Governor Beshear reports more than 4,000 cases for the third day this week
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) - Governor Andy Beshear announced the third-highest day for COVID-19 cases on Friday.
You can watch that here:
The governor announced 4,750 new cases and 13 new deaths in Kentucky.
He stated that this is the third-highest day ever for new cases, with the two highest being in recent days.
He did recognize that the lower amount of deaths reported was partially due to the earlier news briefing, held at 1 p.m. instead of the usual 4 p.m. and that there will be more that will be included in tomorrow’s update.
581 of the new cases were kids 18 years and younger.
The Governor has reported 15,403 new COVID-19 cases in just three days.
“We are at a really tough point once again in our war against COVID-19. We have successfully stopped three waves of this virus, but we are now seeing a real and significant increase in cases and our positivity rate from people’s gatherings around the holidays,” said Gov. Beshear. “I wish it hadn’t happened. We’ve got to make sure that moving forward we are not gathering in that way, and we’ve got to know that we wear a mask now to protect ourselves,” said Beshear. “You need to be wearing a mask anywhere outside of your own household. It’s gotten that bad and these mutated versions appear to be spreading really fast.”
At least 225,479 Kentuckians have contracted the virus. The death toll is now at 2,856.
The positivity rate is 11.91%.
38,445 people have recovered from the virus.
3,605,007 Kentuckians have received tests.
According to the most recent White House Federal Report for Kentucky, the state’s fall and winter surge has been at “nearly twice the rate of rise of cases as the spring and summer surges.”
The report continues: “The acceleration suggests there may be a United States COVID-19 variant that has evolved here, in addition to the United Kingdom variant that is already spreading in our communities and may be 50% more transmissible. Aggressive mitigation must be used to match a more aggressive virus: Without uniform implementation of effective face masking (two or three-ply and well-fitting) and strict social distancing, epidemics could quickly worsen as these variants spread and become predominant.”
Gov. Beshear said he is heartbroken to learn that a Capitol police officer died due to the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“This is what happens when you foster disrespect, hate, and division,” said Gov. Beshear. “Every public servant must be responsible for their words and the messages they send. Our thoughts and prayers are with the officer’s family.”
107,799 vaccine doses have been administered across the state and 47,385 have been administered since Monday’s report.
“A shot that sits in a freezer for an extended period of time is no use to anyone,” said Dr. Stack. “Because it is incredibly difficult to find everyone who meet very specific, discrete criteria, and because, unfortunately, there is a substantial portion of the population who is opting to wait for the vaccine or has some concern or hesitancy about it, at the end of the day, we want every vaccination administration site to give at least 90% of the vaccine that reaches the state within seven days, even if that means moving to people in a lower priority category who are willing and able to receive it.”
Amy Cubbage, general counsel for Gov. Beshear, said almost 1.5 million claims, only 90,000 initial claims across all programs have unresolved issues.
“A number of those claims appear to be fraudulent claims that will never pay out, and we estimate the true number of claims in that group is approximately 30,000. Only about 5% of claimants have outstanding initial issues, with about a quarter of those having filed in the last three months,” Cubbage said. “We are also proud that we have been able to pay benefits to more than 90% of claimants, where prior to the pandemic our average payment rate was 75%.”
Cubbage also provided more information about the new federal benefits provided by Congress in December in the Continued Assistance Act. The Continued Assistance Act provided:
- An 11-week extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for non-traditional and contract employees, which means claimants under that program can qualify for a total of 50 weeks;
- An 11-week extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, which provides some claimants who have exhausted traditional UI benefits continued benefits;
- An opportunity to regain the Extended Benefits program; and
- An 11-week $300 per week supplement similar to the $600 per week supplement Congress provided during the spring and summer.
Cubbage went on to explain more about stimulus payments for unemployment insurance claimants announced by Beshear in last night’s State of the Commonwealth Address. The Office of Unemployment Insurance is working to get these payments out to those who qualify by the end of next week. These payments are one-time payments and will arrive in the same way as regular unemployment payments. There are two types of payments under this program:
- A $1,000 payment to people who have filed claims from March 4 through Oct. 31 and have yet to have their claims resolved. Kentuckians are eligible if OUI has proof of identity and if their claims have not been flagged as fraudulent. Approximately 20,000 to 24,000 Kentuckians are eligible for these payments.
- A $400 payment to people who would have qualified for the $400 FEMA supplemental payment in August and September, but didn’t have a benefit amount high enough to qualify under the President’s order. People who drew a weekly benefit amount of $175 or less in November and December will qualify for the $400. Approximately 60,000 Kentuckians are eligible for these payments.
“Watch the KCC website for updates on timing and more specific details about these payments,” Cubbage said. “Also, if you receive your benefits on a prepaid debit card, please check the notice on the KCC website about the upcoming change in debit card providers. There will be a lag between providers, so unless you change your payment method to direct deposit into a bank account you will receive a paper check for a short period of time. If you prefer to receive a check rather than a direct deposit, please make sure we have your correct address.”
Finally, Cubbage provided an update on overpayments to claimants.
“You may remember that early in the pandemic we had some issues with mistaken payments being made to claimants, and now they’ve been asked to pay those back. As you know, the Governor asked us to find a way to forgive those overpayments because those were our mistake, not yours,” Cubbage said. “The Continued Assistance Act actually amended the federal law and allows us to waive those, but state law doesn’t at this time. So we are hoping the General Assembly will give us the flexibility to waive those payments while they are here. We look forward to working with them to achieve that.”
As of Friday, 117 out of 120 counties are in the red zone on the state’s COVID-19 incidence rate map.
You can see how your county is doing right now here.
If you have any questions about the coronavirus in Kentucky, call the state’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-722-5725.
You can also find more information, including how to protect your family, by visiting Kentucky’s official COVID-19 website: https://govstatus.egov.com/kycovid19
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