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Kentucky: State-by-State COVID-19 Guidance

KENTUCKY

February 10, 2021:

On February 10, 2021, officials announced that the statewide rate of Kentuckians testing positive continued to drop, hitting 7.5 percent on Wednesday, down slightly from Tuesday’s rate of 7.66 percent.

February 9, 2021:

On February 9, 2021, state officials announced that the Kroger COVID-19 vaccine site in Bowling Green, Kentucky will be closed on Thursday due to inclement weather. Furthermore, Governor Beshear stated that the federal government increased Kentucky’s vaccine supply for the third time in three weeks, this time by six percent, for a total increase of 28%.

February 8, 2021:

On February 8, 2021, Governor Beshear announced that Kentucky COVID-19 cases numbers and positivity rates are trending downward. The Governor stated that Kentuckians must continue to follow public health guideline to maintain the downward trend.

February 4, 2021:

On February 4, 2021, Governor Beshear announced that the Northern Kentucky Convention Center will become a mass vaccination site operating every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Kroger will operate the site, and individuals must register beforehand.

February 3, 2021:

On February 3, 2021, Governor Beshear announced that COVID-19 spread and deaths are trending down in Kentucky. Furthermore, Governor Beshear and state public health officials recommended having virtual Super Bowl parties because in-person gatherings give the virus the opportunity to spread and mutate, and Super Bowl festivities could undermine public health efforts.

February 2, 2021:

On February 1, 2021, Governor Beshear extended Kentucky’s mask mandate for another 30 days, noting that it would likely be extended again until enough Kentuckians receive COVID-19 vaccines. Governor Beshear stated that the mask mandate has been effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Kentucky.

On February 2, 2021, Governor Beshear confirmed that Kentucky would receive a 5 percent increase in its supply of COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government.

January 28, 2021:

On January 28, Governor Beshear announced that Kentucky had recorded a record number of COVID deaths on Thursday, January 28. The Governor also announced that there will be delays in the state’s vaccination plan due to limits in supply. Those 70 and older; first responders; and K-12 school personnel — are first in line for vaccines while those 60 and older; those over 16 with high-risk conditions; and all essential workers — will have to wait a bit longer for their shots. The state will begin to further disclose mass vaccination sites in the upcoming two weeks.

January 27, 2021:

On January 27, the Kentucky Department of Public Health announced that the first two cases of the United Kingdom strain of Coved were detected in the Northern Kentucky county of Kenton. Officials announced that the virus has most likely spread beyond the two confirmed individuals.

January 26, 2021:

On January 26, Governor Beshear announced that the first two cases of the faster spreading United Kingdom variant of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Kentucky.

Kentucky public health commissioner, Dr. Steven Stack, plans on releasing details of the two confirmed cases on January 27.

January 25, 2021:

On January 25, Governor Beshear announced that 1,268 new virus cases have been reported statewide, the lowest in the past 4 weeks. The Governor was cautious warning that Monday case numbers are typically lower.

The Governor also announced that last week, the state vaccinated 82,511 people, which is the new record for the most Kentuckians vaccinated in one week. The Governor cautioned that demand is still outpacing supply in Kentucky.

January 20, 2021:

On January 19, Governor Beshear announced Kentucky hospitals will receive an additional $800 million to $1 billion annually to help advance the quality of care of Medicaid members and provide a stable base for hospitals that will extend beyond the financial challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Governor said the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) received approval January 14 from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on a new directed payment initiative that increases inpatient Medicaid payments for Kentucky hospitals. Pending Kentucky General Assembly legislative approval and federal approval of details plans, payments could begin in March.

In order to receive these funds, hospitals will have to abide by higher quality standards that will be developed in collaboration with CHFS and the Kentucky Hospital Association (KHA).

January 19, 2021:

(Lexington): On January 19, Baptist Health has announced it is now scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations for people in phases 1A and 1B, while the University of Kentucky has begun to invite people to sign up to be vaccinated at Kroger Field. Phase 1A is meant for healthcare personnel employed in the state of Kentucky. Phase 1B focuses on people ages 70 and up.

Because initial vaccine supplies are limited, Baptist Health is prioritizing administration based on guidance from the CDC and Kentucky state authorities. If you meet the current criteria, you may schedule an appointment to be vaccinated online.

UK is also giving priority to health care workers and older Kentuckians. The state's phased vaccine plan can be found here. A request for vaccination can be submitted here.

All vaccines will be provided by appointment only. Walk-ins to hospitals will not be provided a vaccine.

January 18, 2021:

On January 16, Governor Beshear, state officials, and Kroger leadership announced a new partnership to significantly increase the speed of COVID-19 vaccinations across the commonwealth.

The first Kroger regional, drive-through vaccination sites will open the week of February 1 for Kentuckians in Phase 1A, 1B and 1C. For more details on who is included in each phase, click here. On January 28, the Governor said more details would be announced on site locations and how to sign up.

Vaccinations have already begun for K-12 school personnel through individual school districts and will continue to ramp up over the next few weeks. The Governor said the state expects to finish administering initial vaccination doses for K-12 educators and support staff the week of February 1.

