Key COVID number down; state has eye on Louisville; UI $400 this week

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Beshear Administration has asked Attorney General Daniel Cameron for two days notice on a Grand Jury decision on criminal charges against Louisville Police officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor to be able to gauge the need for security measures, the governor confirmed Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the extra $400 in weekly unemployment benefits should start showing up this week in checks to those who qualify.

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And the positivity rate, a key number in gauging the spread of the coronavirus, dipped again Tuesday, the governor said in a wide-ranging daily briefing.

The Grand Jury could consider evidence as early as this week against the three police officers involved in the fatal shooting of the Black 26-year-old who has become one of the symbols of the racial justice and police reform movement nationwide.

If they and others associated with the investigation that led up to the flawed drug raid aren’t indicted, some fear Louisville could suffer the kind of civil unrest that has turned to violence and looting in other cities.

“We have attempted to talk about timing…there has bee a conversation…we have asked for sufficient notice so we can at least discuss if need be any kind of reaction that might be needed to protect the safety of everyone in Louisville or anywhere else,” Beshear said, noting at another point his office has sought “two days notice.”

When asked at another point whether he thought Cameron was feeling pressure in the Taylor case, Beshear said he hoped it is “positive pressure to get it done, to get it done right,” again repeating his request for “48-hour notice of any Grand Jury decision.”

Beshear said he couldn’t pass judgement on the city’s $12 million settlement with the Taylor family other than to note a “settlement means an agreement” and that both sides acted in good faith and the spirit of cooperation.

He said the police reforms included in the agreement could be part of the basis for statewide changes.

“I think there certainly are areas of improvement that could be considered on a statewide level…a lot of ground in which there can be discussion for improvements,” Beshear said, noting the possibility of a special legislative session on the subject remains a possibility.

One reform that has been widely discussed i many cities and towns is body cameras for police officers ad deputies. Beshear said making that a priority for the Kentucky State Police is important.

“If we are talking about reforms in other places, we have to look within, too,” Beshear said.

As for unemployment claims, the additional $400 authorized by President Trump should start showing up in checks arriving this week, Beshear said. The additional money is for July 26 through mid-August. If more money becomes available, the state has said it will go after it, but that hasn’t happened.

“Not everyone qualifies and I hope people realize that, but hopefully a lot of the money is going out this week,” Beshear said.

The state has processed and paid more than one million claims providing billions of dollars since March.

Of the outstanding initial claims that still are waiting to be processed ad paid, the governor said 1,681 are from March, 9,304 are from April, 12,154 are from May, 11,077 are from June, 9,663 are from July and 8,580 are from August.

On the coronavirus update, Beshear reported 745 new cases with 95 of those being kids under 18, of which 15 were children ages 5 and under. The youngest was only 27 days old. The new cases bring the total since March 6 to 58,000.

The positivity test rate dropped to 3.97 percent.

Nine new deaths were reported, bringing to 1,074 the umber of people who have died from coronavirus-related causes.

The deaths include a 90-year-old man from Bullitt County; an 83-year-old woman from Hopkins County; two women, ages 65 and 94, and two men, ages 48 and 73, from Jefferson County; a 93-year-old woman from Kenton County; and two men, ages 84 and 88, from Warren County.

“Again we are going to see higher numbers of deaths as we have a higher number of cases,” the governor said.

For 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.

Information about COVID-19 and schools is also being made available. To view the reports, click here for K-12 and here for colleges and universities.