A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Gov. Andy Beshear reports 135 new COVID cases, 10 deaths; talks more reopenings and food for kids

Gov. Andy Beshear reported in his daily briefing 135 new cases and 10 deaths, raising the state’s totals to 8,236 cases and 386 deaths. At least 3,008 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.

Healthy at Work

The Governor also announced auctions could be held starting June 1. Horse shows can be held again starting on June 8. Bars, gatherings with 50 people or fewer and venues that hold 50 people or fewer can reopen June 29 if they meet guidelines.

Businesses that are opening May 22 at 33% capacity can expand to 50 percent capacity a month later, on June 22, if they meet the guidelines.

“Based on the numbers we are seeing right now, we think we will be responsible and that we can hit it at that time,” said Beshear. “It all depends on how good we do at being Healthy at Work.”

For more information on the Healthy at Work timeline and industry requirements, click here.

Kentucky students and new emergency food benefits

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) and the Kentucky Department of Education are partnering to provide food assistance to families who have lost access to free or reduced-price school meals during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency.

Beginning May 23, Kentucky families with students who normally receive free or reduced-price meals at school may get financial assistance to replace those meals through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

“These parents will be provided some additional benefits so they can use that to feed their children so that they don’t go hungry because they’re missing meals at school,” said CHFS Secretary Eric Friedlander. “When you apply for these benefits, it’s not just you as the individual that benefits. It’s your grocers, it’s your local businesses, it is the entire food system in Kentucky that benefits.”

Families who already receive assistance can receive P-EBT in addition to other benefits their household may get. Children who already receive SNAP, Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program assistance, Kinship Care or Medicaid will automatically receive P-EBT on their EBT cards and do not need to apply separately. P-EBT benefits will be added to existing EBT cards no later than May 28. Families of all other children must complete a short online application and will be mailed an EBT card with instructions on how to activate and use their card. Apply or get information from June 2 through June 30 at www.benefind.ky.gov or 855-306-8959.

Students who became eligible for free or reduced lunch after March 13 are eligible for P-EBT.

For more information, click here.

Child care reopening

Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Secretary Eric Friedlander announced that on June 8, in-home child care programs can open. On June 15, center-based licensed child care programs can reopen to all families.

“Today is a day of really good news for many people. Child care is one of the areas we know is critical to reopening the economy. It is critical to parents and has been critical to our essential workers,” said Sec. Friedlander. “It’s always a balance between protecting ourselves and our families and going to back to being Healthy at Work.”

The maximum group size will be 10 children per group. Children will remain in the same groups all day and staff will be assigned to the same children each day to reduce exposure. All adults must wear a face mask while in any child care program (in-home or center-based). Children 5 or younger should not wear masks, but older children may wear masks as they are able.

Programs should stagger playground time, eliminate center-wide family events, eliminate field trips and use centralized drop-off/pick-up locations to eliminate unnecessary traffic to classrooms and reduce exposure.

Sec. Friedlander also highlighted support for providers. All programs – in-home and center-based – will receive additional funding for cleaning and PPE supplies. Continued assistance will be available from state personnel and resources.

Click to see the complete guidance for in-home child care and center-based child care.

Memorial Day Weekend

Keeping safe while celebrating together is crucial as we enter the traditional start of the summer season. Gov. Beshear and state health officials are asking all Kentuckians to keep gatherings to 10 or fewer people.

“We’ve done a wonderful job coming together and showing our care and concern for each other in Kentucky,” said Kentucky Department of Public Health (KDPH) Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack. “The works not over, and if we take our eye off the ball, in June or July, we’ll have the very problem we’ve averted so far.”

Other guidance includes wearing masks, maintaining social distancing of six feet or more, gathering outside instead of inside, washing hands frequently and covering food and individually wrapping plates.

Restaurants reopening

Today, restaurants in Kentucky reopen for outdoor and limited indoor dining. As COVID-19 cases increase, please continue to take steps to prevent its spread. According to NKY District Director of Health, Lynne Saddler, MD, MPH, “As restaurants are preparing to reopen, and taking many precautions to create a safe environment for both customers and staff, all of us need to do our part. Make sure COVID-19 does not have a seat at your dinner table.”

The following are actions you can take to ensure a safer dining experience:

  If you are sick, do not go out. 

  Wash hands often. 

  Sit only one household per table. 

  Maintain a distance of six feet from others. 

  Do not congregate with others inside or outside restaurants. 

  If a place looks crowded, come back later.

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