TOM LATEK | Kentucky Today
FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Gov. Andy Beshear announced on Wednesday a $300 million award to city and county governments as part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
Part of The CARES Act, as it is known, established the Coronavirus Relief Fund to reimburse local governments for expenses incurred in response to the public health emergency caused by COVID-19.
During his daily press briefing, Beshear praised the work of cities and counties during the pandemic. “Our local governments have been instrumental in the public health response. Their leadership has been incredible, and it’s required everyone, from their police, firefighters, EMS, their public health unit, it’s been everybody on board.”
He said the funds will be administered by his Department for Local Government, through a formula based on population, to each county and city. “Provided they have enough reimbursable expenses, because we have to track this for the federal government, they will receive their full amount of the formula.”
He noted a portion of the money will be held back, agreed to by the Kentucky Association of Counties and the Kentucky League of Cities, in case there was another spike that required additional help.
Eligible reimbursements may include but are not limited to:
–The purchase of personal protective equipment for health and safety employees
–Expenses for communication and enforcement by governments for COVID-19-related public health orders
–Expenses for food delivery to nursing homes and vulnerable populations
–Improvements necessary for public employees to telework to comply with public health precautions
–Expenses for disinfection of public spaces and facilities
–Payroll expenses for public safety, public health, health care, human services and similar employees who dedicated substantial time to mitigating or responding to the public health emergency.
Beshear reported 166 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, meaning there have been at least 8,167 cases overall reported to state public health officials. Ten more deaths were also reported, bringing the pandemic total to 376. Six of the victims were from Jefferson County, with each from Boone, Breckenridge, Graves, and Oldham counties.
“That’s 10 families that have lost loved ones,” Beshear said, “And while the rules today loosened up on funerals, it’s still going to be really hard for these families to go through this. I hope you know I am fighting for every single individual out there. It hurts me every time we’ve lost someone.”
Keeping safe while celebrating together over the Memorial Day weekend, Beshear said. He and state health officials are asking all Kentuckians to keep gatherings to 10 or fewer people.
“This weekend, think about hands, face and space. So, hands clean and to yourself. Face covered if you’re close and don’t touch it. And, finally, space,” he said. “We’re going to be really excited to see folks we haven’t in a while, but stay six-feet apart, do it outside if you can, it’s going to make it very safe comparatively.”
Other guidance includes wearing masks, gathering outside instead of inside, washing hands frequently and covering food and individually wrapping plates.
Elliott County has first positive case
Elliott County reported its first positive case of the coronavirus on Wednesday. Only three counties – Estill, Lee and Robertson – are virus-free.
For the latest guidance on business and recreational re-openings, go to the state’s dedicated website, kycovid19.ky.gov.