A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Beshear reports 884 new cases, 11 deaths; talks about mask safety, big absentee voting numbers

Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday reported 884 new COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths, bringing the state’s totals to 77,455 cases and 1,234 deaths. One hundred and eight of the newly reported cases were from children ages 18 and under.

“This is about 20 cases less than we had this day last week. It’s about 200 more than we had in the two preceding weeks before that,” said Beshear. “It gives you an idea again that even excluding some of the backlog cases that came in yesterday we are unfortunately on track to have the single largest week thus far in this epidemic.”

Fayette County reported 48 deaths.

The deaths reported Thursday include a 62-year-old woman from Bell County; a 95-year-old woman from Boyd County; a 60-year-old woman from Bullitt County; an 80-year-old woman from Fayette County; two women, ages 63 and 85, and a 58-year-old man from Jefferson County; a 65-year-old man from Lincoln County; an 86-year-old woman and an 83-year-old man from Scott County; and a 31-year-old man from Warren County.

“That’s 11 Kentucky families, so please be there for them, show your empathy, be the great Kentuckians that we are. Light your homes up green because you never know who’s driving by at that part of the night or that part of the morning,” said Beshear. “That may just help them know that you’re out there and supporting them. And let’s make sure we continue to ring those bells at 10 a.m. every morning. And if you know these families, please reach out. Tell them you care about them. Tell them they’re not alone.”

As of Thursday, there have been at least 1,592,037 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate was 4.10 percent, and at least 13,113 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.

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.

He also condemned an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

“This is not an isolated incident. Here in Kentucky, I was hung in effigy just yards from where we are standing on your Capitol grounds. Another man who made threats against me and Kentucky State Police was arrested at his home, where he was making grenades,” said Beshear. “These groups are not freedom fighters, they are terrorists.

“They are not security forces, they are threats to our nation. So this nation and every single one of its leaders – including everyone here in Kentucky – must in one voice denounce all of these groups. Domestic terrorism is about violence and intimidation, pure and simple. There are no two sides to it. There should be no state leaders or lawmakers pandering to these violent extremists. No posing for photos, no speaking at their rallies, because wrong is wrong.

“I will say it again: I will not be intimidated, I will not back down and I will continue to do the right thing. We cannot allow domestic terrorism, which threatens our way of life, to be cast in terms of patriotism or applauded on any level. It is our job as the people that make up this nation to do the right thing and send the right message.”

‘The Fast 4 at 4’

Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman highlighted a variety of issues of importance to Kentuckians and the Commonwealth.

Team Kentucky Fund

Coleman announced that over $1 million in aid has been given to Kentuckians through the Team Kentucky Fund, which was created by Beshear to help Kentuckians who suffered a financial loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She thanked Community Action of Kentucky for their hard work and the Public Protection Cabinet, which is overseeing the Team KY Fund. If you have been affected financially by COVID-19, visit TeamKyFund.ky.gov to apply.

If you want to help your fellow Kentuckians, visit donate.ky.gov to give. Each gift is tax-deductible and 100 percent goes directly to Kentuckians.

RISE Awards

Coleman also announced the state would be participating in the U.S. Department of Education RISE Award, which stands for Recognizing Inspirational School Employees. This award is intended to honor classified school employees who provide exemplary service to students. Some examples of classified school employees are clerical and administrative staffers, food service workers, custodial, maintenance, transportation and health services staffers.

“We all know that we have some amazing people working in Kentucky schools,” said Coleman. “We are asking for nominations from schools, districts, non-profit organizations, communities, parents and students. We are looking for nominees who demonstrate excellence in leadership, commitment and community involvement.”

A selection committee will review the nominations and submit their recommendations to the Governor for submission to the Department of Education. If you would like to nominate someone, visit education.ky.gov. Nominations are due by Oct. 16.

Pikeville Medical Center Healthy at School Telehealth Program

The Lieutenant Governor congratulated the Pike County School System on the Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) Healthy at School Telehealth Program. With the telehealth platform, students who are attending in-person classes and become sick will have the opportunity to be seen virtually by a PMC medical provider without having to leave school. In most cases, parents or guardians will be able to pick their sick child up from school, pick up any necessary prescription medication from a pharmacy and go directly home.

“There is nothing more important than protecting our students, whether they are learning in person or from home. As I have said, our schools were made for this moment,” said Coleman. “I continue to be proud of the innovative work many school districts are doing to better serve their students. This is another instance of our schools going above and beyond to serve our children.”

Elections Update

Secretary of State Michael Adams provided an update on how many absentee ballots had already been requested and returned.

“What we wanted, the Governor and I, was to make sure we had absentee ballots available for those who need them,” said Adams. “We’ve preserved that, but we also didn’t want to over-test the system with having more absentee ballots than we can manage with our current infrastructure.

“Six hundred and twenty-five thousand absentee ballots, my guess is it’s going to be, that’s right in the sweet spot. That’s enough that we see that it’s working, that word is getting out, that voters who have concerns were able to utilize this effectively but it’s also not so many that it will overwhelm the system.”

He also covered all relevant voting deadlines for Kentuckians to remember.

“So again, tomorrow is the deadline to request an absentee ballot. Starting on Tuesday, the thirteenth of October, we’re going to have in-person voting available statewide six days a week. This year there’s not an Election Day, there are 19 Election Days,” said Adams. “You can go vote Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, it’s up to you. Do what’s convenient and help us space out the crowds and ensure we can have social distancing.”

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