Latest stimulus funds will have big impact on state, case numbers still at plateau

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The latest federal legislation to provide coronavirus relief to individuals and businesses will be a “significant” help to Kentuckians and the state, especially in providing financial help to keep people from getting evicted, Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the state’s new COVID-19 case numbers remain in a plateau as have the positvity rate, hospitalizations, ICU cases and people on ventilators, the governor said during his daily briefing.

The news comes as the governor extended the mask mandate for another 30 days and said another 54,000 vaccines are on the way next week, even though the federal roll out is running behind schedule.

ANOTHER 54,000 VACCINES ARE ON THE WAY NEXT WEEK, EVEN THOUGH THE FEDERAL ROLL OUT IS RUNNING BEHIND SCHEDULE NATIONWIDE.

Two new vaccine allocations, totaling 53,700 doses, are scheduled for the week of Jan. 4: 27,300 doses from Pfizer and 26,400 doses from Moderna.

“I ask every single Kentuckian to keep any New Year’s celebration small, preferably your own household or one more,” said Beshear. “Remember, going to a big party, hosting a big party or going to any gathering where you’re going to take your masks off will spread this virus at a time where Kentucky is doing better than most, but the virus is rampaging through the United States and we’re seeing record deaths just about everywhere.”

The Governor also said Tuesday Walgreens reported 1,009 additional vaccinations administered to long-term care residents and staff; CVS reported 501.

He also said state health experts are studying ways to get vaccines to child care and university teachers, professors and staffs “as soon as possible.” He noted while K-12 staffs are the initial priority, those other workers are as important.

With any luck, companies will be able to ramp up vaccine production and at least one other vaccine will be approved, making it possible for states to spread vaccinations to more groups.

For information about vaccine distribution Phase 1a and 1b, click here. To see the state’s full vaccine dashboard, click here.

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 29, Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:

New cases today: 2,990, bringing to 261,492 total
New deaths today: 31, bringing to 2,594 total
Positivity rate: 8.41%, up from 8.06% Monday
Total deaths: 2,594
Currently hospitalized: 1,635, up from Monday
Currently in ICU: 380, down from Monday
Currently on ventilator: 211

Top counties with the most positive cases today are: Jefferson, Warren and Kenton. Each of these counties reported 100 or more new cases; Jefferson County alone reported 414. Some of the highest numbers were in the region, including 73 new cases in Pike County, 56 in Boyle County, 52 in Whitley County and 41 each in Know, Lawrence and Pulaski counties.

Those reported lost to the virus Tuesday include an 88-year-old woman from Boone County; an 86-year-old man from Clinton County; a 73-year-old man from Daviess County; a 52-year-old man from Floyd County; an 87-year-old man from Graves County; a 78-year-old woman from Hopkins County; three women, ages 33, 91 and 93, and an 85-year-old man from Jefferson County; a 97-year-old man from Jessamine County; a 75-year-old woman from Knott County; a 93-year-old man from Larue County; a 95-year-old man from Laurel County; a 77-year-old man from Marshall County; a 76-year-old man from McCracken County; a 77-year-old man from Ohio County; a 76-year-old woman from Owen County; two women, ages 80 and 101, from Perry County; two women, ages 79 and 83, and a 78-year-old man from Pulaski County; two women, ages 58 and 86, and a 61-year-old man from Taylor County; a 50-year-old woman and two men, ages 75 and 82, from Wayne County; a 68-year-old man from Webster County; and a 74-year-old man from Wolfe County.

One of the biggest pieces of good news during Tuesday’s briefing is the amount of money headed to the state in coming weeks as a result of the newest stimuls legislation which President Trump finally signed Sunday night after almost a week of delays.

Beshear announced the new federal COVID-19 relief bill includes more than $5 billion for Kentucky, including funds for direct payments, unemployment insurance, rental assistance, vaccine distribution and more. The governor emphasized that these figures are preliminary estimates, but are subject to change.

The numbers don’t include potential loans and grants to businesses.

Assistance to Individuals

  • Direct $600 Payments to Households – $2,265,302,000
  • Unemployment Insurance, $300/week for 11 weeks – $489,614,031
  • Rental/Utility/Energy Assistance – $297,396,819

Education

  • Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund – $928,275,000
  • Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund – $261,015,000
  • Governor’s Education Emergency Relief Fund-2/3rds for private schools – $60,305,000

Families and Seniors

  • Child Care Development Block Grant – $192,822,381
  • Promoting Safe & Stable Families – $1,004,000
  • Meals for Seniors – 2,259,000
  • Chafee Foster Care Program – $5,879,000
  • Chafee Education & Training Vouchers-Foster Youth – $899,000
  • Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant – $19,221,000
  • Mental Health Block Grant – $21,560,000

Fighting the Virus

  • Testing, Tracing and Mitigation – $289,654,359
  • Vaccine Distribution – $56,965,810

Transportation

  • Federal Highways-Surface Transportation Block Grant – $164,914,864
  • FAA-Airport Improvement Program – $28,249,556

Beshear said the transportation money will be used to “produce jobs,” not only with road projects but also as investments in infrastructure that will attract new companies or encourage existing businesses to expand.

The rental assistance may be one of the biggest benefits, helping hundreds of families avoid eviction.

“It didn’t do everything I had hopes it would do, but it is a significant help…this is a start, an important step,” Beshear said of the latest round of stimulus.

“I am very confident the $300 million ought to help a lot of families come out on the other side,” Beshear said of the eviction funding, which also covers utility help.

The funds not only will pay past due rent but also will cover some future rent in some circumstances, Beshear continued.

He reminded Kentuckians the CDC has extended its moratorium on evictions through Jan. 31, 2021. He renewed a previous executive order mandating the CDC moratorium apply in Kentucky. The CDC order and the tenant declaration required by the CDC order and by the Governor’s order are available online.

Beshear also renewed the state’s face coverings mandate for an additional 30 days; the current executive order is set to expire at 4:59 p.m. on Jan. 2 and the new order will be effective on Jan. 2 at 5 p.m.

He also signed Executive Order 2020-1057 that extends previous orders allowing pharmacists to dispense 30-day refills. The current executive order is set to expire at the end of Jan. 3; the new order will be effective for 30 days beginning Jan. 4.

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

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