Governor Andy Beshear said starting at 8 a.m. ET on Thursday, the state government is providing the $300 million received from CARES Act to city and county governments. He said the money reimburses local governments for any COVID-19 related expenses they have incurred.
Beshear said the funds will be administered by the Kentucky Department for Local Government. He said local counties reimbursements will be allocated through a formula based on population.
Beshear also on Wednesday announced 166 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in Kentucky to 8,167. He said 474 people are currently being hospitalized, with 98 in an intensive care unit (ICU). Beshear said the number in an ICU is “way down” because of an increase in reports of patient discharge. He said not all facilities have reported when patients are discharged.
Beshear said 150,672 tests have been administered in the state total. He reported 2,919 total recoveries.
Beshear said between Tuesday’s coronavirus report and Wednesday, 10 people have died from the virus. That includes a 79-year-old female in Graves County.
Beshear said Wednesday had the lowest number of residents in long-term care facilities that have tested positive for the virus in a while. He said the new cases include six additional residents and six additional staff members.
“We’re going to see these numbers rise as we test every facility. Especially the staff ,I think we’re going to see a rise because they are more likely to be asymptomatic than the residents,” Beshear said.
Beshear said state officials have not received information of any new cases of Pediatric Inflammatory syndrome today. He said 109 minors were previously tested positive for the condition. He said all of those children are doing “okay.”
Beshear said the state has “pushed out a significant amount” of personal protective equipment (PPE) on Wednesday. He said the federal government is late in delivering PPE to long-term care facilities.
Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Steven Stack said he thinks the federal PPE may ship out in the beginning of June.
“We’re still very grateful for that resource, and we think the nursing homes need that kind of support,” he said.
Stack said state officials are shipping supplies out in order to bridge the need of long-term care facilities in Kentucky.
Stack said the state has shifted PPE support to communities experiencing a surge, or where a COVID-19 response is needed. He said the state is continuing testing at nursing homes, including 23 facilities this week. Stack said they are trying to reach 280 facilities as quickly as they can.
Beshear announced next week’s drive-thru Kroger testing sites, including in Henderson and Warren counties. He also asked people to answer their phones so that state officials can gather information for contact tracing.
“What we’ve gotta do is we’ve got to contain outbreaks and that’s where contact tracing comes in,” he said. “This is just good public health being pushed by everybody.”
Beshear said state officials are calling people who have tested positive as well as those who many have been in contact with someone who tested positive.
“If you don’t pick up the phone, it doesn’t work,” he said.
Beshear said this Friday, restaurants can open and groups of ten or less can gather. He urged people to wear masks. He said he wears his mask to protect his family, ensure the economy reopens, and to follow his faith. Beshear asked people to talk about why they wear masks on social media. He said wearing a mask is not political.
“It’s plain, basic public health guidance,” Beshear said.