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Beshear reports 1,635 new COVID cases, 11 deaths; extends state mask mandate 30 days


Gov. Andy Beshear encouraged Kentuckians to renew their fight against COVID-19, while celebrating positive budget and economic development news for the Commonwealth. He also renewed the state’s face coverings mandate for another 30 days and signed an executive order that extends previous orders allowing pharmacists to dispense 30-day refills.

“Our number of hospitalized people goes up every day. These are a lot of Kentuckians who are fighting for their lives,” said Beshear. “Let’s keep lighting our homes up green. There’s a lot of pain out there and it’s hitting everybody. We’re thinking of every family, whether we know you or we don’t. We hurt with you and we grieve with you.”

Case Information

Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:

• New cases today: 1,635
• New deaths today: 11
• Positivity rate: 6.30 percent
• Total deaths: 1,514
• Currently hospitalized: 1,066
• Currently in ICU: 286
• Currently on ventilator: 125

Top counties with the most positive cases today are Jefferson, Fayette, Kenton, Warren, Laurel, McCracken and Boone.

“One of the concerns we have related to hospitals is not that we will first run out of bed space but that we may not have enough health care workers to staff all those beds,” said Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health.

Those reported lost to the virus today include two women, ages 79 and 96, from Hancock County; three women, ages 60, 81 and 89, and four men, ages 59, 71, 72 and 72, from Jefferson County; an 82-year-old woman from Knott County; and a 91-year-old woman from McLean County.

State finances

Beshear announced that based on the recently released Quarterly Economic and Review Report issued by the Office of the State Budget Director, he anticipates that his administration will be able to balance the current fiscal year 2021 budget with no further budget cuts to state agencies or to the state’s Road Fund. He further announced he anticipates finishing fiscal year 2021 on June 30, 2021, with more than $460 million in the Budget Reserve Trust Fund, or “Rainy Day” Fund, the highest total for the fund in state history.
 
“Today’s news means that critical areas such as education, health care, and public safety will not suffer from midyear cuts, but will instead be fully supported at their budgeted amounts,” said Beshear. “A number of factors that helped in balancing the budget include better-than-expected revenue collections through the first four months, which has been supported by federal COVID-19 relief payments to Kentucky’s businesses and individuals as well the substantial investment in health care spending in response to the pandemic.”

Gov. Andy Beshear

The Governor said additional flexibility in the use of CARES Act money that was announced around Labor Day and an assumption that the Commonwealth’s economic circumstances will stay aligned with the U.S. economy through June 2021 also contributed to balancing the budget.
 
Beshear also announced that leaders of the newly formed U.S. Medical Glove Co. LLC expect to create 192 full-time, high-tech jobs at a Paris manufacturing facility to produce medical-grade gloves. The company will help meet the world’s increased need for personal protective equipment and will focus on hiring veterans.

The Governor highlighted that new White House recommendations agree with steps taken in Kentucky. The White House advises high-visibility, color-coded community action plans. It also recommends that Americans, including students and teachers in K-12 schools, wear a mask and stop holding gatherings beyond their immediate household. The White House also backs effective best practices like limiting restaurant indoor capacity to less than 50% and restricting hours until cases and the test positivity rate decrease. The Governor added that an A.P. VoteCast exit poll said 71% of Kentucky voters strongly or somewhat favor requiring people to wear masks when around other people outside of their homes.

Long-Term Care Update

Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Secretary Eric Friedlander updated Kentuckians about the state’s ongoing efforts to provide testing and personal protective equipment, as well as leverage CARES Act funding for the Commonwealth’s long-term care facilities.

He said the state has spent about $30 million in CARES funding to support resident and staff testing. Other efforts include expanding telehealth, developing a personal care assistance program to assist with staffing and working with community partners to bring a long-term care task force together and have an impactful local response.

“The thing we focus on is making sure our seniors and most vulnerable are taken care of,” Secretary Friedlander said. “Now, after keeping our rates lower in Kentucky, we are seeing increases in community-spread across the Commonwealth. We must act. Please, all we have to do is wear masks and follow the guidelines. It is the best way we can protect ourselves, our families and our seniors.”


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