282 virus cases, 5 deaths reported; unemployment help on way

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Kentucky reported 282 new cases of COVID-19 and five more people who died with the virus on Tuesday.


A statewide total is now at 15,624 and the statewide death toll sits at 565.


“While we are not seeing the type of very concerning spike in so many other states, it’s something we’ve got to watch very carefully,” said Gov. Andy Beshear at his daily briefing.


The governor stressed the important of wearing masks to prevent case surges like are being reported in other states throughout the U.S., including some who are making wearing masks mandatory.


“We have to talk about masks,” the governor said. “I’m worried about, with summer here, how many people may not be following the rules.”


The masks are for the protection of others, he said. “Everybody who dies from getting this has (contracted it) from somebody else.”


Dr. Steve Stack said to exercise social distancing, wash your hands frequently, and wear a mask, saying it is “the single most powerful thing you can do.”


“This is really simple, please. Please do it,” he said. “If we want to stay open, these are the things we have to do.”


There are 408 Kentuckians hospitalized with the virus and 75 in intensive care. At least 3,990 have recovered and 404,781 tests have been administered. Beshear said hospitals are using fewer than 60 percent of their beds, 73 percent of intensive care beds and 27 percent of ventilators.


Since last Wednesday, 189 new residents at long-term care facilities and 100 staff have contracted the virus, and 19 more residents have died, Beshear said.


The governor also said he hopes to process the 56,000 unemployment claims outstanding from March, April and May be hiring 200 workers from Ernst & Young to a one-month contract, beginning Wednesday. It will cost $7.4 million of federal CARES Act money.


The governor expects all claims to be handled by the end of July. The people with the oldest claims will be called first, Beshear said. He said the additional help will “get us caught up and get us caught up quickly.”

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