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Protesters interrupt Beshear’s daily briefing on coronavirus

April 15, 2020 GMT
Emily Penrod, of Metropolis, waits for her next patient at the newest cornonavirus testing site in the parking lot of Massac Memorial Hospital at 28 Chick St. in Metropolis, Ky., Tuesday, April 14, 2020. (Thomas Dean Stewart/The Paducah Sun via AP)
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Emily Penrod, of Metropolis, waits for her next patient at the newest cornonavirus testing site in the parking lot of Massac Memorial Hospital at 28 Chick St. in Metropolis, Ky., Tuesday, April 14, 2020. (Thomas Dean Stewart/The Paducah Sun via AP)
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Emily Penrod, of Metropolis, waits for her next patient at the newest cornonavirus testing site in the parking lot of Massac Memorial Hospital at 28 Chick St. in Metropolis, Ky., Tuesday, April 14, 2020. (Thomas Dean Stewart/The Paducah Sun via AP)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Protesters calling for businesses to reopen interrupted Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s typically serene daily briefing on Wednesday.

The governor, who starts the daily address with positive affirmations like “we will get through this together,” continued on for nearly an hour as a megaphone led chanting outside the capitol building.

“They believe we should reopen Kentucky right now,” Beshear said of the protesters. “Folks, that would kill people.”

The protesters could be heard on a video stream as Beshear gave the briefing in a room on the capitol’s first floor.

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Beshear, a Democrat, had a chance before the noise began to unveil a partnership with the Republican governors of Ohio and Indiana to work on a regional agreement when outbreak restrictions begin to be lifted. Beshear called it critical to cooperate with neighboring states.

The governor said the state recorded 88 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday and seven deaths, delivering that news as protesters outside chanted, “You are not the king!”

Beshear also responded to a federal lawsuit filed this week by a group of churchgoers who said the state’s prohibition on in-person church services amid the coronavirus pandemic violates the Constitution.

The churchgoers are asking a judge in U.S. District Court in Covington to declare Beshear’s order relating to churches be ruled unconstitutional. The three attended an in-person service on Easter at Maryville Baptist Church near Louisville and received quarantine notices on their cars.

Beshear has said his mass gathering orders do not single out churches. On Wednesday the governor said worshippers around the state had found ways to pray and participate in a religious services without gathering in person at churches.

“Here in Kentucky there are so many different ways to worship, and all but one church in this commonwealth are engaged in them,” Beshear said, referring to Maryville Baptist.

State police placed notices on the cars in the parking lot of the church during the service, ordering the churchgoers to self-quarantine for 14 days.

The three Kenton County plaintiffs in the federal suit, Theodore J. Roberts, Randall Daniel and Sally O’Boyle, said they attended the Easter service but stayed 6 feet (2 meters) away from others and wore masks inside the church. They also argued in the suit they don’t show symptoms of the virus so they should not be ordered to quarantine.

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Elsewhere, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is warning people about new scams related to the coronavirus that are being aimed at Medicaid recipients. Cameron said scammers may target Medicaid beneficiaries in order to illegally bill the Medicaid program for unnecessary services and equipment.

Anyone who believes they may be a victim of Medicaid fraud during the pandemic should contact the Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Hotline at 1-877-ABUSE TIP.

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Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.