The Governor urged Kentuckians to be patient as vaccine allocations from the federal government are still far too small to cover everyone in Phase 1A, 1B and 1C who wants to be vaccinated. However, it is critically important that the state gets vaccines into arms quickly. That means in some cases, vaccine providers will need to vaccinate Kentuckians out of the phase sequence in order to meet the state’s goal of administering 90% of vaccines within one week of their arrival at a distribution site.

The Governor said 324,650 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been received in Kentucky and 172,537 doses have been administered. Of the doses administered, 28,977 have been given to long-term care facility residents and staff.

More than 67,000 doses were administered from January 3 to 9, about 30,000 more doses than were administered the week prior. Since January 10, more than 45,000 additional doses have been administered.

Walgreens and CVS have a contract with the federal government to administer vaccines to residents and staff at long-term care facilities.

Adam Mather, inspector general at the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, announced that during the week of January 4 to 10, Walgreens completed vaccinations at 72 long-term care facilities, with 3,512 residents and 2,059 staff receiving doses.

That week, CVS completed vaccinations at 75 long-term care facilities, with 2,973 residents and 2,432 staff receiving doses.

Furthermore, Amy Cubbage, general counsel for Governor Beshear, updated Kentuckians on virtual appointment scheduling, federal Continued Assistance Act implementation and the number of Kentuckians who have now received unemployment insurance (UI) payments.

“The virtual appointment schedule is an 18-calendar day rolling schedule,” Cubbage said. For instance, day 1 is January 14. Day 18 is January 31. Appointments for February 1 should be on the website for claimants to schedule. Appointment hours are 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily. There are currently 16 staff working 125 appointments a day.

The system allows claimants to schedule, reschedule and cancel appointments as well as add the appointment information to their calendars. If a claimant forgets their appointment information, they can go to the website, enter their email address and the system will resend the appointment information. The system is also set to send reminders to claimants with appointments the day before their scheduled appointment.

“The programming for the federal Continuing Assistance Act is largely finished. Additional $300 per week payments should start going out next week,” Cubbage said. “Additional PUA/PEUC weeks should be ready to claim without opening a new claim, even if you had exhausted your full number of weeks previously.”

January 14, 2021:

(Louisville): On January 13, Louisville health officials announced that if you are a Louisville resident age 70 or older, you can now sign up on the city's online portal to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Louisville health officials are still working through the first phase of vaccinations for medical front-line workers and long-term care residents, but they are looking ahead to the next group to receive the shots.

According to Kentucky guidelines, the next phase (Phase 1B) will include people 70 and older, non-medical first responders and also school personnel. Louisvillians who are 70 or older can go online here to request a vaccination appointment. Those who sign up need to make sure to fill out all the information, only fill out the form once and wait their turn.

According to the city's office for Public Health and Wellness, vaccinations for people 70 and older are not expected to begin until at least February. Those who sign up online will receive a message when it is their turn for the COVID-19 vaccine. As a reminder, the online portal is only for those 70 and older. The city's website also has information about where to go for vaccinations, how the process works and additional answers to other questions.

Officials said when it's time for the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, people will be contacted by the organization from which they received their first dose. The two doses will come from the same provider.

Other groups included in the second phase -- non-medical first responders and school personnel -- will have their vaccine appointments scheduled through their employers. There is no need for those individuals to use the online portal. According to the city's website, phase three (Phase 1C) will include all essential workers, people 60 and older and anyone 16 and older with underlying health conditions. That phase is not expected to begin until late summer or early fall.

January 12, 2021:

On January 12, Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order creating the Unemployment One-Time Relief Payment Program to be administered by the Office of Unemployment Insurance (OUI) and funded by Coronavirus Relief Fund money for up to $48 million. The program will provide one-time supplemental payments to claimants:

  1. $400 to claimants under any OUI program who: (a) would otherwise have qualified for 2020 FEMA Lost Wages Assistance but their weekly benefit amount was below $100, and (b) who had an approved claim in November and December 2020 but a weekly benefit amount of less than $176. Approximately 25,000 Kentuckians are eligible for this payment; and
  2. $1,000 to claimants under any OUI program between March 4 and Oct. 31, 2020, with verified identities and no indication of fraud, but whose claims were not yet adjudicated and paid. Approximately 16,500 Kentuckians are eligible for this payment.

“For those who were able to file a claim, we want to help these people until we can get to their claims,” said Governor Beshear. “And we want to help the people who were working regular, full-time jobs before this crisis but still didn’t make enough to qualify for Lost Wages Assistance when they lost their jobs.”

January 11, 2021:

On January 8, Governor Beshear said 107,799 initial vaccine doses have been administered across the state; 47,385 have been administered since Monday’s report, which Governor Beshear said highlights the impact of the state’s push to dramatically speed up vaccinations in the commonwealth.

“A shot that sits in a freezer for an extended period of time is no use to anyone,” said Dr. Stack. “Because it is incredibly difficult to find everyone who meet very specific, discrete criteria, and because, unfortunately, there is a substantial portion of the population who is opting to wait for the vaccine or has some concern or hesitancy about it, at the end of the day, we want every vaccination administration site to give at least 90% of the vaccine that reaches the state within seven days, even if that means moving to people in a lower priority category who are willing and able to receive it.”

Adam Mather, inspector general at the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, provided an update on vaccine progress in the commonwealth’s long-term care facilities. As of January 7, vaccinations had been given to staff and residents in 287 long-term care and assisted living facilities. Nearly 24,000 initial doses have been administered.

