Second highest new cases, deaths mean surge worsening; eviction help shutting down

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYVQ) – Another day of record or near-record new coronavirus cases raises fears of the potential for the “darkest” fall and winter in “our lifetime,” state officials said Wednesday.

But even in announcing grim numbers, Gov. Andy Beshear said no new restrictions are imminent. Instead, he said the current limits have been proven to work if people would just follow them.

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“It’s the choice between doing the right thing and ignoring the right thing,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in announcing 1,487 new COVID cases, the second-highest one-day total on record in the state.

“The effectiveness of any steps we take depend on people abiding by them, the number of people who will follow them…the reality is we have to get everyone following the best practices,” Beshear continued.

“People’s lives are at stake, we’ve just got to follow the 10 simple rules to protect our friends, our neighbors, the people we work next to…what are you willing to do?” he stated.

“National experts everywhere say it, we looking at potentially grim times, the ugliest fall and winter of our lifetimes…let’s do the right thing.”

The new cases pushed the state’s total to 90,996. Of the new cases, 186 were kids under 18. More than a dozen counties in the region had double-digit increases in cases with Elliott among the highest with 39 and Laurel and Pike reporting three dozen each.

The positivity rate slipped back below 5 percent to 4.99 percent.

The state also reported 21 deaths, also the second highest day on record. A total of 1,363 people have now died from coronavirus-related causes.

Those reported lost include an 81-year-old man from Adair County; a 65-year-old woman from Boyd County; a 91-year-old woman from Christian County; a 69-year-old man from Clark County; a 52-year-old man from Clinton County; a 74-year-old woman from Daviess County; an 84-year-old Kentuckian (gender unknown), two women, ages 84 and 89, and two men, ages 84 and 93, from Henderson County; four women, ages 70, 82, 85 and 86, and two men, ages 63 and 83, from Jefferson County; two women, ages 42 and 77, from Madison County; a 76-year-old woman from Marion County; and a 57-year-old man from Todd County.

Hospitalizations also continue to rise with 794 people in the hospital Wednesday and 203 in ICU.

Beshear said the White House is saying Kentuckians in red or orange counties shouldn’t have gatherings at all beyond their immediate families.

The governor noted Kentucky already has guidance limiting to 10 or fewer people gatherings such as backyard barbecues and house parties, but the recommendation from the White House this week goes even further.

“There is so much spread at family gatherings, events at the house, as well as weddings and funerals,” the governor said. “At the very least, we need people to be a lot more cognizant of the dangers of these gatherings, especially when people aren’t wearing masks the whole time.”

The Governor said one wedding resulted in 44 cases, one funeral caused seven cases and one coffee gathering resulted in eight cases and two deaths. While weddings and funerals will continue, the governor said more Kentuckians need to step up and follow the rules to make them safer.

“The difference between where we are now and where we were in March is that now we know how to stop the spread,” said Beshear. “It’s like being in the challenge of your lifetime, it’s like being in a war – except you know 100% how to win. The question is, are you going to execute the plan to win?”

The numbers at a veterans home continue to get worse, the governor said.

Thomson-Hood in Wilmore has 71 positive veterans, 13 hospitalized, one recovered and one in the COVID unit in-house. Unfortunately, six COVID-positive veterans have died. Thomson-Hood is the only one of Kentucky’s four state veterans long-term care facilities with active cases.

There were two COVID-positive veteran deaths at EKVC in Hazard before that outbreak was resolved and there are no active cases there. There are no active cases at Western Kentucky Veterans Center in Hanson or at Radcliff Veterans Center in Radcliff.

To view the full daily report, incidence rate map, testing locations, long term-care and other congregate facilities update, school reports, the White House Coronavirus Task Force reports for Kentucky and other key guidance visit, kycovid19.ky.gov

Update on Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund
On Aug. 24, the Governor directed $15 million in federal CARES Act dollars to support the Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund, which began accepting applications Sept. 8.

Since opening, the fund has received 5,305 applications from tenants, 3,709 of which have submitted all required documents and are ready to be reviewed.

“We estimate we will utilize most of the CARES funds allocated to this program assisting Kentuckians who have submitted the 3,709 completed applications. This includes projected assistance for 1 or 2 months of future rent,” said Beshear. “Therefore, we will be closing the application portal at teamkyhherf.ky.gov. Should other CARES Act or future stimulus funds become available, we may well begin taking applications again.”

The Governor said there are several other resources in the commonwealth helping Kentucky families pay their rent, including the Team Kentucky Fund and at least five other funds that are listed at teamkyhherf.ky.gov. Legal assistance is also offered to Kentuckians through the Kentucky COVID-19 Legal Aid Helpline at 833-540-0342 or visit www.kycovidlegalhelp.org/.