Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced the state’s worst ever COVID-19 report by virtually every measure. He reported more than 4,000 new cases and 35 new deaths. Nearly 250 Kentuckians are fighting for their lives on ventilators.
“There’s no way to sugarcoat it. Today is the very worst day we have had for reporting on the spread of the coronavirus and it is the deadliest day that we have had,” said Gov. Beshear. “This is exponential growth. If we don’t all do our part, if we try to be the exception, then slowing down this thing won’t work and we will lose a lot more Kentuckians we love and care about.”
As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, Gov. Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:
New cases today: 4,151
New deaths today: 35
Positivity rate: 9.59%
Total deaths: 1,943
Currently hospitalized: 1,777
Currently in ICU: 441
Currently on ventilator: 241
Top counties with the most positive cases today are: Jefferson, Fayette, McCracken, Warren, Kenton, Hardin, Daviess and Boone. Each county reported 100 or more new cases; Jefferson County alone reported 700.
Community leaders, businesses, schools and families in these counties should all follow red zone reduction recommendations, as well as other orders and guidance.
Those reported lost to the virus today include a 70-year-old man from Boyd County; a 75-year-old man from Calloway County; an 82-year-old man from Christian County; a 96-year-old woman from Daviess County; a 95-year-old woman from Graves County; two women, ages 79 and 86, and two men, ages 57 and 66, from Grayson County; a 93-year-old woman from Henderson County; an 87-year-old man from Hopkins County; six women, ages 61, 64, 76, 77, 77 and 80, and seven men, ages 62, 64, 64, 66, 72, 73 and 94, from Jefferson County; a 62-year-old woman from Jessamine County; a 76-year-old man from Kenton County; a 79-year-old woman from Marshall County; a 66-year-old woman from Mason County; two men, ages 59 and 64, from McCracken County; an 88-year-old woman and a 64-year-old man from Monroe County; a 65-year-old man from Montgomery County; a 93-year-old woman from Robertson County; and an 82-year-old man from Union County.
Mark Carter, Cabinet for Health and Family Services policy advisor, also updated Kentuckians on contact tracing in Kentucky and how they can protect themselves, their families and their community.
Carter highlighted important successes: Over 1,600 contact tracing staff in the state have now completed 215,000 daily check-ins with COVID-19-positive Kentuckians to monitor symptoms and provide support. They have also contacted more than 47,000 people identified as contacts potentially exposed to the virus.
However, he also emphasized the need for greater public cooperation and renewed federal funding.
“The public health strategy for contact tracing depended on broad public participation – cooperating with the local health departments when a tracer calls, wearing masks, social distancing and testing,” Carter said. “We simply haven’t had enough participation from the public and the resulting surge has overwhelmed contact tracing capacity.
“Another challenge is that federal funds from the CARES Act have made the statewide contact tracing and tracking information management system and surge staffing possible, but Congress has not taken any action on additional stimulus legislation to date. Currently, Kentucky and all other states are required to use all CARES Act funding by Dec. 30, 2020.”
The Governor announced that the Kentucky Department for Local Government is releasing an additional $50 million in CARES Act funding to reimburse city and county governments for expenses related to COVID-19. Approximately 200 cities and counties are eligible because they have already exhausted their original allotment and have remaining eligible reimbursements.
To apply, eligible local governments will follow the Department for Local Government’s original application process, which is outlined on its website.
“Our local governments have been lifelines in our communities during the pandemic,” said Gov. Beshear. “When this $50 million is depleted, which we believe will be within the month, we will need more help from the federal government.”
The Governor said there is about $11 million remaining in the Healthy at Home Utility Relief Fund and encouraged eligible Kentuckians to apply.
The fund provides relief to Kentuckians affected by COVID-19 who need assistance with their water, wastewater, electric or natural gas service. Kentucky’s Community Action Network is partnering with the Beshear administration to distribute these funds statewide.
“Eligible households can receive a one-time $500 benefit towards their water and or wastewater bills and $400 towards their natural gas or utility bills,” said Gov. Beshear.
Households who have an income up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Line and have been economically impacted due to COVID-19 can apply.
Interested households should contact their local Community Action Outreach Office on how to apply. To locate your local office, please call 800-456-3452.
The Governor said that as of 3 p.m., the Public Protection Cabinet had received 2,650 applications for $25.6 million in assistance. The state has already approved applications for $1.7 million.
The Governor said there is one deceased veteran at Thomson-Hood Veterans Center (THVC) in Wilmore who was previously listed as recovered, but has since died.
“That is a total of 31 veteran deaths from COVID-19 at THVC. It’s simply heartbreaking. We still have two active cases of COVID-19 in veterans at THVC,” said Gov. Beshear. “In addition, the veteran who became the first active case of COVID-19 at Western Kentucky Veterans Center in Hanson has since died. We must do more as a community to protect these heroes.”
Finally, the Governor updated Kentuckians on the state’s vaccine distribution process, discussed in detail at yesterday’s press conference. The draft Kentucky vaccination plan, which includes a draft outline of our planning phases, critical populations and vaccine provider enrollment and administration.
The Governor reminded Kentuckians that his administration is working on a public communication campaign that will launch this month to help families have even more information about the vaccine plan and process.
Today, Gov. Beshear honored Bruce Gadansky, 76, who passed away after a long-fought battle with the virus. On Nov. 14, Bruce left his son, Chris, a voicemail – the last voicemail Chris would ever receive from his father.
“As Bruce passed on, his wife and son were left to say their goodbyes, urge him on to a better tomorrow, through a phone held to his ear by a nurse. That is what COVID does to our loved ones,” said Gov. Beshear.
“Bruce was a friend to everyone, a stranger to no one. He was a man of service – a U.S. Navy veteran, serving in Vietnam, who also served as deputy sheriff in Oldham County for 10 years. Bruce championed causes for the elderly during his time as vice president of operations for the Louisville Better Business Bureau, working with the FBI against consumer fraud. And he also spent his time volunteering for St. Matthews Baseball where he made friends young and old – something his son will miss seeing the most. Above everything else, Bruce was a loving husband to Mickey, a father to two sons and a grandfather to five grandchildren. He was a passionate fan of baseball, bourbon, cigars and a good joke.
“What we must stress here is Bruce and Mickey did it right. They barely left the house in nine months and always wore a mask. But that’s the thing about masks – it takes all of us wearing them correctly. If we do, we can prevent the loss of individuals like Bruce, and the heartbreak of his family now mourning his loss.”
(provided by the Office of Gov. Andy Beshear)