“There will be significant ramp-ups and a pledge by both partners to be finished administering initial doses by January 25. Some delays in vaccinating residents have been related to COVID-19 outbreaks in facilities, but those residents will be able to be vaccinated at a later date. As the Governor mentioned, staff vaccinations remain a bit of an issue, but a caveat to that is that some of the facilities have decided to split their staff in half in case there are any reactions, so they can ensure they don’t have a staffing shortage. “With that said, I want to point out that we haven’t seen any negative side effects from residents or staff reported other than soreness.”

Furthermore, Governor Beshear signed an executive order prohibiting price-gouging, extending a previous order. This order will remain in effect for the duration of the state of emergency.

Lastly, Amy Cubbage, general counsel for Governor Beshear, said of the almost 1.5 million claims, only 90,000 initial claims across all programs have unresolved issues. “A number of those claims appear to be fraudulent claims that will never pay out, and we estimate the true number of claims in that group is approximately 30,000. Only about 5% of claimants have outstanding initial issues, with about a quarter of those having filed in the last three months,” Cubbage said. “We are also proud that we have been able to pay benefits to more than 90% of claimants, where prior to the pandemic our average payment rate was 75%.”

Cubbage also provided more information about the new federal benefits provided by Congress in December in the Continued Assistance Act. The Continued Assistance Act provided:

  • An 11-week extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for non-traditional and contract employees, which means claimants under that program can qualify for a total of 50 weeks;
  • An 11-week extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, which provides some claimants who have exhausted traditional UI benefits continued benefits;
  • An opportunity to regain the Extended Benefits program; and
  • An 11-week $300 per week supplement similar to the $600 per week supplement Congress provided during the spring and summer.

She explained more about stimulus payments for unemployment insurance claimants announced by the Governor last night. The Office of Unemployment Insurance (OUI) is working on programming to get these payments out to those who qualify by the end of next week. These are one-time payments that will arrive in the same manner as regular unemployment payments, whether by direct deposit to a bank account or a prepaid debit card. There are two types of payments under this program:

  1. A $1,000 payment to people who have filed claims from March 4 through October 31 and have yet to have their claims resolved. Kentuckians are eligible if OUI has proof of identity and if their claims have not been flagged as fraudulent. Approximately 20,000 to 24,000 Kentuckians are eligible for these payments.
  2. A $400 payment to people who would have qualified for the $400 FEMA supplemental payment in August and September but did not have a benefit amount high enough to qualify under the President’s order. People who drew a weekly benefit amount of $175 or less in November and December will qualify for the $400. Approximately 60,000 Kentuckians are eligible for these payments.

“Watch the KCC website for updates on timing and more specific details about these payments,” Cubbage said. “Also, if you receive your benefits on a prepaid debit card, please check the notice on the KCC website about the upcoming change in debit card providers. There will be a lag between providers, so unless you change your payment method to direct deposit into a bank account you will receive a paper check for a short period of time. If you prefer to receive a check rather than a direct deposit, please make sure we have your correct address.”

Finally, Cubbage provided an update on overpayments to claimants. “You may remember that early in the pandemic we had some issues with mistaken payments being made to claimants, and now they’ve been asked to pay those back. As you know, the Governor asked us to find a way to forgive those overpayments because those were our mistake, not yours,” Cubbage said. “The Continued Assistance Act actually amended the federal law and allows us to waive those, but state law doesn’t at this time. So we are hoping the General Assembly will give us the flexibility to waive those payments while they are here. We look forward to working with them to achieve that.”

January 5, 2021:

On January 5, Governor Andy Beshear and Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, provided an update on the COVID-19 vaccine and announced that Kentuckians will be inoculated in four phases.

The Governor said the state’s goal is to administer 90% of all vaccine doses received in the state within seven days of arrival and that the newly announced additional phases provide clarity on when more Kentuckians can get the vaccine. The phases also help providers understand what order vaccines should be administered in, which is crucial if they are having challenges meeting the 90% weekly goal or if they have extra thawed vaccine.

The Governor said 60,414 vaccine doses have already been administered in Kentucky; 57,000 doses (27,300 from Pfizer and from 29,700 from Moderna) will be delivered this week.

The planned vaccination phases are:

  • Phase 1a: Long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, health care personnel
  • Phase 1b: First responders, Kentuckians age >= 70, K-12 school personnel
  • Phase 1c: Kentuckians age >= 60, anyone older than 16 with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highest-risk conditions for COVID-19, all essential workers
  • Phase 2: Age >= 40
  • Phase 3: Age >= 16
  • Phase 4: Children under the age of 16 if the vaccine is approved for this age group (estimated to comprise 18% of Kentucky’s population)

December 30, 2020:

On December 30, Governor Beshear renewed the state’s face coverings mandate for an additional 30 days; the current executive order is set to expire at 4:59 p.m. on January 2 and the new order will be effective on January 2 at 5 p.m.

Governor Beshear also signed Executive Order 2020-1057 that extends previous orders allowing pharmacists to dispense 30-day refills. The current executive order is set to expire at the end of January 3; the new order will be effective for 30 days beginning January 4.

