FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear announced Tuesday the launch of a $15 million Healthy At Home Eviction Relief Fund, which helps people unable to pay rent due to the pandemic.
Using money sent to Kentucky through the federal CARES Act, Kentucky renters can apply for the rent assistance starting Tuesday.
That $15 million would pay up to 90% of past due rent to eligible Kentucky tenants, and may also pay up to 2 months future rent, Beshear said. Eligible landlords can also apply for direct reimbursement of unpaid rent retroactively through March 1.
Applications open Tuesday and will close when funds are exhausted. Learn more and apply here.
In an executive order last month, Beshear prohibited landlords from charging late fees, interest or other penalties on renters who can't pay due to the COVID-19 pandemic from March 6 through Dec. 31, 2020.
The order also created additional steps before eviction processes can begin, requiring landlords to meet with nonpaying tenants to work out plans to keep them housed. Kentucky had suspended evictions as the pandemic took hold.
The Team Kentucky Fund, Kentucky Housing Corporation Emergency Solutions Grant and other local funds are also available to help, Beshear said Tuesday.
Beshear announced 273 new positive COVID-19 tests and one virus-related on Tuesday, with at least 53,319 total cases and 997 deaths since the pandemic began. Due to the holiday weekend, Beshear said Tuesday's case numbers were artificially low.
"We oughta expect a very tough day tomorrow, and perhaps to pass a very difficult milestone," Beshear said.
Kentucky set a record for the number of positive coronavirus cases for the second straight week, as Beshear announced 4,742 confirmed cases for the week ending Sunday topped a record 4,503 cases from the previous week.
The state's seven-day positivity rate dropped to 3.91% by Tuesday.
"My hope is that we will be able to sustain that or the low fours as we go through the week and all the information comes back in. Depending on how much information comes in and how many positives there are, this could just be a result of limited reporting over a couple of days that go into that seven-day average," he said.
Kentucky has administered more than 929,212 coronavirus tests so far, and more than 10,648 people who had the virus have reportedly recovered.
More virus numbers, cases in schools
NKY Health reported that 3,962 people across Boone, Kenton, Campbell and Grant counties have tested positive for COVID-19, and 91 people have reportedly died of the virus. The health department reports 809 active cases and 3,062 people who have recovered from coronavirus as of Monday.
In Northern Kentucky schools on Tuesday, Beechwood Elementary School (Beechwood Independent Schools) reported a new active case of COVID-19 to the state.
Campbell Ridge Elementary School (Campbell Co. Schools) reported one staffer tested positive for COVID-19, and Ft. Wright Elementary School (Kenton Co. Schools) also reported one staff case as of Tuesday's report.
There are now four total active cases out of Diocese of Covington schools, including two students at Covington Catholic, one case at St. Paul Catholic School and one at St. Mary Catholic School.
Lindeman Elementary School, part of the Erlanger-Elsmere Independent School District, reported one COVID-19 case in a staff member Wednesday. Bracken County High School has also reported one active case in staff as of Tuesday.
Northern Kentucky University reports three active COVID-19 cases in students as of the most recent report on Tuesday. The university has not reported any staff who tested positive for COVID-19.
NKY counties in COVID-19 'yellow zone'
Several Northern Kentucky counties, including Boone and Kenton counties, have positivity rates between 5% and 10%, according to the latest White House report.
That puts them in the White House's "yellow" zone, a step below the "red" zone denoting a 10% or greater positivity rate. Now, 14 counties of Kentucky's 120 counties are currently in the red zone, down from 16.
White House data shows most Northern Kentucky counties are in the "yellow zone" with coronavirus positivity rates between 5% and 10%. Beshear has said the Trump administration's rating system may determine future actions in different counties, possibly including another recommended delay for in-person schooling in red counties.
Where to find free COVID-19 tests
In Northern Kentucky, St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Covington's Gravity Diagnostics now offers free, appointment-only drive-thru testing at 25 Atlantic Ave in Erlanger.
The site, the former Toyota HQ building off Mineola Pike, will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. You will be able to collect your own sample without leaving your vehicle and receive results within three to five days.
Additionally, appointment-only drive-up testing will be available through St. E at 7200 Alexandria Pike, Alexandria. The free testing site will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Schedule an appointment at those sites online at www.stelizabeth.com/covid-testing.
To find all coronavirus testing locations near you, click here.
Watch a replay of the briefing in the player below.