FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 28, 2020) – Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday updated Kentuckians on the state’s continuing efforts to fight the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).
“What I hope really sinks in for everybody watching is the word ‘urgency,’” the Governor said. “I believe that since maybe the traditional start of school, we have become more casual in our approach to COVID and our concerns about COVID, and how well we follow those rules and guidelines that are out there. It’s been seven months and most of us have never had to deal with something like this for seven months. But the virus is here and it waits for us to get casual. When we get casual, what we see is alarming trends in the virus. We will get through this, but when we get to the other side, do you want to look back and think, ‘We could have done better,’ when doing better is about saving people’s lives?”
‘The Fast 4 at 4’
Gov. Beshear on Monday highlighted a variety of issues of importance to Kentuckians and the commonwealth.
- Gold Star Families Memorial Monument
Gov. Beshear spoke Monday about the dedication ceremony he attended Sunday to unveil a Gold Star Families Memorial Monument on the Capitol grounds.
The final Sunday in September is set aside as National Gold Star Family Day, a day to venerate the many brave U.S. military members who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation.
“This year, I was honored to help dedicate the Gold Star Families Monument, which will stand here on the Capitol grounds to educate visitors and further honor the lives of these Kentucky heroes and the families who love them,” the Governor said.
The National Gold Star Registry lists more than 470,000 American military members who died while serving in a time of conflict since the start of World War II.
The registry lists nearly 10,000 Kentuckians among this proud Gold Star fellowship.
“These are Kentucky’s sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives. They answered the call. They served and fought for our freedoms,” the Governor said. “These Gold Stars are bestowed with an honor no one seeks for a debt that never can be repaid.”
Gov. Beshear said we should look to the lessons and sacrifices of previous generations as we fight the global coronavirus pandemic.
“Let us draw inspiration and strength from these lives lived with common purpose, sacrifice and love for our commonwealth,” he said. “That’s the essence of what I call Team Kentucky: All of us coming together to serve a better Kentucky, one that works for every one of us.”
Gov. Beshear has been encouraging all Kentuckians to make a plan to vote, either by mail, in person during early voting or in person on Election Day. On Monday, he showed that he was taking this advice himself, displaying his own mail-in ballot, which can be requested through the GoVoteKy.com website.
“We are now in the midst of this election. Absentee voting is underway. I have my ballot now,” said Gov. Beshear. “Make sure you follow the instructions carefully. Then mail it or drop it in a drop box. And remember, you can register to vote until Oct. 5. You can request an absentee ballot until Oct. 9. After that, early in-person voting begins Oct. 13. But there is no excuse, folks. Voting is a part of who we are as Americans. I want to see a record turnout here in Kentucky.”
The deadline to register online to vote in the 2020 General Election is 4 p.m. local time on Oct. 5. Kentucky residents can register by visiting the state’s Online Voter Registration webpage.
In addition, more than 170,000 Kentuckians have had their voting rights restored because of the executive order Gov. Beshear signed days after taking office. These Kentuckians, convicted of non-violent and non-sexual felonies, who have repaid their debts to society through completed sentences, can participate fully in our democracy. Visit CivilRightsRestoration.ky.gov to check your eligibility.
- Biotech Company Expands
Gov. Beshear shared good economic news Monday that Summit Biosciences Inc., a Lexington-based pharmaceutical company focused on nasal spray medicines, is expanding its operation at the University of Kentucky Coldstream Research Campus with a more than $19 million investment expected to create up to 78 full-time jobs.
“We need companies like Summit Biosciences more than ever, and I could not be happier to see its tremendous growth in Lexington,” the Governor said. “This company has represented what it means to be part of Team Kentucky during this pandemic, donating personal protective equipment to the local community and working on an urgently needed treatment for coronavirus. Summit Biosciences is a company with a bright future in Kentucky.”
The project has grown significantly since it originally was announced in 2016 as a $7.9 million project that would create 21 jobs.
The expansion – which is nearing completion – brings the company’s footprint to 44,000 square feet with increased manufacturing, laboratory and warehouse space. The additional space will support clinical and commercial production of several new nasal spray medicines, including one for COVID-19.
In May, Atossa Therapeutics Inc., a Seattle-based pharmaceutical company, awarded Summit a contract to accelerate the development of a nasal spray medicine for preventing and/or mitigating a COVID-19 infection. The proposed product is being developed as an at-home, easy-to-administer preventative or treatment option for patients and is among a very limited number of medicines or vaccines that will rely on intranasal delivery.
