FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - The number of new cases of the coronavirus, deaths and the state’s positivity rate all rose on Tuesday, Gov. Andy Beshear said during a Capitol press briefing.
The governor also noted that the number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States reached the 200,000 mark on Tuesday.
“It’s difficult to comprehend,” he said. “This virus, that to our knowledge didn’t exist until the beginning of this year, in a period of about six months that these deaths occurred, would take 200,000 Americans. I certainly don’t have another period of challenge like this in my lifetime, where we have lost so many Americans.”
In Kentucky, 824 new cases of the coronavirus were reported to state public health officials on Tuesday, 134 of them involving children under 18 and 22 of youngsters five and younger, with the youngest just six days old. That raised Kentucky’s positivity to 4.62 percent, from 3.62 percent on Monday. The total number of cases in the state now stands at 62,731.
There were also seven new deaths Tuesday, raising the total to 1,119 Kentuckians lost to the virus. They include an 87-year-old man from Hardin County; a 79-year-old man from Jefferson County; a 56-year-old woman from Marion County; a 69-year-old woman and two men, ages 79 and 90, from McCracken County; and a 92-year-old man from Taylor County.
“Let’s light our homes up green for these seven families,” Beshear said. “Let’s ring our bells every morning at 10 a.m. To the families it doesn’t matter when during this pandemic their family members passed away, it hurts just the same. Let’s make sure we show them the respect we have for everybody else.”
As of Tuesday, there have been more than 1,142,000 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky, and at least 11,361 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.
He also announced that Kentucky has been approved by FEMA for an additional three weeks of Lost Wages Assistance payments. Eligible Kentuckians will receive $400 for the weeks of Aug. 22, Aug. 29, and Sept. 5 for each week a claimant meets the criteria. The approval came quickly, as the state had just applied for LWA on Monday.
The eligibility criteria:
--Individuals who qualify for a weekly benefit of at least $100 per week in unemployment compensation for each week covered by FEMA’s LWA program.
--Individuals who have self-certified that their employment has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Payments will be automatically processed for claimants who meet the weekly benefit criteria and have already provided a self-certification. Claimants meeting the weekly benefit requirement who have not yet self-certified will be given an opportunity to provide the required self-certification, and those claimants will receive the benefit so long as FEMA funding remains.
The governor said guidance was not available yet for Halloween. “The CDC put something out saying, ‘Don’t let kids trick or treat.’ I believe our guidance is going to try and provide a way for kids to have that experience, but in the safest way possible.”
Kentuckians who had short-term health insurance coverage through the Medicaid Presumptive Eligibility program face a September 30 end of coverage, as well as expanded Pandemic EBT benefits, or food stamps. Beshear says on Wednesday he will have an announcement on both.
You can read about other key updates, actions and information from the Beshear administration on the response to the pandemic at kycovid19.ky.gov.
The governor’s next scheduled press briefing is Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. and will be livestreamed on his Facebook page and YouTube channel.