FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The number of Kentucky residents filing for unemployment benefits soared to nearly 113,000 last week as the coronavirus outbreak continued to wreak havoc on the economy.
A total of 112,726 Kentuckians filed initial unemployment claims last week, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday. In the prior week, 49,023 Kentuckians sought jobless benefits as business shutdowns started taking a toll. The week before that, fewer than 2,800 claims were filed.
Nationwide, an unprecedented 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits, according to the latest report.
Gov. Andy Beshear has taken a series of aggressive steps to try to contain the virus's spread, leading to the temporary closure of many businesses. Total statewide cases approached 700 and the death toll reached 20, the governor said Wednesday.
Kentucky's unemployment benefit enrollment system has been clogged by the surging numbers of applicants.
The governor has asked Kentuckians applying to be patient as the state contends with the crush of applications for benefits.
Most people who contract COVID-19 have mild or moderate symptoms, which can include fever and cough but also milder cases of pneumonia, sometimes requiring hospitalization. The risk of death is greater for older adults and people with other health problems.