FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear announced Saturday that 92 new cases of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were confirmed in Kentucky, marking the largest one-day increase in the commonwealth amid the global pandemic.
“This is why we have social distancing. This is a virus that spreads like wildfire,” Beshear said. “So, yes we are going to see more cases in Kentucky.”
That brings the total cases in Kentucky to 394. Sixty-four people infected with coronavirus in Kentucky are believed to have recovered and nine have died related to the virus. The Governor did not receive the report of the ninth death, a 66-year-old female from Kenton County, until after his 5 p.m. update. The Governor is requesting that Kentuckians turn their lights green to show compassion for the family and as a show of resilience.
“The coronavirus makes us anxious, afraid, uncertain and isolated, but I hope you think we are connected more than ever,” Beshear said. “This requires us to be a commonwealth for the common good. In fact, it is a calling that our individual actions impact the safety and health of others.”
With COVID-19 cases ramping up, Beshear announced that Kentucky is poised to see federal aid flowing to people and agencies here.
Kentucky has received federal disaster designation that will provide additional funding for the commonwealth’s response to the pandemic.
The Major Disaster Declaration issued by President Donald Trump broadens access to the Public Assistance Program statewide to pay for emergency protective services not covered by other federal statutes.
The declaration also allows state and local agencies to recover expenses related to the response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Some examples of services covered include emergency medical care, medical sheltering, personal protective gear, law enforcement and communications, as well as the purchase and distribution of food, water, ice, medicine and other consumable supplies.
The governor’s request for Individual Assistance and Hazard Mitigation programs are currently under review.
The federal Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, which was just signed into law, provides wide-ranging benefits to all Kentuckians.
In particular, it provides a variety of assistance and hope to Kentuckians whose livelihoods have been harmed by the coronavirus outbreak and response.
“I signed an agreement with the Department of Labor that provides for us to raise the maximum weekly benefit by $600, increase benefits weeks by 13 additional weeks, fund unemployment insurance for individuals not typically eligible and finally allows states to expand workshare programs,” Beshear said.
Deputy Secretary for the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Josh Benton said his department was working to address issues that some contractors have reported.
“Independent contractors are able to file for unemployment insurance benefits,” Deputy Secretary Benton said. “We are fixing the process on the back end. We are still processing those claims and they will be paid for those.”
Beshear again urged all Kentuckians who qualify for unemployment benefits to file a claim.
Eric Friedlander, acting secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said the administration also was working to keep Kentuckians covered for health care needs.
“We are going to make sure we get Medicaid coverage to as many people as possible,” Friedlander said.
As of 5 p.m. March 28, the Governor said there are at least 394 positive cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky, with 92 of those being newly confirmed. One new death was reported Saturday.
Key updates this week
Beshear talked about the spread of COVID-19 related to Tennessee. Kentuckians can still go to Tennessee for work, to take care of a loved one or even buy groceries if it is closer, but the governor asks that unnecessary travel to Tennessee end. He asked Kentuckians not to travel across the southern state-line to partake in activities that have been limited, or were limited earlier in Kentucky.
Honoring those we lost
On Friday, Beshear honored the tragic loss of three Kentuckians in one day – including a 73-year-old female from Jefferson County, a 75-year-old female from Fayette County and 77-year-old male in Hopkins County – by lighting the Governor’s Mansion and the Capitol dome green. “I want us to think about their families. I want us to pray for them and their loved ones,” Beshear said.
Team Kentucky Fund
Beshear, along with the Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet, took executive action to establish the Team Kentucky Fund, a GoFundMe-style online platform to provide financial help to Kentuckians whose employment is affected by the coronavirus. The Governor has challenged those who are able to help to make a tax-deductible donation to the fund. University of Kentucky basketball Coach John Calipari recorded a video encouraging people to help fellow Kentuckians and donate to the Team Kentucky Fund.
Beshear announced the COVID-19 Reporting Hotline (833-597-2337) that will investigate complaints about non-compliance with coronavirus mandates. Labor Cabinet personnel will monitor the hotline from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET. A new website where Kentuckians can visit to make online complaints is kysafer.ky.gov.
To read about other key updates from Beshear visit the news section on governor.ky.gov.
Gov. Beshear has taken decisive actions to protect all Kentuckians since the first case was confirmed in the commonwealth. To read the full list of actions Gov. Beshear has taken to protect Kentuckians and limit the spread of the coronavirus, visit governor.ky.gov/covid19.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages people to follow these steps to prevent illness. Kentuckians who want advice can call the state hotline at 800-722-5725 or call their local health care provider. To read Gov. Beshear’s news releases and watch other news regarding COVID-19 visit governor.ky.gov.