December 29, 2020:

On December 28, Governor Beshear and Dr. Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, said the next priority group (Phase 1b) for vaccination will be Kentuckians who are at least 70 years old, as well as first responders and educators. Depending on the vaccine distribution schedule, Phase 1b could begin as early as February 1, 2021, plus or minus a week.

The Governor said 40 additional sites will receive vaccine doses for the first time this week. To date, in Phase 1a, approximately 126,600 vaccine doses have been delivered to Kentucky: 39,000 of those doses are designated for long-term care facilities. At least 26,336 vaccine doses have already been administered statewide: 17,752 to health care workers, 2,788 through local health departments and 5,796 to long-term care residents and staff. Dr. Stack clarified that Phase 1a includes all health care personnel in clinical settings, including Kentuckians who work in environmental services, front-line operations, interpretation services, dental care and home-based health care staff. Dr. Stack estimated that there are at least 200,000 Kentuckians included in this category.

Further, Governor Beshear said the CDC has extended its moratorium on evictions through January 31, 2021. The Governor renewed a previous executive order mandating that the CDC moratorium apply in Kentucky. The CDC order and the tenant declaration required by the CDC order and by the Governor’s order are available online.

December 22, 2020:

On December 21, Governor Andy Beshear announced that several long-term care facilities in the commonwealth began administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccinations follow a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which advises the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that the initial phase of the COVID-19 vaccination program should be offered to health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities. Most assisted living facilities and skilled nursing facilities have enrolled in the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program implementing COVID-19 vaccination. Walgreens and CVS are providing services to the facilities, including follow-up visits. Walgreens pharmacy team members will provide COVID-19 vaccinations in approximately 800 long-term care facilities across Kentucky and 11 additional states the week of Dec. 21, including many in rural and urban areas.

“Again, our goal is to get everyone in long-term care facilities vaccinated by March 1,” said Gov. Beshear. “If we do that, we cut off 66% of the deaths that we have been experiencing. We also reduce hospitalizations and we free up more health care capacity. That means patients who do come in to the hospital get more attention and access and we improve their health outcomes.”

Furthermore, Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, introduced a new vaccine dashboard on kycovid19.ky.gov where Kentuckians can learn more about the vaccine, its planned distribution stages and progress of its rollout across the state. Eighty hospitals in Kentucky will receive the Moderna vaccine this week. “This will show the total number of doses that have been shipped to the state; it will show the total number of Kentuckians who have been vaccinated; and it will show the total number of doses remaining to be deployed,” said Dr. Stack. “These numbers do not include the numbers that go to the long-term care facility immunization, at least not currently. Those get assigned over to CVS and Walgreens and show up in a different tracking methodology.”

December 16, 2020:

On December 16, Governor Beshear announced all 11 health facilities identified to receive initial shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines have confirmed receipt.

Also, on December 13, Governor Andy Beshear announced the initial shipment of the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines has arrived in Kentucky, delivered to Louisville’s UPS Worldport. As shipments continue, Kentucky is expected to received exactly 12,675 vaccine vials that will soon make their way to 11 regional and ready hospitals in Louisville, Paducah, Bowling Green, Madisonville, Pikeville, Corbin, Lexington and Edgewood and an additional 25,350 are being delivered to CVS and Walgreens, destined for long-term care facilities in our commonwealth. Approval is also expected any day for the highly effective Moderna vaccine. This month alone, Kentucky could receive 150,000 doses of vaccine.

In the initial rounds, local hospitals, as well as long-term care facilities, which have not yet been announced, will be following guidance issued by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ACIP is prioritizing vaccinations among health care staff members who have been our only line of defense treating patients and long-term care residents and staff who have been at high risk and greatly affected by the spread of the virus.

The immediate goal is reducing COVID-19 deaths. With 66% of the deaths coming from long-term care facilities, vaccines could help significantly decrease Kentucky’s COVID-19 death toll beginning in January. Also, because long-term care residents tend to require the most care, vaccinations in these facilities will help reduce COVID-19’s burden on Kentucky’s health care system.

November 4, 2020:

On November 4, Governor Beshear issued an executive order to renew the state’s face coverings mandate for another 30 days and signed an executive order that extends previous orders allowing pharmacists to dispense 30-day refills. The current executive order is set to expire on November 4 at 11:59 p.m. The new order will be effective for 30 days beginning November 5.

November 3, 2020:

On November 2, Governor Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians that he has designated $15 million in CARES funding for the Healthy at Home Utility Relief Fund. The fund can assist households with income up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level that have suffered financially due to COVID-19, covering up to $500 for past-due utility, water or wastewater bills. For a limited number of households, the fund can pay up to $200 for past-due electric or natural gas bills, up to two times. Kentuckians can apply at their local Community Action Agency: To locate their local office, applicants may call 800-456-3452 or visit http://www.capky.org.

Applicants will need the following documentation:

  • Most current utility bill;
  • Proof of arrearage, payment plan or disconnect notice for utilities;
  • Proof of Social Security Number or Permanent Residence card (Green Card) for each member of the household; and
  • Proof of all household’s (all members) income from the preceding month.

