FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear Wednesday updated Kentuckians on the state’s continuing efforts to fight the novel coronavirus 2019 in the commonwealth.
“This is not going to last forever,” the Governor said. “We are going to make it through, but we are going to have to do what it takes to make sure as many of our fellow Kentuckians make it through with us and that we protect each other’s lives, lift up our economy and do everything we can to get our kids back in school.”
As of 4 p.m. Aug. 5, Gov. Beshear said there were at least 32,741 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 546 of which were newly reported Wednesday. Twenty-one of the newly reported cases were from children ages 5 and younger, including seven kids under a year in age with one of those being only 18 days old.
“Today’s number strongly suggests and I believe it’s evidence that face coverings are working,” the Governor said. “Proving that even when other parts of the country may be escalating out of control, that we can still control our own destiny here in Kentucky with a small act that shows we care about each other.”
Unfortunately, Gov. Beshear reported one new death Wednesday, raising the total to 752 Kentuckians lost to the virus.
The death reported Wednesday was a 71-year-old woman from Logan County.
“That is still one family that will need our help,” Gov. Beshear said. “We pray and think about this family and what they must be going through, as we have with all of the families.”
As of Wednesday, there have been at least 663,100 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate currently stands at 5.51 percent. At least 8,467 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.
“I believe you are doing the right thing, the vast majority of people are wearing a face covering and it is making a difference,” the Governor said. “It looks like we are stopping a very dangerous situation from occurring and we need to keep it up.”
For additional information, including up-to-date lists of positive cases and deaths, as well as breakdowns of coronavirus infections by county, race and ethnicity, click here. To see all recent daily reports, click here.
Benefits and Long-Term Care Updates
Eric Friedlander, Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, provided updates Wednesday on benefit programs to help Kentuckians and work to keep long-term care facilities safe.
“We want folks to sign up for benefits,” Secretary Friedlander said. “It makes sense to have health care coverage during a pandemic. It also makes sense to have food during a pandemic.”
Secretary Friedlander continues to encourage Kentuckians to apply for health care assistance and access to food through the Medicaid, SNAP and WIC programs.
He said approval of a waiver under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act has been granted, giving thousands of Kentucky families an additional six months of SNAP benefits that would have expired June 30. This is in addition to an extension granted to those SNAP households with benefits expiring in March, April and May.
“Take advantage of signing up. When you get SNAP you support your local grocers. When you get Medicaid, you support your local health care industry,” he said. “Without Medicaid, the health care industry would collapse. Without SNAP there would be significant damage to our grocers and local communities.”
Secretary Friedlander also said Kentucky CARES funds are being used to support testing of staffers in all of the commonwealth’s 286 long-term care facilities every 14 days for COVID-19. The testing will continue through 2020 and will help keep residents of these facilities safer.
“We have done a good job in Kentucky and we are going to continue to do a good job,” Secretary Friedlander said. “We are going to continue to provide the services necessary to make a difference. I believe we have and I believe it shows in our rates.”
CARES Act Funds Boost Transportation
Gov. Beshear announced that the federal government has awarded $6.4 million to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The money will go to 16 regional agencies serving 79 Kentucky counties.
“Those transit agencies have been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, through lost ridership and lost revenues,” the Governor said. “It’s important to keep them on the road because public transit is a lifeline for thousands of our fellow Kentuckians. Public transportation is how they get to jobs, medical appointments, the grocery and other places of business.”
Gov. Beshear noted this is the second round of CARES funding for KYTC, following $22.9 million awarded in May. The agency also is awaiting approval of a third round of funding, totaling $12.3 million, for capital projects, including new transit hubs in Richmond and Frankfort.
CARES Act funding can be used for a range of operating expenses, but much of it is spent specifically for the safety and protection of employees and passengers.
Dollar General Opening New Distribution Centers
Gov. Beshear was pleased to announce Wednesday some positive economic news that will bring hundreds of needed jobs and spur wider business activity.
“This morning, Dollar General Corporation announced plans to open two new distribution center facilities in the Bluegrass State, including a traditional warehouse in Walton in Boone County and a DG Fresh cold storage facility in Bowling Green in Warren County,” the Governor said.
The addition of both facilities is expected to create more than 365 jobs for Kentuckians and support operations at more than 2,300 store locations. Construction on both facilities is expected to begin by September 2020 with plans for Walton to be operational by January 2021 and Bowling Green by summer 2021.
“I wanted to take time to thank Dollar General for this latest investment in Kentucky and our people,” Gov. Beshear said. “Protecting our workers is a top priority for my administration and me as we work to recover from the widespread economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.”
Dollar General was founded in the commonwealth, currently operates more than 580 stores in the Bluegrass State and employs more than 5,600 Kentuckians.
Nettie Depp Monument
Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman on Wednesday announced plans to unveil the first monument honoring a woman in the state Capitol. The new monument will be placed in the West Wing of the Capitol, as planned.
“In honor of the United States Women’s Suffrage Centennial August 18 and Women’s Equality Day on August 26th, today I’m announcing the first monument honoring a woman, Nettie Depp, in the state Capitol,” the Lieutenant Governor said. “The unveiling of the Nettie Depp monument will occur next year, August 21, 2021.”
Nettie Depp was a pioneer in education in Kentucky, as a teacher, principal and elected school superintendent in 1913, seven years before women earned full voting rights in Kentucky. She advocated for improved education for every Kentuckian, regardless of gender or race.
“She was a true visionary in education reform and suffragist,” Lt. Gov. Coleman said. “The impact Nettie Depp had on her community is profound and can be felt a century later. May her life serve as a lesson to us all.”
She noted that the project began in 2014 and aims to redress a historical lack of honor and understanding of American history regarding women’s work, sacrifices and untold contributions.
“I hope that by having the statue of Nettie Depp prominently displayed in the Capitol, we can inspire the next generation of Kentuckians, promote gender equality, and highlight the importance of education and careers in education for the thousands of student visitors we welcome to Frankfort every year,” Lt. Gov. Coleman said.
First Lady Launches Coverings for Kids Program
First Lady Britainy Beshear on Tuesday launched a new program, Coverings for Kids, that will help Kentuckians to donate facial coverings directly to school districts.
More information, including links to tutorials and patterns to make both child- and adult-size facial coverings, can be found on the Coverings for Kids web page. To view the complete Coverings for Kids news release, click here.
Expanded COVID-19 Testing
Gov. Beshear continues to encourage all Kentuckians to take advantage of coronavirus testing being offered at more than 200 locations across the commonwealth.
For additional information about each location, visit kycovid19.ky.gov.
Read about other key updates, actions and information from Gov. Beshear and his administration at governor.ky.gov, kycovid19.ky.gov and the Governor’s official social media accounts Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Kentuckians can also access translated COVID-19 information and daily summaries of the Governor’s news conference at tinyurl.com/kygovespanol (Spanish) and tinyurl.com/kygovtranslations (more than 20 additional languages).