A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Governor reports 381 new COVID-19 cases; notes overdose awareness, new child care guidance

Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday reported 381 new COVID-19 cases and three deaths, bringing the state’s totals to 48,396 cases and 933 deaths. Forty-three of the cases were children 18 and under, and among those were two children 5 and under.

There were 39 cases reported in Fayetteville County.

“We always have lower numbers on Sundays and Mondays, due to lab closures over the weekend. But the White House report for this week still has 59 of our 120 counties in the red or yellow zone,” said Beshear. “We don’t want any of our counties in either. Let’s remember how serious this is and not act like everything is normal.

“When we make bad decisions, most often somebody else pays for it, and can pay for it with their lives,” said Beshear.

There have been at least 877,443 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate currently stands at 4.42 percent. At least 10,375 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.

Information about COVID-19 and schools is also being made available. To view the reports, click here for K-12 and here for colleges and universities.

“I’m a big believer that our world can be much better than it is right now,” the Governor said. “That’s why I do this. I think my kids deserve a better Kentucky and a better world than they’re growing up in. We have an opportunity based on coming together to defeat the crisis of the moment, to build a better Kentucky that has fewer crises now and in the future.”

Overdose Awareness Day

Beshear recognized International Overdose Awareness Day, a global event held on Aug. 31 each year to bring awareness to the overdose epidemic, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths and acknowledge the grief of family and friends left behind.

“Awareness is the key to survival during most medical emergencies; and that’s certainly true in the case of a drug overdose,” the Governor said. “If you find a loved one has overdosed, or even a complete stranger, knowing how to react could mean the difference between life and death.”

Those needing access to naloxone or more resources on how to respond to an overdose can find more information on the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy’s webpage.

Beshear noted that public health officials say that since the start of the pandemic in the U.S., they are seeing the largest number of overdose deaths since 2017.

Kentuckians struggling with substance use disorders, either themselves or within their families, can call 833-8KY-HELP (833-859-4357) to speak with a specialist about treatment options and available resources.

The Fast 4 at 4

Beshear highlighted a variety of issues of importance to Kentuckians and the commonwealth.

• The Governor reminded voters they now can go to www.GoVoteKy.com to request an absentee ballot for the Nov. 3 general election, if they are concerned about COVID-19 and voting. “Make sure your vote is counted,” Beshear said. “This is how you have a voice for this country, for this commonwealth, for your county, for your community.” Gov. Beshear encouraged all Kentuckians to make a plan to vote, either by mail, in person during early voting or in person on Election Day.

• Beshear also reminded Kentuckians that the state issued a travel advisory in July that recommends people avoid visiting states with coronavirus case positivity rates of 15 percent or higher. Among the states currently exceeding that threshold, according to data from Johns Hopkins, are South Carolina, North Dakota, Iowa, Alabama and Nevada. Anyone returning to Kentucky after visiting these places is asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

• Beshear asked Kentuckians to take advantage of the free COVID-19 testing available at sites throughout the Commonwealth. “While much of the country has fallen behind on testing, we have stayed ahead,” the Governor said. “We need your help to continue to do that. The resources are out there to make sure that you are safe and to make sure you’re keeping others safe.” For information on more than 200 testing sites, click here.

• Jim Gray, Secretary of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), on Monday announced funding for access roads to spur development at industrial parks in Warren, Barren and Fulton counties.

“The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is proud to be part of Team Kentucky and to have a role in preparing the ground for new, job-creating industrial sites,” Gray said.

Kentucky Enhanced VINE

Beshear, who formerly served as Kentucky’s attorney general, announced more than $500,000 in grant funding will build an expansion of services for crime victims in the Commonwealth.

“We must continue to create more victim-centered services to help our fellow Kentuckians move forward after their darkest days,” said Beshear. “This system is another step in the right direction in creating more services focused on victims and survivors and connecting them with the support and information they deserve.”

He said the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet has awarded the Kentucky Department of Corrections $551,000 in federal Victims of Crime Act grant funding for significant enhancements to be made to the Victims Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) system, the state’s victim notification program.

“VINE offers timely and potentially life-saving notifications via email and phone about an offender in custody,” Beshear said. “With the new funding, VINE also will help victims locate services they might need, provide alerts via text message and create a unified database.”

Child Care Guidelines

Eric Friedlander, Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, spoke Monday about changes to the emergency regulations relating to child care, which aim to balance the safety and health of our children, caregivers and the public.

“We also recognize our children’s need to learn and socialize and the essential role of child care for working parents. It is good that everyone is now recognizing the importance of child care,” Friedlander said. “It has been a difficult time for child-care providers. CARES Act funding has resulted in over $67 million going to Kentucky child-care providers.”

In unveiling “Journey to a New Kentucky: Changes to Child-Care Facilities Guidance,” Secretary Friedlander said the department was offering a plan to address increasing capacity and the pre-existing shortages of registered and certified providers, while continuing to enforce child care standards.

Among the provisions in the new guidance:

• Help for parents to meet needs of nontraditional instruction (NTI) days by aiding background checks on providers and ensuring staffers are: masked; using proper hygiene; enforcing health checks and small groups; and have a plan is in place for when someone tests positive for COVID-19.

• Expanding the maximum number of allowed children to 15 for licensed child-care facilities.

• Certified homes, licensed infant and 1-year-old classrooms may return to typical group sizes.

• $2,500 startup incentive bonus through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to encourage new providers.

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