November 2, 2020:

On October 29, Governor Andy Beshear urged every Kentuckian in 68 red zone counties to up their game in the fight against COVID-19 and follow nine recommendations beginning Monday, November 2nd, through Sunday, November 8, to reduce the spread of COVID-19 as cases flare in those areas. Schools, businesses, community leaders and Kentuckians in red zone counties – published every Thursday afternoon on kycovid19.ky.gov – should follow the below recommendations the upcoming week:

  • Employers should allow employees to work from home when possible
  • Government offices that do not provide critical services need to operate virtually
  • Reduce in-person shopping; order online or pickup curbside as much as possible
  • Order take-out; avoid dining in restaurants or bars
  • Prioritize businesses that follow and enforce the mask mandate and other guidelines
  • Reschedule, postpone or cancel public events
  • Do not host or attend gatherings of any size
  • Avoid non-essential activities outside your home
  • Reduce overall activity and contacts, and follow existing guidance, including the 10 Steps to Defeat COVID-19

Furthermore, Amy Cubbage, the Governor’s general counsel, discussed a new way of reporting unemployment insurance claims. In order to best serve those claimants who have been waiting the longest, the cabinet is now sorting claims by date of filing. Cubbage stated that Labor Cabinet Secretary Larry Roberts, at the Governor’s direction, has requested from the U.S. Department of Labor the ability to waive the obligation to obtain repayment of mistakenly paid benefits that may have occurred after the federal government changed their eligibility guidance. “We have not heard back from U.S. Department of Labor but remain hopeful we will be allowed some flexibility on these overpayments,” Cubbage said. “If granted, we will be able to provide significant relief to many Kentuckians.”

As a part of a project to upgrade the unemployment insurance computer system to be more user-friendly, there are some upcoming dates the system will be down for claimants. Kentuckians will not be able to file a claim or claim benefits during these planned outages: Friday, November 6, and Saturday, November 7; Thursday, November 26, through Saturday, November 28; and briefly after business hours on December 15.

October 20, 2020:

On October 20, the Kentucky Public Service Commission ended its moratorium on disconnections for its regulated utilities. Governor Beshear signed Executive Order No. 2020-881 to ensure there are protections when the moratorium ends and gives additional protections to Kentuckians. The order designates $15 million in federal COVID-19 relief for Kentuckians at risk of disconnection of their natural gas, water, wastewater, or electric service. Additionally, utilities must provide payment plans for residential customers struggling to make their payments and waive all late fees through December 31, 2020. More information about the assistance provided by this executive order can be found at: https://governor.ky.gov/attachments/Utility-Assistance.pdf.

October 7, 2020:

On October 6, Governor Beshear says the state is extending the mask mandate for a third time, for another 30 days. He reminded businesses that they should not give business to someone not wearing a mask. With the third extension this month, Governor Beshear warned the state would be "stepping up the enforcement" of the mask mandate. He said he had a Zoom conference call with county judges and mayors earlier Tuesday to ask for help with enforcing the mandate.

October 5, 2020:

On October 5, Governor Andy Beshear announced the state has reconnected kynect in order to provide easier access to health coverage and other benefits. The portal offers access to the national health benefit exchange and access to enrollment through the state: including Medicaid, the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance program (KCHIP), and the Kentucky Integrated Health Insurance Premium Payment program. Qualified families can now also access SNAP food assistance benefits and family and childcare assistance programs. Additional resources include support for job training, foster care, elder care and addiction, as well as support for veterans with disabilities, immigrants and refugees, homeless Kentuckians and many more people. The portal was created to bring these benefit information resources and community partners together for a better Kentucky in one location.

Governor Beshear said the new kynect offers expanded benefits, enhanced usability, a new mobile-friendly format and helps to ready the commonwealth for the return of the state-based exchange, scheduled for enrollment in 2021 to begin the exchange in January 2022. The move is expected to save Kentuckians about $15 million a year.

September 30, 2020:

On September 29, Governor Beshear announced that he will extend a renewal option for Kentuckians with driver’s licenses that are due to expire. “This renewed executive order allows people to renew their driver’s license by a drop box or by mail,” the Governor said. “You still have to renew it by one of those fashions through February 2021. Now it doesn’t automatically extend, so make sure that either by that drop box or by mail you get this done.”

September 29, 2020:

On September 28, Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman announced the new online portal for reporting on COVID-19 for schools. The new dashboard is available on the main kycovid19.ky.gov website under the Healthy at School section.

Furthermore, Governor Beshear again extended his executive order prohibiting price gouging.

September 23, 2020:

On September 22, Governor Beshear announced that Kentucky has been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for an additional three weeks of LWA payments. Eligible Kentuckians will receive $400 for the weeks of Aug. 22, Aug. 29, and Sept. 5 for each week a claimant meets the criteria.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Individuals who qualify for a weekly benefit of at least $100 per week in unemployment compensation for each week covered by FEMA’s LWA
  • Individuals who have self-certified that their employment has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

Payments will be automatically processed for claimants who meet the weekly benefit criteria and have already provided a self-certification. Claimants meeting the weekly benefit requirement who have not yet self-certified will be given an opportunity to provide the required self-certification, and those claimants will receive the benefit so long as FEMA funding remains.

September 16, 2020:

On September 15, Governor Beshear announced that the state has slightly eased regulations on bars and restaurants to push back last call and operational hours. He said restaurants and bars now will be allowed to have last call at 11:00 p.m. and close at midnight, both an hour later than under previous guidance.

