FRANKFORT, Ky. — City and county governments across Kentucky can apply for part of $300 million in CARES Act funding for coronavirus response starting Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced at his Wednesday news conference.
Watch a replay of the briefing in the player below:
To apply, local governments with COVID-19-related expenses from March 1, 2020 to Dec. 30, 2020. These expenses can include personal protective equipment, food delivery to nursing homes and vulnerable populations, necessary telework and communications improvements, and others.
“Local governments have been instrumental in the fight against COVID-19 and are a lifeline in our local communities,” Beshar said.
Local governments must apply with expense documentation on DLG’s website Thursday at 8 a.m. Funding will be allocated to governments based on population size.
Retail reopens at 33% capacity
Beshear said initial reports Wednesday indicated people have followed social distancing and cleaning guidelines in retail stores so far.
"This is how we do this right," Beshear said.
With two weeks of data, Beshear said he hopes the state will be able to increase the number of people allowed inside a store at one time. Currently, retailers can host customers at 33% capacity.
Officials recommended that customers follow social distancing guidelines, wear masks and limit the amount of time they are inside retail stores.
Malls and flea markets can also reopen Wednesday as long as staff at entrances and exits keep occupancy at 33% and adhere to cleaning guidelines. Individual stores must also enforce 33% capacity, Beshear said. Mall food courts must follow the same requirements set for restaurants.
Funeral homes were also permitted to reopen Wednesday, and houses of worship could once again host limited-capacity in-person services.
Ky. case numbers and testing
Beshear reported 10 new virus-related deaths Wednesday, and there have been 376 virus-related deaths among 8,167 total positive COVID-19 cases statewide. NKY Health reports 999 total local cases and 57 virus-related deaths as of Wednesday.
More than 2,900 people have recovered from coronavirus, and more than 158,600 people have been tested.
Beshear said that the numbers for the last few weeks have been stable, and that as more Kentuckians get back to work this month, he is confident the state's healthcare system could handle a "second wave" of cases.
“I am encouraged that the number of days that it has taken to stabilize people is a lot lower than was ever anticipated," he said. “Our healthcare professionals have proven that they can get people in, get people better and get people out a lot sooner than anybody had expected.”
Residents of long-term care facilities testing positive for COVID-19 statewide hit 1,002 plus 461 staff, Beshear said Tuesday. So far, 205 residents and two staff members have died since outbreak began, accounting for roughly 60% of the state's total deaths due to COVID-19.
On Wednesday, Public Health Director Dr. Steven Stack announced that the state is administering tests in 23 long-term care facilities. The state is also issuing over 2 million pieces of personal protective equipment to 280 facilities around Kentucky, including 209,900 items of PPE like masks, face shields, gloves and gowns sent to Northern Kentucky.
A free drive-thru COVID-19 testing site will remain open in Erlanger at 25 Atlantic Ave this week. You can call 1-800-737-7900 to schedule an appointment.
For a complete list of coronavirus testing sites in Kentucky, click here.
4 children with COVID-19-related syndrome
Beshear announced that a 5-year-old and an 11-year-old have now contracted a coronavirus-related "pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome" on Monday. Beshear said the 5-year-old has since been released from a local hospital, and the 11-year-old remains hospitalized.
State leaders had previously announced that a 10-year-old and a 16-year-old had contracted the new syndrome which first appeared in New York.
Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said the 10-year-old in Kentucky had been put on a ventilator in critical condition due to a COVID-19-related inflammatory syndrome that affects young people. Beshear said that the child has been taken off a ventilator as his condition improves. The 16-year-old had been released from the hospital.
Stack said symptoms of this immune system syndrome vary and appear weeks after the child recovers from COVID-19. Possible symptoms include fever, rash, abdominal pain mimicking appendicitis, gastrointestinal problems and respiratory problems.
Stack advises parents call the Kentucky Pediatric Hotline at (800) 722-5725 for questions and more information.
What else opens in Kentucky this week?
Restaurants can reopen at 33% capacity with outdoor seating starting Friday.
Beshear said bars will likely remain closed until July because it's harder to regulate social distancing inside bars than in restaurants, but bars can still operate as restaurants by offering food service at tables outside.
Additionally, the governor's restrictions on interstate travel will expire Friday.