FRANKFORT, Ky. – Gov. Andy Beshear on Tuesday announced the state’s worst ever COVID-19 report by virtually every measure. He reported more than 4,000 new cases and 35 new deaths. Nearly 250 Kentuckians are fighting for their lives on ventilators.
“There’s no way to sugarcoat it. Today is the very worst day we have had for reporting on the spread of the coronavirus and it is the deadliest day that we have had,” Beshear said. “This is exponential growth. If we don’t all do our part, if we try to be the exception, then slowing down this thing won’t work and we will lose a lot more Kentuckians we love and care about.”
As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:
- New cases Tuesday: 4,151
- New deaths Tuesday: 35
- Positivity rate: 9.59%
- Total deaths: 1,943
- Currently hospitalized: 1,777
- Currently in ICU: 441
- Currently on ventilator: 241
Top counties with the most positive cases today are: Jefferson, Fayette, McCracken, Warren, Kenton, Hardin, Daviess and Boone. Each county reported 100 or more new cases; Jefferson County alone reported 700.
Beshear updated Kentuckians on the state’s vaccine distribution process, discussed in detail at Monday’s press conference. Kentuckians should visit KYCOVID19.ky.gov to view the latest information on the vaccine, including:
- The draft Kentucky vaccination plan, which includes a draft outline of our planning phases, critical populations and vaccine provider enrollment and administration.
- CDC COVID-19 vaccine resources
- Frequently asked questions
The Beshear administration is working on a public communication campaign that will launch this month to help families have even more information about the vaccine plan and process.
Mark Carter, Cabinet for Health and Family Services policy advisor, also updated Kentuckians on contact tracing in Kentucky and how they can protect themselves, their families and their community.
Carter highlighted important successes: Over 1,600 contact tracing staff in the state have now completed 215,000 daily check-ins with COVID-19-positive Kentuckians to monitor symptoms and provide support. They have also contacted more than 47,000 people identified as contacts potentially exposed to the virus.
However, he also emphasized the need for greater public cooperation and renewed federal funding.
“The public health strategy for contact tracing depended on broad public participation – cooperating with the local health departments when a tracer calls, wearing masks, social distancing and testing,” Carter said. “We simply haven’t had enough participation from the public and the resulting surge has overwhelmed contact tracing capacity.
“Another challenge is that federal funds from the CARES Act have made the statewide contact tracing and tracking information management system and surge staffing possible, but Congress has not taken any action on additional stimulus legislation to date. Currently, Kentucky and all other states are required to use all CARES Act funding by Dec. 30, 2020.”
CARES Act funding for local governments
The governor announced that the Kentucky Department for Local Government is releasing an additional $50 million in CARES Act funding to reimburse city and county governments for expenses related to COVID-19. Approximately 200 cities and counties are eligible because they have already exhausted their original allotment and have remaining eligible reimbursements.
To apply, eligible local governments will follow the Department for Local Government’s original application process, which is outlined on its website.
“Our local governments have been lifelines in our communities during the pandemic,” said Beshear. “When this $50 million is depleted, which we believe will be within the month, we will need more help from the federal government.”
Healthy at Home Utility Relief Fund update
The governor said there is about $11 million remaining in the Healthy at Home Utility Relief Fund and encouraged eligible Kentuckians to apply.
The fund provides relief to Kentuckians affected by COVID-19 who need assistance with their water, wastewater, electric or natural gas service. Kentucky’s Community Action Network is partnering with the Beshear administration to distribute these funds statewide.
“Eligible households can receive a one-time $500 benefit towards their water and or wastewater bills and $400 towards their natural gas or utility bills,” Beshear said.
Households who have an income up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Line and have been economically impacted due to COVID-19 can apply.
Interested households should contact their local Community Action Outreach Office on how to apply. To locate your local office, please call 800-456-3452.
Team Kentucky Food and Beverage Relief Fund
The governor said that as of 3 p.m., the Public Protection Cabinet had received 2,650 applications for $25.6 million in assistance. The state has already approved applications for $1.7 million. To apply, click here.