Financial help coming for cities, 10-year-old improving from Covid illness

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) — Young people are becoming an larger share of coronavirus cases in the state as the 10-year-old suffering the inflammatory syndrome continues to improve, Gov. Andy Beshear said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the governor named veteran corrections employee Cookie Crews to head the Department of Corrections.

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And the state is working on a system to share $300 million in federal funds to reimburse cities and counties for COVID-19 expenses, but the federal government must step up with more money as it did during the recession a decade ago, the governor said.

The 10-year-old boy has been taken off a ventilator as his condition improves since it was first announced Monday.

“That’s certainly good news,” Beshear said, noting the state has set up a hotline to offer guidance to parents and health care providers with questions about symptoms.

The state confirmed 227 new cases Wednesday, with 72 of those from Warren County. The number pushes the state total to 7,080 since the disease first surfaced in the state in early March. So far, the state has confirmed 117,395 tests.

Of the state’s total, 2,649 people have recovered.

The new cases also include 28 in Jefferson County, 20 each in Fayette and Kenton counties, four in Floyd, two each in Adair, Madison and Montgomery counties, and one each in Boyle, Edmonson, Fleming, Jackson, Leslie and Pike counties, among others.

The governor also reported five new deaths, including three in Boone County.

Of the cases in the state, 5 percent are in people 0-19 years old. Another 30 percent are ages 20-39, 18 percent are 40-49, 16 percent are 50-59, 13 percent are 60-69, 9 percent are 70-79, and 9 percent are over 80. In every age group except under 19, the percentage is higher than the group’s share of the population.

Meanwhile, as cities and counties grapple with new budgets that start July 1, they are facing dramatic revenue shortfalls in payroll taxes, which are big part of funding local governments. They’ve also incurred costs for first responders, closings and other actions related to the coronavirus.

“We are working on a formula to make $300 million in federal funds available to the cities and counties. We’re working with the League of Cities on that,” Beshear said. “They need to money to help reimburse them for their costs.

“But whatever we do, we must have more assistance from the federal government. If we don’t, the recession will be much worse, it’ll be that much longer before we get the country going again,” Beshear stated. “We all will be devastated without help from Congress, this is not the time to be timid.”