Kentucky experienced its highest single-day spike in coronavirus cases after protests broke out in the state to lift lockdowns, according to reports.
Gov. Andy Beshear announced there were 273 new cases Sunday, bringing the total to 2,960, news station WCPO reported.
“We are still in the midst of this fight against a deadly and highly contagious virus,” Beshear said. “Let’s make sure, as much as we’re looking at those benchmarks and we’re looking at the future, that we are acting in the present and we are doing the things that it takes to protect one another.”
The Bluegrass State is among the regions that have seen demonstrators take to the streets last week to call for the end of lockdown restrictions.
Around 100 protesters gathered Wednesday on the lawn of the Capitol building in Frankfort during Beshear’s coronavirus briefing, shouting “Open up Kentucky!” and “King Beshar,” the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
The same group returned Friday to the Capitol building, where they were met by barricades, the newspaper reported.
Instead, they circled the area in cars for a drive-thru protest of Beshar’s coronavirus restrictions, the report said.
It’s unclear whether the protests had any impact on the surge of deaths reported Sunday in the state.
Beshear said at least 13 percent of cases reported in Kentucky have been nursing home residents.
Of the 273 new cases, there were 33 patients who were residents of nursing homes and eight more who were staffers, he said.
Beshear insisted Sunday that he wouldn’t budge yet on easing lockdown restrictions despite the calls from protesters, according to the newspaper.
“We’re not in the 14 days of decreasing under the White House guidelines to do certain things,” Beshear said.