Health

Gov. Andy Beshear told Kentuckians not to get too excited about the low number of new COVID-19 cases Tuesday.

He reported 273 new cases of the coronavirus during his media briefing, bringing the state’s total to approximately 53,319. Beshear said Tuesday’s update is likely low because labs were closed for the Labor Day holiday.

“I would get ready to have very large numbers on both cases and likely deaths the next couple days if not the next four or five days,” he said. “It’s something we ought to be prepared for. That is both the result for where we are right now as a commonwealth, but also just the impact of Labor Day weekend.”

The governor added that those positive results came from a small sample size, just 1,393 tests. 

Beshear reported a 3.91% positivity rate and 1 new death from the virus. 

Eviction Relief

During the briefing, Beshear also discussed the new “Healthy at Home” Eviction Relief Fund website, which launched Tuesday and is already taking applications. Funded with $15 million in federal CARES Act money, he said this fund will be “a chance to try to make sure that we are not continuing to fall behind in this epidemic, but we’re getting everybody to a place where we can emerge healthy and successful.”

The fund is intended to make sure tenants can stay in their homes, he said.

Beshear announced the fund last month, and stressed that people losing their homes during a pandemic is dangerous, pointing toward the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent ban on evictions nationwide through the end of the year. 

Landlords who are eligible can get reimbursed for rent payments that were missed, as well as receive funds to cover future rent payments. Tenants could have up to 90% of late rent payments paid for, as well as up to two months of future rent payments.

Tenants and landlords must submit separate applications “in order to be placed in line for payment,” Beshear said, and overdue rent “can be retrospectively calculated to March 1.”

Beshear said he’s confident they’re ready for a flood of applications for the program, following challenges with processing the influx of unemployment insurance claims, as he anticipates some “extra help down the road” from the Kentucky Housing Corporation

“They are setting up a much larger administrative group to handle those claims as they come,” he said. “We felt it was important to get the site up early… they are planning and budgeting for a significant number of applications.”

He reminded Kentuckians that this will be a separate application than other COVID relief programs. 

Louisville’s Incoming Interim Police Chief

Asked to share his thoughts on the city naming Yvette Gentry as Louisville Metro Police’s next interim police chief, Beshear said it “was just a good move.”

While he hasn’t spoken with her since the news, the governor said they’ve had conversations in the past and he believes she’ll do a solid job.

“She is someone with a significant career in law enforcement, is someone that has been a great leader and administrator, and everything that she has done I believe has been successful,” he said. “She’s smart, incredibly strong, will tell you exactly what she thinks, and I think that is important.”

He hopes, in this role, Gentry will be able to get people with different perspectives in the same room to talk. 

Stephanie Wolf is WFPL's Arts Reporter.