September 14, 2020:

On September 8, Governor Beshear announced the launch of the Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund website, teamkyhherf.ky.gov, where Kentuckians now can visit and apply for assistance. Kentuckians can visit the site to seek information on how to obtain a portion of $15 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act money the Governor pledged to support the Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund.

  • Eligible landlords can be reimbursed for missed rent payments and receive some advance rent payments to keep tenants in their homes
  • Eligible tenants can receive up to 90% of past-due rent and may also cover up to two months of future rent

Payments must be made directly to eligible landlords. Kentuckians may submit applications beginning on September 8, 2020.

Evictions are still suspended in Kentucky under the state’s executive order, which reflects the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) moratorium on residential evictions until December 31, 2020. Under the CDC order, a tenant who signs and submits a declaration to his or her landlord about the inability to timely pay rent cannot be evicted. However, the declaration is required in order to prevent an eviction. Like the Governor’s prior executive orders on evictions, the CDC order does not relieve anyone of the obligation to pay rent or comply with any other obligation under a tenancy, lease or similar contract. The CDC order allows landlords to charge and collect fees, penalties and interest for failure to timely pay rent, but prohibits evictions for nonpayment or late payment of such fees, penalties or interest.

August 26, 2020:

Gov. Beshear issued an executive order to provide protections and clarity surrounding evictions during the coronavirus crisis. Landlords now must give tenants 30 days’ notice of an intent to evict for nonpayment of rent and work to come to an agreement during that time.

August 18, 2020:

On August 12, Governor Beshear offered an update on his administration’s travel advisory, which recommends a 14-day self-quarantine for Kentuckians who travel to states and U.S. territories that are reporting a positive coronavirus testing rate equal to or greater than 15%. The current areas meeting this threshold include Florida, Nevada, Mississippi, Idaho, South Carolina, Texas, Alabama and Arizona.

On August 14, Secretary of State Michael Adams sent Governor Beshear a formal letter of recommendation, and the Governor issued an Executive Order that outlines procedures for the state’s General Election, to be held Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. Voter options include absentee ballot by mail (returned by mail or to a drop box), early voting and election day voting. Kentuckians who were unable to get a driver’s licenses or photo ID due to the pandemic because their clerk’s office was closed, or because they were afraid of exposing themselves to COVID-19, can sign a document explaining this concern and cast their ballot. To learn more, read the full release detailing the elections plan.

Additionally, the Governor updated his August 11 declaration regarding bar and restaurant operations (which I sent you last week), stating the full list of requirements can be found at the Healthy at Work website. The same information from the update last week still applies (bars and restaurants to operate at 50% of capacity, as long as people can remain six feet from anyone who is not in their household or group. Bars and restaurants will be required to halt food and beverage service by 10 p.m. and close at 11 p.m. local time).

August 13, 2020:

On August 11, Governor Beshear recommended all schools across the state start the 2020-2021 year remotely. The governor advised all schools hold off sending children to the classroom until at least Sept. 28.

August 10, 2020:

On August 6, Governor Beshear extended the state’s mandate requiring face coverings for another 30 days.

July 29, 2020:

Governor Beshear announced bars will be closed for two weeks, effective  Tuesday, July 28 and restaurants will be limited to 25% of pre-pandemic capacity indoors; outdoor accommodations remain limited only by the ability to provide proper social distancing. Public and private schools are recommended to avoid offering in-person instruction until the third week of August.

July 15, 2020:

Governor Andy Beshear announced a new executive order effective 7/10 at 5 p.m. for a period of 30 days. The executive order states that face coverings will be required in the following circumstances:

  • while inside, or waiting in line to enter, any: retail establishment; grocery store; pharmacy; hair salon/barbershop; nail salon/spa; tattoo parlor; child care facility; restaurant or bar (when not seated and consuming food or beverage); health care setting, or; any other indoor public space in which it is difficult to maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from all individuals who are not members of that person’s household;
  • while waiting for or riding on public transportation or paratransit, or while riding in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle, or driving any of the above while customers are present; or
  • while in outdoor public spaces in which the person cannot maintain a physical distance of six feet from all individuals who are not members of the person’s household and is not otherwise covered by previously issued guidance.

June 30, 2020:

Governor Beshear announced today that the state will resume visitation at assisted living and personal care homes, group activities (10 or fewer) in facilities, communal dining and off-site appointments. Starting July 15, visitation will resume in nursing homes and in Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF-IIDs). Kentucky has also released new guidance on safety expectations for schools.

June 23, 2020:

Governor Beshear announced that beginning June 29, people can begin gathering in groups of 50 or fewer people. Most restaurants, bars, wedding venues, and public pools will be open. Bars and restaurants must limit the number of customers present to 50% capacity.

May 29, 2020:

Governor Beshear Kentucky Kingdom and a limited number of public pools will reopen June 29 with extensive precautions. Also Lake Cumberland State Resort Park, Lake Barkley State Resort Park, Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park, and Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park will be able to reopen on June 8. The Kentucky Horse Park will reopen on June 11, and host its first competitive horse show event without spectators from June 17 to June 21. Kentucky’s entire reopening schedule can be found here.

