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Gov. Beshear Provides Update on COVID-19 (September 30)

Sep 30, 2020

Credit Courier-Journal

Gov. Andy Beshear on Wednesday updated Kentuckians on the state’s continuing efforts to fight the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).

“Let’s start the way we always start. It’s by remembering we are going to get through this pandemic and we are going to get through it together,” the Governor said. “There is a better world on the other side of this. For every challenge we face, it’s our job to build that better world and take advantage of the possibilities and the potential that lay in front of us.”

‘The Fast 4 at 4’

Gov. Beshear on Wednesday highlighted a variety of issues of importance to Kentuckians and the commonwealth.

1. Support for Eastern Kentucky

Today, Gov. Beshear announced a $7 million grant to support behavioral health services in the Appalachian region.

The Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental, and Intellectual Disabilities, a CHFS agency, received the grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in response to natural disasters, including severe flooding and mudslides, which affected the area in 2019. Services supported by the grant will help adults and school-age children.

“This is a recognition of trauma, of how the world around us can impact our mental and emotional health,” the Governor said. “One of the things we can learn from this crisis that we should have learned before is that these services are critical to our overall health. We’re not healthy Kentuckians unless we are physically, mentally and emotionally healthy. And we now have more tools than ever to ensure those around us are getting the help that they need. And let’s remember it’s never wrong to ask for help when you need it.”

2. Business Expands in Leitchfield

Today, Gov. Beshear announced Busche Industries Co., doing business as Xtreme Fabrication, plans to expand its existing Leitchfield facility with 25 high-paying jobs in the coming years.

“This expansion is a major step forward in creating good-paying jobs and opportunities for the skilled workforce in Grayson County, especially after the recent loss of a major manufacturer in the region,” the Governor said. “Xtreme Fabrication has been a great part of the community over the past 13 years, and the company’s increased presence will help move Leitchfield and the surrounding area forward. I want to thank the Busche family for their commitment to the commonwealth as we work to build a better Kentucky for everyone.”

Xtreme plans to expand in response to its growing customer base with a 7,200-square-foot addition to the existing facility on Salt River Road in Leitchfield. The project would include the purchase and installation of a CNC plasma-cutting machine and traditional CNC machining equipment, and would allow the company to diversify its business and enter markets it does not currently serve.

3. Voting

Gov. Beshear continued to encourage all Kentuckians to make a plan to vote, either by mail, in person during early voting or in person on Election Day.

“This year in Kentucky, there are more options to vote than ever, which means there are fewer excuses to not vote than ever,” said Gov. Beshear.

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.

The Governor shared a video of First Lady Britainy Beshear delivering her absentee ballot to a drop box.

“There are more ways than ever to vote this year,” she said. “It was so easy to drop off my absentee ballot.”

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.

4. Mask Up Kentucky!

Gov. Beshear continues to stress the importance of everyone wearing face coverings, calling it the single most important action all of us can take to fight COVID-19.

“We’ve got a lot of kids who went back to in-person classes this week,” said Gov. Beshear. “Our kids can wear their masks. We as adults complain about it, but our kids can do it. I can tell you, my kids are willing to do it if it means they get to be back in school. Let’s make sure we are wearing masks in our community.”

He also encouraged Kentuckians to spread the word on social media using #MaskUpKY and #MaskUpKentucky hashtags.

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.

Freedom Award

Gov. Beshear on Wednesday welcomed to the Capitol executives with office equipment and solutions giant Lexmark International and members of the military.

“Today, we have an exciting recognition to announce. It is my great honor as the Governor of Kentucky to congratulate Lexmark International as one of this year’s recipients of the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award,” the Governor said. “This award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. government to employers for their sustained support of employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.”

Among those present were Kentucky Adjutant Gen. Hal Lamberton, Col. (R) Phil Miller and Harry Wiley from the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as President and CEO of Lexmark Allen Waugerman, Brig. Gen. David Jenkins, Carl Sullivan and Patrick Brewer from Lexmark International.

“The Kentucky National Guard and Reserves are indispensable assets, and its soldiers are proud members of communities throughout Kentucky. They are our neighbors. They are the people that – outside of COVID – we sit in the bleachers with on Friday and in the pews with on Sunday,” said Gov. Beshear. “Lexmark has a long history of success and innovation in the Bluegrass, and that clearly extends to the company’s enlightened leadership, which supports its workers and all of our people with a strong military.”

Lexmark has also been named a Military Friendly Ò Employer for the fifth consecutive year, receiving the esteemed Gold designation for 2021. Lexmark’s scores exceeded the Military Friendly standard in all measured categories.

“The active, personal engagement of Lexmark President and CEO Allen Waugerman communicates a philosophy of support at every level, creating a culture that values, respects and considers itself accountable for the readiness and well-being of its Reservist employees,” said Col. (R) Miller, Kentucky state chairman of the Department of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. “I’d like to point out, that in addition to offering National Guard and Reserve members supplemental pay for their time away for military service, the Lexmark leadership team stays in contact and provides mentorship to employees who deploy overseas and they even go the extra mile to check on service member families to make sure they being taken care of.”

“We are honored to receive the Freedom Award from the Secretary of Defense,” said Waugerman. “Lexmark takes great pride in the communities where we live and work and we recognize the sacrifice that our veterans, guardsmen and their families make to support us.”

Case Information

As of 4 p.m. Sept. 30, Gov. Beshear said there were at least 68,840 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 1,004 of which were newly reported Wednesday. One hundred and fifty-four of the newly reported cases were from children ages 18 and younger, of which 28 were children ages 5 and under. The youngest was only 4 months old.

“Today’s report is a little tough. It’s the first time since March 6 that we’ve had over 1,000 cases in two consecutive days,” the Governor said. “One thousand four cases is a problem and that means we have to be more vigilant.”

Unfortunately, Gov. Beshear reported four new deaths Wednesday, raising the total to 1,174 Kentuckians lost to the virus.

The deaths reported Wednesday include an 86-year-old man from Bullitt County; a 70-year-old man from Christian County; an 87-year-old man from Fayette County; and a 74-year-old man from Jefferson County.

“We have a number of others that are still going through our process, and sadly we are waiting to get information back, but I think we will see in the coming days that this can impact even younger adults,” the Governor said.

Gov. Beshear urged people to look over and take to heart updated guidance on 10 Steps to Fight COVID-19.

As of Wednesday, there have been at least 1,459,816 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate was 4.07%, and at least 11,840 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.

Unemployment Insurance Claims

Gov. Beshear on Wednesday presented and update on the Lost Wages Assistance program from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which provides an additional $400 per week for those who qualify.

“Our first three weeks of payments are already out, already to those individuals. The fourth payment went out last night. The fifth should go out on Oct. 1 and the sixth is going out, if everything goes as planned, on Oct. 5,” the Governor said.

He also said Ernst & Young is continuing to help the state with letters of determination, a final step that has held up some payments.

More Information

Read about other key updates, actions and information from Gov. Beshear and his administration at http://governor.ky.gov or http://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 http://teamkentuckytranslations.com

(provided by the Office of Gov. Andy Beshear)