To view the full news release, click here.
- Mask Up Kentucky!
Gov. Beshear also stressed the continued importance of everyone wearing face coverings, calling it the single most important thing all of us can do to fight COVID-19.
“This is our greatest and most important tool for getting back to everything we want to do,” the Governor said. “Do the right thing: Mask up.”
He also encouraged Kentuckians to spread the word on social media using #MaskUpKY and #MaskUpKentucky hashtags. The Governor said starting next week, Kentuckians who use the hashtags will receive a #TeamKY mask if their post is featured as part of the Governor’s daily 4 p.m. news conference.
Case Information – Monday, Sept. 28
As of 4 p.m. Sept. 28, Gov. Beshear said there were at least 66,939 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 456 of which were newly reported Monday. Eighty-three of the newly reported cases were from children ages 18 and younger, of which 20 were children ages 5 and under. The youngest was only 6 months old.
“Last week we had almost 5,000 cases in Kentucky – the most we have ever had. Now what we believe that we are seeing, I believe we’re seeing it nationally, is the start of a new escalation,” the Governor said. “As we come toward a fall season and winter, where more people are going to be inside and we know the virus spreads faster, we’ve got to do better than this. We can’t be casual right now.”
Unfortunately, Gov. Beshear reported five new deaths Monday, raising the total to 1,162 Kentuckians lost to the virus.
The deaths reported Monday include a 56-year-old woman from Fayette County; a 91-year-old woman and two men, ages 93 and 97, from Jefferson County; and an 84-year-old woman from Johnson County.
“Let’s call and check on the families who have lost someone,” said Gov. Beshear. “I lost my friend Alice Sparks at the end of last week. She lived a wonderful life and lived life to its fullest, but she should still be with us.”
As of Monday, there have been at least 1,373,577 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate was 4.41%, and at least 11,787 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.
For additional 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. To see all recent daily reports, 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.
Case Information – Sunday, Sept. 27
Due to limited reporting on the weekends, some updated information is now available from Sunday, Sept. 27.
As of Sunday, there were 1,365,528 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate was at 4.43% and at least 11,771 Kentuckians had recovered from the virus.
For a detailed look at coronavirus case information from Sunday, Sept. 27, click here.
Today, Eric Friedlander, secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, offered an update on health care and the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program.
“As of today, more than 1.6 million Kentuckians have enrolled in Medicaid. That’s a little more than one in three Kentuckians. Especially during a pandemic, it is vitally important for people to have health care coverage,” said Secretary Friedlander. “We have also provided more than 100,000 households with access to food through SNAP benefits. We are the only state that I know of that has proactively reached out to those who have had to apply for unemployment insurance to see if they are also eligible for other benefits.”
He said eligibility for the program still is based on National School Lunch Program participation. For August and September, eligibility also is based on school start dates and instruction method.
Secretary Friedlander said the benefit amounts vary by student and that new cards will be automatically sent out to each child. The cards will be mailed beginning in October, but some children may not receive their cards until the end of November.
He said 541,844 Kentucky students were enrolled in the P-EBT program.
“We provided P-EBT benefits to more than 500,000 children in Kentucky in the first phase,” said Secretary Friedlander. “In the second phase, you don’t have to apply. Over 625,000 children are going to receive meals. We will be sending these benefits to you, sometime in the month of October. If you have questions, you can call 855-306-8959 and select the food benefits option for more information about the cards that will come to you in the mail.”
New School Reporting Portal
Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman spoke Monday about the new online portal for reporting on COVID-19 for schools.
“Today is Sept. 28, which is the first day that the Governor recommended that in-person classes could resume,” Lt. Gov. Coleman said. “Our schools are asked to self-report Monday through Friday for each day that their schools are in session.”
She said the information is crucial for leaders, parents and other caregivers.
The new dashboard will be available on the main kycovid19.ky.gov website under the Healthy at School section.
Anti-Price Gouging Order
Vowing to protect Kentuckians from unfairly being overcharged for goods or services during the pandemic, Gov. Beshear on Monday again extended his executive order prohibiting price gouging.
Anyone with information about unfair sales or billing practices is encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection hotline at 888-432-9257 or fill out the complaint form online.
Read about other key updates, actions and information from Gov. Beshear and his administration at governor.ky.gov, kycovid19.ky.gov and the Governor’s official social media accounts Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Kentuckians can also access translated COVID-19 information and summaries of the Governor’s news conferences at teamkentuckytranslations.com.