May 20, 2020:

Governor Beshear announced the expansion of the June 1 reopening guidance to include aquatic centers (excluding public pools), fishing tournaments and auto/dirt track racing. Additional guidance for barbershops, cosmetology, hair salons, tanning salons and tattoo parlors reopening is now available on Kentucky’s Healthy at Work website.

June 8 is the projected reopening for museums, outdoor attractions, aquariums, libraries and distilleries, June 11 is the projected opening of the Kentucky Horse Park, Kentucky State Park campgrounds and Otter Creek, and June 15 is the projected reopening for some child care and limited-contact youth sports.

May 17, 2020:

Governor Beshear announced that as part of the Healthy at Work initiative, the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet will reopen tourism and offer Kentuckians opportunities to explore the commonwealth through in-state travel.

The Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet will open Kentucky State resort parks, recreational parks, lodges and cabins to the public for normal business hours beginning June 1. Park guests will be required to follow social distancing and public health guidelines. Natural Bridge and Cumberland Falls State Resort Parks will also reopen on June 1.

As part of the state’s ongoing effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, the following Kentucky State Parks were designated to provide temporary housing for low acuity patients. These parks will not reopen at this time: (Barren River Lake State Resort Park is closed due to renovations)

  • Lake Cumberland State Resort Park;
  • Lake Barkley State Resort Park;
  • Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park; and
  • Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park.

The Kentucky Horse Park, Otter Creek and state park campgrounds will open on June 11 to self-contained campers and RVs in accordance with the Healthy at Work camping guidelines. Fishing tournaments may resume on June 1 with new guidelines.

The Salato Wildlife Education Center will open with limited capacity beginning June 1. Interactive exhibits will remain closed until further notice.

Beginning May 22, groups of 10 people or fewer may gather and the state’s travel ban will expire.

May 15, 2020:

Governor Beshear announced that beginning May 22, groups of 10 people or fewer may gather and that the state’s travel ban will also expire the same day.

May 13, 2020:

Today Phase 3 of Governor Beshear’s health care reopening begins allowing hospitals and care facilities to do non-emergency surgeries and procedures at 50% of their pre-COVID-19-era patient volume. Facilities will determine their own patient capacities starting May 27, as long as progress continues.

May 11, 2020:

Governor Beshear announced requirements to begin reopening houses of worship, manufacturing, construction, government offices and agencies, retail and funeral services. Government offices and agencies can open on May 18 and funeral homes and houses of worship can open on May 20.

May 8, 2020:

Governor Beshear announced the second phase of reopening Kentucky.

The new tentative dates for reopening are:

  • May 22 – Restaurants, with limited 33% capacity and outdoor seating
  • June 1 – Movie theaters, fitness centers
  • June 11 – Campgrounds, public and private
  • June 15 – Child care, with reduced capacity; and potentially low-touch and outdoor youth sports

All businesses should follow the 10 rules of staying healthy at work as well as industry-specific guidance, which will be issued as soon as possible.

The Governor added that Phase 3 is coming July 1 with bars, with limitations, and gatherings up to 50 people allowed.

May 7, 2020:

Governor Beshear issued a new executive order that continues to ban anyone with a positive or presumptively positive case of COVID-19 from entering Kentucky, except as ordered for medical treatment. It also keeps in place requirement of social distancing on public transportation, and requests that people travelling from out of state into Kentucky self-quarantine for 14 days, unless traveling for employment or other essential activities.

Health Care Phase 2 has begun with outpatient and ambulatory surgery and invasive procedures.

May 5, 2020:

Governor Beshear outlined Phase 1 of the Healthy at Work initiative. Starting May 11 with new minimum requirements, as well as industry specific requirement, the following businesses will be allowed to operate:

  • Manufacturing, distribution and supply chain businesses
  • Construction
  • Vehicle or vessel dealerships
  • Office-based businesses (at 50% pre-pandemic capacity)
  • Horse racing (no fans in attendance)
  • Pet care, grooming and boarding
  • Photography

Health Care Phase 2 will begin Wednesday, May 6, 2020 with outpatient and ambulatory surgery and invasive procedures resuming.

April 30, 2020:

Governor Beshear announced the state’s plan to gradually reopen business activities. The following business sectors are in line to tentatively restart:

  • May 11 – Manufacturing, construction, vehicle and vessel dealerships, professional services (at 50% of pre-outbreak capacity), horse racing (without spectators), pet grooming and boarding
  • May 20 – Retail, houses of worship
  • May 25 – Social gatherings of no more than 10 people, barbers, salons, cosmetology businesses and similar services

April 28, 2020:

Governor Beshear offered new details of part one of Kentucky’s Healthy at Work initiative on restarting the health care sector. He outlined a four-phase structure to gradually bring more health care services back online.

Today, under Phase 1, health care practitioners can resume non-urgent/emergent health care services, diagnostic radiology and lab services in:

  • Hospital outpatient settings;
  • Health care clinics and medical offices;
  • Physical therapy settings, chiropractic offices and optometrists;
  • Dental offices (but with enhanced aerosol protections)

Phase 2 is set to begin Wednesday, May 6. At that time, outpatient surgeries and other invasive procedures can resume, though hospital and care facilities will have to meet strict guidelines.

Phase 3 is scheduled to start Wednesday, May 13. Hospitals and care facilities can begin doing non-emergency surgeries and procedures at 50% of their pre-COVID-19-era patient volume.

