Health

Gov. Andy Beshear is moving up the date that people will be allowed to travel and gather in groups of 10 or fewer to Friday, May 22. That’s three days sooner than his original plan to lift the restrictions on Memorial Day, May 25. Beshear said he has decided to accommodate the holiday weekend.

“I’ve got to live in the real world like everyone else,” Beshear said during his daily news briefing Thursday. “I understand what people are going to want to do, and my job is to get the best results.”

The governor has released new guidelines for gathering in groups of 10 or fewer. He’s asking people who come together to use social distancing, wear masks, and not share food or beverages.

People who are high risk for having complications due to COVID-19 should not attend these gatherings, Beshear said. That includes people over 60, and people with certain underlying health conditions.

“I trust that we can do this right, that we can do this safely. And I’d rather get out there with some good guidance and rules if a number of people are going to do this anyways,” he said.

State Gets $43 Million More In Federal Aid

Beshear announced the state will receive an additional $43.7 million in CARES funding from the federal government based on an application. Beshear said $30 million will go to K12 schools.

“It’s going to help with NTI (nontraditional instruction), and a lot of the costs that they had there. It’s going to prepare us to be able to do that better in the future,” Beshear said.

The remaining funds will go to the Kentucky Council on Post-Secondary Education.

State Offers Up To $1,000 Per Household

Kentuckians who have been impacted financially by the coronavirus pandemic will be able to apply for up to $1,000 in support from the Team Kentucky Fund, beginning Friday at 8 a.m. at teamkyfund.ky.gov. The site is scheduled to go live on Friday, May 15 at 8 a.m., officials said.

Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman said Kentuckians are eligible if they have seen a loss of employment or 50% reduction in income due to the pandemic. That can be reduced wages or hours. Assistance will be provided in the form of vouchers for rent, mortgage payments, utilities and groceries.

Financial assistance also comes with long-term services through Community Action Kentucky, including job help, transportation, help finding housing, lowering energy costs, early childhood education, and other services.

You can make a tax-deductible donation to the Team Kentucky fund at donate.ky.gov.

Green River Correctional

Justice and Public Safety Secretary J. Michael Brown said the state has made progress in containing the outbreak of COVID-19 at the Green River Correctional Facility.

“The situation is encouraging, actually,” Brown said.

The department of corrections has separated inmates into different housing units: one for inmates who have tested positive, one for inmates who tested negative and exposed, one for those who tested negative and were not exposed, and one for inmates who are vulnerable to the virus.

“That’s a big stabilization, and in fact that’s reflected in our numbers,” he said.

The housing changes were made after 356 inmates and 50 staff tested positive at the facility. Two inmates have died. Brown said many staff and inmates have recovered. But two inmates and two staff remain hospitalized.

Brown said no other positive tests have been reported in any other state-run prison facility.

Meanwhile the governor announced 199 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and two more deaths, both residents in a long-term care facility.

A total of 328 Kentuckians have died of the disease. The state is reporting 7,225 positive cases of COVID-19; 2,712 people have recovered.

More than 121,000 people have been tested, Beshear said. He said the state now has the capacity to exceed the guidelines put out by the White House for safe reopening, but not enough people are signing up to get tested.

Jess Clark is WFPL's Education and Learning Reporter.