Health Ohio Valley ReSource

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said in his Tuesday briefing on coronavirus that state officials are still waiting to see how bad the post-holiday surge of new cases will be — even as the state reported 3,053 new cases. 

The state’s rate of positive tests for the virus rose above 12%.

“It’s higher than the last couple weeks, so we’re trying to determine where these numbers are going,” Beshear said. He said he suspects the surge is related to holiday gatherings, but added that White House information indicates Kentucky is in a plateau of new infections. 

 “Hopefully we’ll see a leveling off, but only the data over the next week is going to let us know,” Beshear said.

Tuesday’s cases were the fourth-highest number for a Tuesday since the onset of the pandemic. Beshear also announced 22 additional deaths due to COVID-19.

Beshear also said he has signed an executive order intended to address immediate needs of people in the state who have lost their jobs due to the economic effects of the pandemic. The Unemployment One-Time Relief Payment Program will provide up to $48 million for supplemental payments to people filing for unemployment insurance. The state has struggled with backlogs in processing those claims.

“We want to help these people until we can get to their claims,” he said.

Beshear used part of the briefing to respond to the state legislature’s action regarding a petition seeking his impeachment. Beshear said the petition originated from people who had earlier been involved in “extremist rallies” that included threatening comments and hanging the governor in effigy.  

Kentucky’s House of Representatives moved forward Monday with a committee on the impeachment petition.

Jeff Young is managing editor of the Ohio Valley ReSource, a journalism collaboration led by Louisville Public Media.