Officials want the final stage, Phase 4, to being Wednesday, May 27. At that point, most of the restrictions on types of procedures and volume will be left to the facilities to determine.

April 27, 2020:

On April 27, the state began a phased, gradual reopening of services for non-urgent healthcare services, including diagnostic radiology and lab services for the following locations:

  • Healthcare clinics & medical offices
  • Physical therapy settings & chiropractic offices
  • Optometrists
  • Dental offices (with enhanced aerosol protections)

The eligible facilities must follow several state guidelines, including:

  • Maximize telehealth rather than in-person services.
  • Not allow visitors except when necessary in end-of-life situations, or for vulnerable populations or minors, and even then, visitations should be kept to a minimum.
  • Eliminate traditional waiting room or common seating areas and use non-traditional alternatives, for example, a parking lot “lobby.”
  • Maintain social distancing, keeping people at least six feet apart in all possible settings, and employ other steps to minimize direct contact between individuals within the health care setting.
  • Screen all health care workers, patients and others for temperature and COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival for shift or visit. Staff should be required to stay home if sick. Staff should plan for and ensure enhanced workplace sanitizing, enhanced hand hygiene compliance, and easily accessible hand sanitizer throughout the facility.
  • Procure necessary PPE via normal supply chains.
    • All health care providers and staff must wear surgical/procedural masks and gloves while in health care office/facility.
    • All patients and other persons in health care office/facility must:
      • Wear a surgical/procedural mask while in health care facility.
      • Wear either a surgical/procedural mask or cloth mask/face covering in all other health care settings.

April 24, 2020:

Governor Beshear announced that on Monday, April 27, the state will begin a phased, gradual reopening of services for non-urgent healthcare services, including diagnostic radiology and lab services for the following locations:

  • Healthcare clinics & medical offices

  • Physical therapy settings & chiropractic offices

  • Optometrists

  • Dental offices (with enhanced aerosol protections)

In all of the upcoming phases, the reopening plan emphasizes telehealth over in-person care in all cases, but healthcare facilities that reopen must follow these guidelines:

  • No visitors allowed except when necessary for end-of-life, vulnerable populations or minors and then only when essential.

  • Traditional waiting room facilities will be eliminated and non-traditional alternatives must be followed.

  • Six feet of social distance must be maintained at all times.

  • All healthcare workers and patients must be screened for high temperature and COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival to the premises.

  • A plan must be put into place for extra cleaning and sanitizing.

  • A plan for enhanced hand washing & sanitizing.

  • Each healthcare service must be able to supply proper amounts of PPE through normal supply methods.

All healthcare workers and patients must wear surgical or procedural masks while in all healthcare settings.

April 23, 2020:

Governor Beshear announced that he will start a phased restart of Kentucky’s economy on Monday, April 2, with the phased reopening of health care services. Governor Beshear is still working on an agreement and guidelines for the gradual reopening of many of Kentucky’s hospitals and health care services.

April 21, 2020:

Governor Beshear recommends schools remain closed to in-person instruction for the rest of the school year.

April 9, 2020:

Governor Beshear announced a new Executive Order limiting the number of people in stores that remain open, to only one adult per household.

April 3, 2020:

Governor Beshear expanded a recent order restricting travel to include people from out of the state coming into the commonwealth. Anyone from out of state has to follow the same travel restrictions as residents of Kentucky, which instructed residents of Kentucky not to travel into any other state expect for following reasons:

  • Required by employment;
  • To obtain groceries, medicine, or other necessary supplies;
  • To seek or obtain care by a licensed healthcare providers;
  • To provide care for the elderly, minors, dependents, person with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons; or
  • When required by court order.

April 1, 2020:

Governor Beshear issued an order on March 30 to instruct residents of Kentucky not to travel into any other state expect for following reasons:

  1. When required by employment;
  2. To obtain groceries, medicine, or other necessary supplies;
  3. To seek or obtain care by a licensed healthcare providers;
  4. To provide care for the elderly, minors, dependents, person with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons; or
  5. When required by court order.

March 26, 2020:

Governor Beshear’s Healthy at Home initiative goes into place today closing all non-essential businesses. Among businesses allowed to stay open are: grocery stores, drug stores, banks, hardware stores, agricultural operations, gas stations, media, businesses needed for transportation, logistics, shipping, delivery and pick-up, housing, building and construction, laundry, home-based care and services, professional services and hotels.

March 25, 2020:

On March 22, 2020 Governor Beshear announced a Healthy at Home initiative closing all non-life-sustaining retail businesses effective March 23, 2020. Life-sustaining businesses include grocery stores, hardware stores, health-care stores. Retail businesses that are not life-sustaining may continue delivery or curbside service. The order only affects retail businesses and does not mention other types of businesses, including healthcare operations, professional services, construction operations, or infrastructure.

March 20, 2020:

Fayette County, Laurel County, and Jefferson County halted evictions Friday after Gov. Andy Beshear said during a Thursday press conference that all evictions should temporarily halt as people are asked to stay home and away from crowds. Beshear said Thursday he had not issued an order stopping evictions but encouraged the courts and law enforcement to halt the practice temporarily. Fayette County Sheriffs' Departments confirmed to be complying.

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