FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 21, 2020) – Gov. Andy Beshear on Wednesday 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 Governor said the guidance is timely because today he reported the highest number of cases ever reported on a single day, aside from the day when he reported a significant backlog of cases from Lexington.
“The difference between where we are now and where we were in March is that now we know how to stop the spread,” said Gov. 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?”
As of 4 p.m. Oct. 21, Gov. Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:
- New cases today: 1,487
- New deaths today: 21
- Positivity rate: 4.99%
- Total deaths: 1,363
- Currently hospitalized: 794
- Currently in ICU: 203
- Currently on ventilator: 94
Top counties with the most positive cases today are: Jefferson, Hardin, Kenton, Boone, Fayette, Elliott, Hopkins, Laurel, Pike and Madison.
Those reported lost to the virus today 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.
Update on Veterans
Gov. Beshear updated Kentuckians about state veterans homes. At Thomson-Hood in Wilmore, today there are 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.
The Governor also recognized Matt Coleman, a veteran and small-business owner in Louisville, who immediately made arrangements to donate his plasma after surviving the coronavirus, knowing it contains COVID-19 antibodies that may help others fight the disease.
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 Gov. 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/.
The Governor also paid tribute to another Kentuckian lost to COVID-19: Ed Pantoja, 84, of Louisville. He was a husband and father of three and led a very active lifestyle.
“His son shared Ed was incredibly healthy, running 20 miles a week and working out daily at the gym. Those who knew Ed loved him,” said Gov. Beshear. “From those who worked at restaurants he frequently visited, to his gym buddies and the tenants who rented from him, they all found a friend in Ed. And his family loved him most of all. He had created a beautiful family with his wife of 60 years. They just celebrated the milestone anniversary in January together, not knowing it would be their last.”
Ed’s son asked that the Governor share his father’s story and emphasize the importance of wearing a mask, not only to protect your own life, but also the lives of those you love.
First, Gov. Beshear announced that Eastern Kentucky, home to AppHarvest’s first state-of-the-art, high-tech greenhouse, can expect to see over 300 new jobs created in the years ahead, following today’s unveiling of the agritech company’s 60-acre, 2.76 million-square-foot operation in Morehead.
“We want Kentucky to emerge as a national leader in agritech, and this incredible high-tech greenhouse marks an important step in creating new jobs and setting up the commonwealth for a better future,” Gov. Beshear said. “Like many around Morehead and throughout the state, I have looked forward to this announcement for some time. I am thrilled the facility is up and running and work on a second operation is already underway. I can’t wait to see what’s next for AppHarvest in Kentucky.”
For more information and to view the full news release, click here.
Next, the Governor highlighted that the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet has awarded more than $780,000 to fight fraud and price-gouging and improve access to courts through the U.S Department of Justice’s Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program. Read more.
Last, he implored Kentuckians to wear masks and asked that they vote early if at all possible to decrease lines and crowding on Election Day.
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.
Kentuckians can also access translated COVID-19 information and summaries of the Governor’s news conferences at teamkentuckytranslations.com.