FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday updated Kentuckians on the state’s continuing efforts to fight the novel coronavirus 2019.
“The end of this, once we survive it, is going to be an opportunity to write our future and write it in a way that we have always dreamed of. We do have to get through COVID, though,” said Gov. Beshear.
‘The Fast 4 at 4’
Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman on Thursday highlighted a variety of issues of importance to Kentuckians and the commonwealth.
- CARES Act Funding for Local Governments
The Lieutenant Governor reminded Kentuckians that today, in collaboration with the Department for Local Government, Gov. Beshear announced 22 Western Kentucky governments were approved for $14,905,621 in reimbursements from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act for local governments with expenses related to COVID-19. Among those receiving CARES Act reimbursements were the cities of Beaver Dam and Hartford.
“As a rural Kentuckian, I know that communities big and small are what make Kentucky special,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for everyone, and our local governments are no exception,” said Gov. Beshear. “These reimbursements from the CARES Act will help alleviate some of the strain on their budgets and ensure they can provide necessary services to our families.”
DLG Commissioner Dennis Keene expressed appreciation for local governments during unprecedented times.
“We appreciate everything our local governments have done during the pandemic to keep Kentuckians safe,” said Commissioner Keene. “And we are doing everything we can to ensure an efficient reimbursement process so our local governments can continue the fight against COVID-19.”
To read the full release, click here.
- Team Kentucky Fund
Lt. Gov. Coleman also gave an update on the Team Kentucky Fund today. She encouraged Kentuckians, especially from three specific regions, who have suffered financially due to COVID-19 to visit teamkyfund.ky.gov to apply for assistance.
“There are three areas that have pots of money waiting and need applications from Kentuckians who qualify: They are the Owensboro area, the counties that surround Louisville and the Big Sandy area,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “To date, over $900,000 of aid has been given directly to Kentuckians through the TKF.”
Tax-deductible donations to TKF can be made at donate.ky.gov. 100 percent of the donations go directly to Kentuckians.
- Positive Stories from Schools
Lt. Gov. Coleman shared five positive stories from schools and school districts across the commonwealth and encouraged Kentuckians to share even more of these stories on social media, as the Governor has previously requested.
“I want to highlight a few of the many schools who are working diligently to protect their students, teachers and staff as they transition to in-person instruction,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman.
The schools and school districts highlighted today were: East Jessamine High School in Nicholasville (Jessamine County); DuPont Manual High School in Louisville (Jefferson County); Boone County High School in Florence; Henry Clay High School in Lexington (Fayette County); and Burgin Schools in Burgin (Mercer County).
- Kentucky School Boards Association Mask Donation
Finally, the Lieutenant Governor thanked the Kentucky School Boards Association, which is donating 80,000 cloth masks to Kentucky’s public school students, in partnership with the National School Boards Association and the KSBA Educational Foundation.
“The KSBA’s Team Kentucky spirit is evident with this donation,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman.
KSBA will donate the masks directly to the state’s Family Resource and Youth Services Centers (FRYSCs), a division of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The FRYSCs of Kentucky are tasked with reducing barriers to learning relating to student environment, emotions and experiences.
“There is evidence that social and emotional challenges, past and reoccurring trauma and certain family and economic situations can have an impact on student learning and success in school,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “In Kentucky, we are fortunate to have a dedicated place in our educational system that focuses on these barriers to learning as an equally important part of student success.”
Today, the Lieutenant Governor also urged Kentuckians to make a plan for voting in the November general election. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, bipartisan state and local election officials have made voting easier than ever before by providing numerous ways Kentuckians can cast their ballot.
“As a mom, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we prepare the future world for our children. Voting does exactly that,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “By making your voice heard at the ballot box, you have a say in the direction of your communities, state and country for years to come.”
She introduced Secretary of State Michael Adams and State Board of Elections Executive Director Jared Dearing, who echoed the call for Kentuckians to use one of many voting options.
Secretary Adams offered an update on the state’s plan for upcoming elections. He also encouraged Kentuckians to vote as early as possible and to sign up to be poll workers.
“Gov. Beshear and I agree that the best way to ensure that we have a safe and successful election is to give voters choices,” said Secretary Adams. “And now, you can track your absentee ballot the way you track an Amazon package.”
The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 5 at 4 p.m. local time. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 9. Visit govoteky.com for more information. Voters can mail in an absentee ballot or bring it back to their county clerk – in person or at a dropbox.
Kentuckians can also vote in person at various sites during early voting, which begins Oct. 13, or Election Day.
