Another 119 vaccine sites open, rides available; UI update, farm funds, child care money
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Another 119 coronavirus vaccination sites have opened, bringing the state’s total number of vaccine providers to 410, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday.
“Vaccinations are going incredibly well in Kentucky,” said Beshear. “We are giving out doses faster than the federal government provides them. More than 646,000 Kentuckians have received at least the first dose of their shot of hope less than a year after our first confirmed COVID-19 case.”
Six of the new locations are regional sites; three are federally qualified health centers; 10 are Walmart stores; 10 are Kroger stores; and 90 are Walgreens stores. New locations will be added to the ‘Where Can I Get Vaccinated?’ map on the vaccine.ky.gov website, also found here.
Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman also announced public transit agencies across the commonwealth are offering free or reduced-cost transportation to and from vaccine appointments.
These services are already operating in over 90 counties, covering 75% of all counties across Kentucky.
“We want all Kentuckians who wish to get vaccinated to be able to do so, and transportation should not be a barrier,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman.
Kentuckians can find transportation services near them by heading to kycovid19.ky.gov for a full list of participating public transit agencies and their phone numbers. Or, call the Kentucky COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline, 855-598-2246.
As of 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, the following COVID-19 numbers:
New cases today: 1,447
New deaths today: 43
Positivity rate: 5.67%
Total deaths: 4,570
Currently hospitalized: 843
Currently in ICU: 220
Currently on ventilator: 122
Top counties with the most positive cases today are: Jefferson, Caldwell, Fayette, Boone and Daviess. Each county reported at least 40 new cases. Jefferson County reported 220.
To see a list of those reported lost to the virus today, click here.
In addition, Amy Cubbage, general counsel for Gov. Beshear, updated Kentuckians on progress assisting claimants, Thursday’s cyberattack on the unemployment insurance system, Bank of America debit cards and a new UI fraud form and webpage.
Feb. 25 Cyberattack
After a cyberattack Wednesday morning, Cubbage said the external unemployment system was back online at approximately 3:25 PM.
The Commonwealth Office of Technology has deployed reCaptcha Verification (or Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart), a common web technique used to help ensure that respondents are real humans and not a program written to try to spam the system. Before the login process begins, claimants will now be asked to select the correct answers to a question via reCaptcha.
Bank of America Debit Cards
“If claimants still have Bank of America (BOA) debit cards, the funds must be spent off the cards no later than Feb. 28,” said Cubbage. “If you have funds on the debit card after Feb. 28, BOA will return those funds to the state and then unemployment staff will process them back out to you with a paper check.”
Fraud Form and Webpage Updated
People who believe their identity has been stolen can access a new fraud form online.
“If you have sent an email to our fraud box before today, we do not need you to fill out the form again. We are processing the messages as soon as we can in the order they are received,” said Cubbage. “If the impostors have filed a claim in Kentucky, they will most likely attempt to file claims in other states as well.”
There are several recommendations on the Kentucky Career Center website for Kentuckians who believe their identity has been stolen. The Beshear administration is working with law enforcement partners to prosecute criminals committing fraud. Cubbage said she expects to see prosecution on a local, state and national level.
Cubbage agencies are making progress investigating the hundreds of fraudulent cases that have been filed in Kentucky and other states across the country.
The state’s new ID verification system is weeding out some of the fraudulent claims but sorting through them still is bogging down processing of legitimate claims.
Cubbage said the state’s system is preventing money from being paid out, something that has been an even bigger problem in other states.
“There will be some fraud prosecutions,” Cubbage said.
Kentucky Broadband Initiative
Lt. Gov. Coleman updated Kentuckians on the 30-second, anonymous broadband speed test.
“We need every single Kentuckian to go to speedtest.ky.gov to take the speed test which will give us data we need to build a map across Kentucky of the high and low points of internet connectivity,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “Our goal is to connect every Kentucky household that we possibly can to affordable, reliable internet.”
Lt. Gov. Coleman said the state needed help increasing responses in Lexington and Louisville. The deadline has been extended to March 1. More than 72,000 Kentuckians have participated in the test so far.
Kentucky to Receive Nearly $200 Million in Federal Child Care Aid
Over 2,000 licensed child care centers and family child care homes in Kentucky will potentially benefit from federal funding received earlier this month totaling $195.5 million for child care aid, an appropriation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021.
Components of the funding include sustainment payments for regulated child care programs; the cost of fingerprint background checks for child care providers; training and technical assistance on safe and healthy work environments, and the cost of parent copayments for families benefitting from subsidies.
“We are in the process of building a child care system that works for every Kentucky family, and this is a huge step toward reaching our future goals,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman.
Gov. Beshear Announces $5.9 Million in Tobacco Settlement Funds to Kentucky Farms
Lt. Gov. Coleman said Gov. Beshear and Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman announced the Kentucky Soil and Water Conservation Commission has selected 592 Kentucky farm projects in 86 counties to receive a total of $5,920,643 in tobacco settlement funds.
The money will be used to promote practices that protect water quality and prevent soil erosion. Projects include watering facilities to offer alternative water sources for livestock, grassed waterways, fencing to facilitate rotational grazing and cover crops.
“It is Future Farmers of America, or FFA, Week, so I am particularly excited to share this really good agricultural news today,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “The Beshear-Coleman administration is proud to continue this work bringing resources and support to rural Kentucky. We understand how vital local farms are to Kentucky’s economy and we’re helping keep them productive for generations to come.”
To view the full daily report, incidence rate map, information on testing locations, vaccines, contact tracing, school reports and guidance, guidance for health care providers and the White House Coronavirus Task Force reports for Kentucky and more, visit kycovid19.ky.gov.