FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear on Friday updated Kentuckians on the fight against the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).
“We will get through this together because we understand the different steps that it will take, especially being healthy at work, to make sure that we can reopen, that we can revive our economy, that we can create our economy of the future,” said Beshear. “We can do this in a way that makes sure we come out stronger than we were going into this pandemic.”
The governor spoke about the Thursday night protest in Louisville over Breonna Taylor’s death.
Beshear and other officials also offered updates about remote driver’s license and I.D. card renewal, Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO) contracts and long-term care facilities.
As of 5 p.m. May 29, Beshear said there were at least 9,464 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 283 of which were newly confirmed Friday.
“Today’s report is up, and up a fair amount, in cases. We’ll have to wait the next couple days to see whether it is just labs getting caught up from the weekend or whether it is in and of itself significant and something we’ll see moving forward,” said Beshear. “If you look at the last four days on average, it would be 158 cases per day.”
Beshear reported nine new deaths Friday, raising the total to 418 Kentuckians lost to the virus.
The deaths reported Friday include 51-, 74- and 88-year-old men and 70-, 83- and 90-year-old women from Butler County; 64- and 68-year-old men from Gallatin County; and a 55-year-old man from Oldham County.
“These are nine families that again need us to light our homes, places of business and places of worship up green for compassion,” said Beshear. “With the events of the last couple days, compassion is something we ought to have on full display.”
At least 3,231 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.
Beshear spoke about Thursday night’s protest in Louisville over the shooting death of Breonna Taylor. Previously, he has called for further investigation of her death. Gov. Beshear encouraged all Kentuckians to seek justice peacefully and to listen to the concerns, fears and experiences of black or African-American community members.
“This is a very concerning shooting of an EMT, a young woman who worked to save lives of others here in Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “In a broader context, this pandemic we’re facing has laid bare the inequalities that still exist in our society and that many times are fatal.”
He commended the protestors for largely following CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He also highlighted the disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases and deaths among black or African-American Kentuckians and committed to doing everything he could to reduce health inequality.
“While I’m trying to provide the right words, I don’t claim to understand the depths of pain and frustration that I know so many people feel,” Beshear said. “I can’t. But what I can commit to do is to listen and to do my best. To tell you that I want to move this world into a better place.”
Remote driver’s license and I.D. card renewal
Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray signed an executive order temporarily authorizing circuit court clerk offices to process expired driving credential renewals and replacement requests remotely.
Cardholders whose operator’s license, permit or identification card was lost or expired between March 1 and June 30, 2020, may apply with their local circuit court clerk to receive a new card in the mail. For more information, click here.
“This order is the next right step to help clerks safely serve Kentuckians impacted by the office closures caused by the pandemic,” said Beshear. “The temporary measure will allow contactless service to help minimize crowding and help offices gradually return to full-service operations.”
Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO) contracts
Beshear and Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander today announced the Commonwealth of Kentucky has awarded the state’s Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO) contract to five health care companies that will manage benefits for the state’s Medicaid enrollees.
The five companies are Aetna, Humana, Molina Healthcare, UnitedHealthcare and WellCare. Aetna will also serve children in Kentucky SKY, the Medicaid risk-based managed care delivery program for the state foster care program and the Department for Juvenile Justice.
“Health care is a basic human right, and ensuring coverage for approximately 90% of Medicaid’s 1.4 million population is of the utmost importance to my administration,” Beshear said. “The expansion of Medicaid in the commonwealth has been lifesaving for many families who struggled to find and afford coverage. As we move forward, we must continue to provide equal access for every Kentuckian who needs quality care.”
For more information, click here.
Long-term care facilities
Secretary Friedlander said the state has acted swiftly and aggressively when long-term care facilities have been in distress. After testing indicated an outbreak at a Louisville facility over the weekend, state agencies and Louisville Metro worked together to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the residents and staff at Nazareth Home Clifton. They moved 39 residents who tested positive into local hospitals.
“This is an aggressive disease in long-term care. These are our most vulnerable citizens. These are our moms and our dads,” the secretary said. “We are testing over 1,000, sometimes 2,000 folks a day and we’ll continue to do that until we get every last person tested, and that’s our commitment.”
He said they have tested about 15,000 residents and staff in long-term care facilities so far and will test another 5,000 to 10,000 next week. By the end of next week, they will have tested residents and staff at 100 facilities.
“We have been very aggressive and deliberate,” Secretary Friedlander said.
Beshear continued to urge Kentuckians to get tested for COVID-19.
For 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.
Beshear announced that Kentuckians have already made 190,000 requests through the new portal announced a week ago.
“It’s not just your duty as an American to fill out the Census, it’s your duty to vote,” said Beshear. “We have our primary election coming up in June, and there is a safe way for you to do it. Go online and request your absentee ballot.”
The total number is well over 200,000 after including counties like Jefferson and Kenton that started their sign-up process earlier.
The governor reminded Kentuckians to please be patient with clerks, as they are working very hard to get ballots out.
For those who just registered to vote, it takes a couple of days for their registration to be processed and for them to show up in the system to apply.