“Every single county in the state is going to have in-person, early voting. There’s no appointment needed – just show up and vote,” said Secretary Adams. “All day during business hours, every day, five days a week, and we’ve added Saturday hours. This is going to be the most voter-centric election we’ve ever had in Kentucky’s history.”
Dearing explained exactly how Kentuckians can fill out an absentee ballot.
“Once you apply for an absentee ballot, you’ll be able to check your status at govoteky.com. You’ll receive in the mail a ballot packet with three envelopes: one outer envelope, a middle envelope and an inner envelope called a security envelope,” said Dearing. “You’ll also receive your ballot and ballot instructions. We highly recommend that you read through the ballot instructions first.
“Then you take your ballot out and mark it. Please bubble in everything effectively and correctly. If you make a mistake using a pencil, erase it completely and then bubble in the selection you would like. If you’re using a pen and you mark the wrong choice, bubble in the choice that you do want and then circle that choice to show voter intent.
“Then, you’re going to fold the ballot in half, place it inside the yellow security envelope. Please leave the flap that is on that envelope on. Do not detach that flap. On that flap, you will find a place for you to sign. We recommend that you use a signature that closely represents your driver’s license of voter registration signature.
“Sign and seal that envelope. Then take that yellow envelope and put it in the inner envelope. That inner envelope needs to be sealed and then also signed on the outside in the top left-hand corner.
“Then you have multiple options. You can put it in the mail, deliver it to a county clerk’s office or deliver it to your county’s dropbox. You can reach out to your county clerk to find out where that box will be.
“Please do not wait until the last day to turn these back in. We highly recommend that you take advantage of the ability to cast your ballot early. That way if you do have a ballot irregularity, we can reach out to you and give you an opportunity to cure whatever that error is and make sure that ballot is counted.”
As of 4 p.m. Sept. 17, Gov. Beshear said there were at least 59,370 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 628 of which were newly reported Thursday. Seventy-six of the newly reported cases were from children ages 18 and younger, of which 14 were children ages 5 and under. The youngest was only 2 months old.
“Good news: We are still below 4 percent in our positivity rate at 3.82 percent. So again a couple of notes: It means that we have significant testing going on. It means our positivity rate is going down, which is a good thing,” said Gov. Beshear. “But remember, it’s not because we are testing folks that we do better, it’s because of our actions. It’s because of social distancing, it’s because of wearing a mask. We believe that mask mandate is working and without it, our numbers and our positivity rate would go up.”
Unfortunately, Gov. Beshear reported 11 new deaths Thursday, raising the total to 1,093 Kentuckians lost to the virus.
The deaths reported Thursday includes a 70-year-old woman and a 78-year-old man from Daviess County; three men, ages 75, 83 and 93, from Fayette County; an 84-year-old man from Franklin County; a 76-year-old woman from Jackson County; an 82-year-old woman from Jefferson County; two women, ages 77 and 90, from Madison County; and an 83-year-old woman from Webster County.
“They include people who are loved by their communities, by their family, and what we see is we lose people throughout all age ranges,” said Gov. Beshear.
As of Thursday, there have been at least 1,101,279 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate was 3.82 percent, and at least 11,109 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.
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.
Mary Harville Named Sixth Kentucky Lottery President and CEO
Gov. Beshear has appointed Mary Harville as president and CEO of the Kentucky Lottery Corporation. Harville was confirmed by the lottery’s board of directors at a special meeting earlier today. She is the first woman to hold this role in the Lottery’s 31-year history.
Since 2004, Harville has served as senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for the Lottery.
“Mary is a homegrown hero here in the commonwealth. She has been involved in just about every iteration of the Lottery since 2004. This is an organization that has created opportunities for so many Kentuckians through their scholarships and every year keeps doing better than the year before,” said Gov. Beshear. “Mary has also broken a glass ceiling here in Kentucky being the first female CEO of our Kentucky Lottery. Mary is blazing this trail and presenting such a great example for the rest of us.”
“I’m honored and deeply grateful to Gov. Beshear and our board for selecting me to serve as the next president and CEO of the Kentucky Lottery,” said Harville. “I’m so proud to be part of the great team already in place, which is proven by our record-breaking fiscal year for both sales and return to our state. As a life-long Kentuckian and graduate of a Kentucky university, I am also proud to lead the organization that funds KEES scholarships for Kentucky college students, and my goal is to ensure we continue to provide this much-needed funding.”
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 summaries of the Governor’s news conferences at teamkentuckytranslations.com.