Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday updated Kentuckians on the state’s continuing efforts to fight the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).
“Because of the increase in positive cases that we’re seeing and with the weeks that are likely ahead, we are going to need to hear and to know that we’re going to get through this and we’re going to get through this together,” the Governor said. “If the current trends continue, it will be a difficult fall and a difficult winter, but I believe that we have the opportunity to improve our situation. One of the big ways we do that is wearing a mask.”
Gov. Beshear on Monday highlighted a variety of issues of importance to Kentuckians and the commonwealth.
National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Today, Gov. Beshear highlighted National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time set aside to acknowledge domestic violence survivors and be a voice for victims.
“Domestic violence affects both men and women of every race, religion, culture and status,” the Governor said. “Domestic violence victimization leads to long-term and far-reaching health impacts. Children and youth exposed to domestic violence experience emotional, mental and social damage that can affect their developmental growth.”
The Governor said that while Kentucky has made strides, the state’s rate of domestic violence remains higher than the national average. In response, the Kentucky State Police has hired 16 victim’s advocates – one for each KSP post throughout the commonwealth – to supply support services and resources to those in need. KSP’s Victim Advocate Support Services program has helped 1,058 people since launching in 2019.
In addition, since 2018 the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet has awarded $28.8 million to agencies addressing domestic violence statewide. Of that, more than $19 million went directly to domestic violence shelters.
“Kentucky’s domestic violence programs and shelters are open 24/7 and are safe for survivors and their families to receive emergency shelter and supportive services,” the Governor said. “Kentucky’s 15 regional domestic violence programs provided shelter and services to nearly 23,000 survivors and their children in fiscal year 2019.”
He added that the coronavirus threat hasn’t stopped Kentucky’s services in this crucial area.
“COVID-19 should not be a deterrent for individuals and families in need of support,” he said. “Kentucky’s shelters never closed during the COVID outbreak and have adopted procedures to keep families safe.”
Get help for yourself or someone else by calling 800-799-SAFE or visiting http://KCADV.org
Gov. Beshear Relaunches kynect
Taking a major step forward in his commitment to provide quality health care to Kentuckians, Gov. Beshear announced Monday the state has reconnected kynect in order to provide easier access to health coverage and other benefits.
Gov. Beshear said the new kynect offers expanded benefits, enhanced usability, a new mobile-friendly format and helps to ready the commonwealth for the return of the state-based exchange, scheduled for enrollment in 2021 to begin the exchange in January 202 The move is expected to save Kentuckians about $15 million a year.
“Even as the state continues to battle the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), we have remained committed to moving the state forward on major initiatives including expanding access to health care,” the Governor said. “Every member of Team Kentucky should have health care – it is a basic human right. Now that kynect is back, it is easier for Kentuckians to access the benefits they need so they can afford to see a doctor and get the care they deserve.”
Gov. Beshear continues to urge Kentuckians to make a plan to vote. On Monday, he reminded Kentuckians about upcoming deadlines ahead of the Nov. 3 General Election and preparations to keep poll workers and voters safe.
“The voter registration deadline was today, and so I hope that everybody who was not registered got out there and did,” the Governor said. “Go vote. It’s a bedrock principle of democracy.”
The deadline to register online to vote in the 2020 General Election passed as of 4 p.m. local time Oct. 5. Registered voters have until Oct. 9 to request an absentee ballot. After that, in-person early voting begins Oct. 1. More information is available on the state’s online Voter Information Portal.
In addition, more than 190,000 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 http://CivilRightsRestoration.ky.gov to check your eligibility.
Gov. Beshear and Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams created a bipartisan plan that allows for multiple ways to vote. But during a pandemic, voting in person still presents challenges. On Monday, Gov. Beshear said donations have been coming in to provide poll workers across the commonwealth with the personal protective equipment (PPE) they’ll need in November.
At last count, the donations for poll workers included 46,000 gloves, 160,000 masks, 13,000 gallons of hand sanitizer and 28,000 face shields.
“This is how our voices are ultimately heard. I want to have a record turnout here in Kentucky,” Gov. Beshear said. “If we do, we ought to make all of these changes permanent. Let’s have that record turnout.”
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 also highlighted a new contest. For Kentuckians who use the hashtags, they will receive a #TeamKY mask if their post is featured as part of the Governor’s daily 4 p.m. news conference.
Unfortunately, Gov. Beshear said the rising number of cases is going to spark a response from government unless and until Kentuckians get the growth under control.
“We cannot have repeats of last week. Last week was our single highest week in terms of positive cases,” the Governor said. “The week before had been the highest week, and we shattered that record.”
Gov. Beshear said he would focus this week on stepping up enforcement on regulations put in place to protect Kentuckians during the coronavirus crisis. Businesses should not serve customers who refuse to wear a mask, the Governor said.
“I think we have to do better, and we can do better,” the Governor said. “While it has been a challenge, when you look at just about any comparison across the country, Team Kentucky has done an incredible job.”
As of 4 p.m. Oct. 5, Gov. Beshear said there were at least 73,158 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 543 of which were newly reported Monday. Sixty-nine of the newly reported cases were from children ages 18 and younger, of which nine were children ages 5 and under. The youngest was only 1 month old.
“I believe that is the highest Monday, certainly in the last four weeks and by an appreciable amount,” the Governor said.
Unfortunately, Gov. Beshear reported five new deaths Monday, raising the total to 1,214 Kentuckians lost to the virus.
The deaths reported Monday include a 69-year-old man from Boyd County; an 85-year-old man and two women, ages 91 and 99, from Daviess County; and a 71-year-old man from Robertson County.
“More cases equal more death,” the Governor said. “If we are more casual, as opposed to more urgent, we will lose more of our family and friends. It’s hard because you can’t see it, but it happens. If we aren’t strong, other people typically pay for it. Let’s be strong.”
As of Monday, there have been at least 1,539,707 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate was 4.69%, and at least 12,445 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.
Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, provided an updated Monday on the state of the coronavirus fight in Kentucky.
“We are clearly now in an escalation. There is no doubt about it,” Dr. Stack said. “We are unfortunately now on an experiment here in the state of Kentucky to prove or disprove, in a manner of speaking, if our rural state will experience the same tragedies that have unfolded elsewhere. I think one of the tragedies that plays in to this is this is something that is at least theoretically in our control if we choose different behaviors.”
(provided by the Office of Gov. Andy Beshear)