A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Beshear reports 406 COVID-19 cases, one death; says get flu shot, fill out census, vote, more

Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday reported 406 new COVID-19 cases and one death, bringing the state’s totals to 61,917 cases and 1,112 deaths. Among the new cases were 67 children 18 and under, of which nine were ages 5 and under. The youngest was 5 months old.

The death reported Monday was a 77-year-old woman from Scott County.

“Last week, we had our second-highest number of cases by week,” the Governor said. “We really want to see this overall number of cases come down. Our positivity rate is going down, which is great news. But those overall numbers are too high. We’ve got to do what it takes to have fewer new weekly cases.

“Thankfully, today we only have one new death to announce. But her family is going to be missing her. Let’s light our homes up green and ring those bells just as much when we lose one individual.”

For additional information, including up-to-date lists of positive cases and deaths, as well as breakdowns of coronavirus infections by county, race and ethnicity, click here.

“We need two things as we go forward fighting COVID,” the Governor said. “We need that strength and endurance knowing that it is going to end and we’ve got to be strong enough to do the right thing until it ends. We also need to have flexibility, knowing that this virus can pop up in an area and absolutely take off.”

‘The Fast 4 at 4’

Beshear on Monday highlighted a variety of issues of importance to Kentuckians and the Commonwealth.

Flu shots

Beshear stressed the importance of all Kentuckians who are able receiving a seasonal flu. Health experts are warning that a bad seasonal flu outbreak might spark a “twindemic” that could overwhelm health care systems.

“This season, more than ever, we need to ensure that every Kentuckian who can gets that flu shot,” the Governor said. “We don’t want to be dealing with COVID-19 and a widespread flu outbreak this season.”

Voting and Census

Beshear again encouraged all Kentuckians to make a plan to vote, either by mail, in person during early voting or in person on Election Day and to fill out a U.S. Census form.

“Remember, you have to register to vote by Oct. 5 at 4 p.m. local time,” the Governor said. “Democrats and Republicans have stepped up this year to come up with a plan to let you vote safely.”

He reminded Kentuckians that if they have concerns about COVID-19, they can go online right now to request an absentee ballot at GoVoteKy.com.

He spoke of the importance of every Kentuckian taking time to fill out a U.S. Census form, stressing the once-per-decade count’s link to funding for schools and child welfare.

“We only have a limited number of days left to fill out the 2020 census. If we don’t fill this out, our dollars go to another state,” said Gov. Beshear.

Mask Up Kentucky

Beshear stressed the continued importance of everyone wearing face coverings, calling it the single most important thing all of us can do to fight COVID-19.

“This is our greatest and most important tool for getting back to everything we want to do,” the Governor said. “Do the right thing: Mask up.”

He also encouraged Kentuckians to spread the word on social media using #MaskUpKY and #MaskUpKentucky hashtags.

Lost Wages Assistance

Beshear announced that Kentucky has applied for three more weeks of Lost Wages Assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Each week will be paid separately.

“Today, we have applied for three additional weeks of unemployment insurance coverage of the extra $400 a week for those that qualify,” said Beshear. “If accepted by the federal government, those who qualify for those additional dollars will receive their $400 extra for the weeks of Aug. 22, Aug. 29 and Sept. 5.”

Eligibility criteria for the program:

• Individuals who receive at least $100 per week in unemployment insurance compensation for each week covered by FEMA’s Lost Wages Assistance program; and
• Individuals who have self-certified that they are unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Testing Guidance

Beshear spoke about changes in the testing guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that has caused some confusion.

“If you’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, you ought to get tested. The CDC has changed their website to stress this again,” the Governor said. “We’ve been providing this guidance the whole time. If you have been exposed, make sure that you get tested.”

To view the CDC’s testing guidance, click here.

Beshear also continued to encourage Kentuckians to take advantage of the nearly 260 testing locations throughout the Commonwealth.

“There are testing locations everywhere,” he said. “Make sure you are getting tested regularly.”

For more information or to find a testing site, click here.

Long-term Care Facilities

Eric Friedlander, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, provided an update Monday on the state’s long-term care facilities following new guidance from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

“To save lives, Gov. Beshear took decisive, swift action in March, issuing an executive order, stopping most visitation in long-term care facilities,” Friedlander said. “Actions were also taken from the Office of the Inspector General to curb residents’ exposure to the coronavirus. This included limiting providers’, volunteers’, suppliers’ and vendors’ presence in the facilities and aligning residents with a limited number of caregivers.”

He noted that months of fighting the coronavirus have been difficult for residents, employees and friends and families of people residing in our long-term care facilities.

“New guidance is allowing the use of the same COVID-19 county positivity rate information that school districts are using to determine whether in-person learning is recommended,” Friedlander said. “Long-term care facilities are also using this data to determine the degree to which indoor visitation can take place. As long as no new cases have been confirmed in the previous two weeks, visitation can be expanded to more than end-of-life visits.”

He said restrictions on physical touching and communal dining will be eased, while robust testing of staffers, providers, and vendors will continue.

Friedlander said CMS also has approved use of Civil Monetary Penalty funds to purchase tents for outdoor visitation and/or clear dividers to create physical barriers to reduce the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.

“We will continue to monitor this situation closely, as the national case count for COVID-19 is increasing,” Friedlander said. “With schools reopening and more people mixing, Kentucky may also see an increase.”

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