Supreme Court Halts Boone Ruling Against Beshear; Third-Highest COVID Cases Reported
Following the decision of a Boone County Circuit Court judge that he would agree with Attorney General and the attorneys representing three local enterprises in their quest to block all executive orders from Governor Andy Beshear related to the state's response the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kentucky Supreme Court moved to halt that decision temporarily.
The supreme court will now take up the issue.
"Given the need for a clear and consistent statewide public health policy and recognizing that the Kentucky legislature has expressly given the governor broad executive powers in a public health emergency, the court orders a stay of all orders of injunctive relief until such time as the various orders are properly before the court with a full record of any evidence and pleadings considered by the lower courts," Justice John Minton stated in the order, according to the Courier-Journal.
On Friday, Beshear said during his daily update on COVID-19 that he felt relief at the Supreme Court's intervention, calling the legal battle one of "life and death."
While the local businesses looked to ease restrictions on day cares, crowd sizes at auto racing, and restaurants, the Boone decision could have halted other measures like Beshear's statewide mask mandate, all designed to slow the spread of the virus that brought Kentucky 531 new positive cases on Thursday. That is the third-highest number reported since the pandemic began here in March.
"These are emergency powers provided from the legislature to the governor to respond in a time like this, but if we want to argue in front of a court, let's do it," Beshear said. "Let's not risk the lives of Kentuckians in the process."
Beshear warned that the state is still seeing an uptick in the number of cases, as are many other states across the country following the emergence from near-lockdown status as an initial response to the worldwide pandemic.
The governor noted that 36 cases emerged from a single football team in the state, affecting 18 players, 3 coaches, and 15 family members. "It's not just if you're there and make the decision to be there," he said. "It comes home. It comes to other people.
"It's one reason why wearing a mask is absolutely critical."
"We are living in really dangerous times," the governor said.
Of the 531 new cases reported on Friday, 17 were in Kenton County, 16 in Boone, and 14 in Campbell.
Beshear reiterated a common point: that the number of positive cases reported today represents infections that occurred days or weeks ago. "The world that we have these 531 cases from is a world that is at least ten days old," he said. "That's why we want everybody to wear a facial covering. Hopefully it means fourteen days from now we see very different numbers that are much lower."
The state has seen a total of 21,605 total cases from 522,267 tests for a positivity rate of 4.19%. Beshear said that health experts have argued that if the positive rate ticks above 5 percent, some lockdown measures should be revisited.
452 people are currently hospitalized in the state due to COVID-19, with 89 in intensive care units. 6,772 people have recovered.
There were eight new deaths reported, bringing the state's total to 653.
The governor also noted that 10 kids under the age of 5 are among the positive cases, including three under the age of one.
-Michael Monks, editor & publisher