churches still holding services, including one that had more than 600 attendees, and a Mercer County man who has refused to cooperate with health officials after testing positive for the virus.

Beshear announced that he is drafting plans to release some state inmates as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and he intends to announce an order later this week.

According to the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, county jails have already released about 3,200 people, many of whom were defendants locked up because they hadn’t paid bail.

This story first appeared on WFPL. For more stories like this, visit wfpl.org now

Ryland Barton is WFPL's Managing Editor for Collaboratives.