FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear on Wednesday updated Kentuckians on the fight against the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).
“We are going to get through this together because no matter what this virus or anybody else throws at us, we are strong enough, we are united and we are ready to do what it takes,” the governor said. “This is perhaps one of the most important moments that we will ever face, one of the biggest challenges that we will ever have to rise to. It’s one where we are fighting for the lives of so many and we are rewriting history about how we respond.”
Beshear and other officials also offered updates about the Team Kentucky Fund, a reorganization of the Executive Branch Ethics Commission and the use of masks.
Team Kentucky Fund
Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman highlighted the Team Kentucky Fund Assistance application, which was launched a week and a half ago. She said the site already has received more than 1,900 applications for assistance.
She said the funds are available to those who have been financially burdened through job loss related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 outbreak has caused its own unique set of issues, but what it has also done is exacerbate issues that we know already exist,” said Coleman. “As a rural Kentuckian, I can speak to those from experience, because I know that in lots of places in Kentucky there is not adequate job opportunity for many people. We struggle with health care and infrastructure and internet access in some areas. And what we’ve seen with this fund is that those disparities are showing up in our application process as well.”
Coleman urged people in Breathitt, Fleming, Harlan, Knott, Knox, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Mason and Wolfe counties to participate in greater numbers.
Coleman said Kentucky’s Community Action Agencies will disburse the money regionally, acting as the “hands and feet” of the Team Kentucky Fund, reaching into communities across the commonwealth.
The Team Kentucky Fund currently has raised more than $3.1 million. To access an application, click here.
As of 5 p.m. May 27, Beshear said there were at least 9,077 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 127 of which were newly confirmed Wednesday.
“Our numbers suggest again today that we are no longer in a plateau, but on a decline,” the governor said.
Beshear also reported six new deaths Wednesday, raising the total to 400 Kentuckians lost to the virus.
“In Kentucky, we’ve now lost 400 of our own to this pandemic,” the governor said. “Without all our actions, without heroic actions, would it have been a heck of a lot worse? Yes. But let’s all acknowledge that losing 400 people to anything, at any time, for any reason isn’t OK. It’s just not.”
The deaths reported Wednesday include a 71-year-old man and a 97-year-old woman from Boone County; a 78-year-old man from Hopkins County; two men, ages 77 and 79, from Jefferson County; and an 80-year-old man from Oldham County.
At least 3,124 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.
Executive Branch Ethics Commission
Beshear announced Wednesday that he is reorganizing the Executive Branch Ethics Commission in order to strengthen its mission.
“Today, I’ve taken a step to try to restore the Executive Branch Ethics Commission to what it should be,” the governor said. “As of today, the Commission will no longer be five individuals directly appointed by the governor with no input from others. I am appointing three members, and the other two members will come from a list of nominees from the attorney general and a list of nominees from the state auditor. This is very easy. It’s the right thing to do. I am beyond politics and want to move this state in a better direction.”
The goal of the changes will be to increase the strength and independence of the Ethics Commission and the integrity of state governance.
Beshear noted that he was restoring two positions that provide wider participation. He said that in 2008, former Gov. Steve Beshear made two appointments to the Ethics Commission from recommendations by the Kentucky attorney general and auditor of public accounts. In 2016, former Gov. Matt Bevin rescinded those appointments and appointed all new members without recommendations.
The governor appointed Crit Luallen, David Karem and Roger Crittenden. To view Beshear’s executive order on the reorganization, click here.
Beshear continued to urge Kentuckians to get tested for COVID-19.
Information on how to register at sites throughout the commonwealth visit kycovid19.ky.gov.
Absentee Ballot Application Portal online
Beshear is encouraging all voters to use a new Absentee Ballot Application Portal now available online. A link to the State Board of Elections’ portal can be found at govoteky.com. He urged everyone who plans to vote in next month’s primary elections to go to the portal and request an absentee mail-in ballot.