Gov. Andy Beshear announced $300 million of funding from the CARES Act will be awarded to city and county governments across the Commonwealth.
The funding is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act which established the Coronavirus Relief Fund to reimburse local governments for expenses incurred in response to the public health emergency caused by the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), according to a press release from the Kentucky Governor's Office.
The Department for Local Governments will administer the funds.
"Local governments have been instrumental in the fight against COVID-19 and are a lifeline in our local communities," said Gov. Andy Beshear. "During this fight, they have sacrificed so much to protect others by supplying PPE, enforcing guidelines, keeping the public informed and looking out for our most vulnerable. This funding will help them better protect all Kentuckians."
Guidelines for how the money can be used include expenses that:
1. Are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19;
2. Were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020; and
3. Were incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020, and ends on Dec. 30, 2020.
No new cases of COVID-19 were reported Wednesday in Knox, Laurel or Whitley counties, according to the press conference. Ten new deaths were reported across the state. The total number of cases in Kentucky, as reported during Beshear's update, is 8,167 with 108 being probable cases. There were 166 new cases reported Wednesday.
The number of tests being administered around the state has also increased bringing the total to 158,672 tests being administered.
2,919 individuals have recovered from the virus.
Beshear introduced a new mnemonic device to help Kentuckians stay healthy at work. "Hands, face and space" is a reminder to wash your hands and not to touch people outside of your household; wear a mask and avoid touching your face; do not gather in groups larger than 10, gather outdoors if possible and maintain six feet distance if possible.
Testing locations across the state are functional and are not being used at their full capacity. Beshear said he encourages people to go out to get tested. There are no guidelines for when individuals should be retested if they were initially positive for COVID-19, but Beshear said that retesting will be an important part of reducing the spread of the virus.
No new cases of the pediatric inflammatory syndrome related to the coronavirus were reported Wednesday.
As the economy begins to reopen, Beshear said reports back seem pretty good for the first day of retail. He said he would like to see at least two weeks' worth of data, but the government is certainly open to increasing capacity if the data will support it.
Beshear said that he believes the healthcare system in Kentucky is prepared for a second spike of cases given that the state is requiring healthcare facilities to maintain a certain amount of personal protective equipment. He speculated that what could possibly happen is more regional outbreaks.