Governor, state officials also update Kentuckians on emergency response to record flooding
FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 4, 2021) – On Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced 157 new vaccination sites, including one new regional site at Baptist Health LaGrange, bringing the state’s total number of vaccination locations to 567.
“This means that vaccine locations are getting closer and closer to you. This is the infrastructure we have to build,” said Gov. Beshear. “The President told us earlier this week that every American adult who wants a shot can get their shot of hope by the end of May. That means that if we can get everybody interested, we’re going to vaccinate another 2.5 million people in the next three months.”
New locations also include 10 Kroger sites, 10 Walmart sites and 136 independent pharmacies. To see lists of all sites, organized by program and provider brand, visit vaccine.ky.gov or kycovid19.ky.gov/ky-covid-vaccine.
As of 4 p.m. Thursday, March 4, Gov. Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:
New cases today: 1,068
New deaths today: 28
Positivity rate: 4.45%
Total deaths: 4,732
Currently hospitalized: 645
Currently in ICU: 172
Currently on ventilator: 91
Top counties with the most positive cases today are: Jefferson, Lyon, Fayette, Boone and Caldwell. Each county reported at least 45 new cases.
To see a list of those reported lost to the virus today, click here.
Today’s positivity rate is the lowest since Oct. 12.
Kentucky’s COVID-19 Vaccine Website, vaccine.ky.gov, shows Kentuckians which phase they are in specifically. Individuals can sign up for notifications so state officials can communicate with them when doses become available at new and existing sites. Vaccine.ky.gov also lists regional vaccination partners statewide, so Kentuckians can search their county or region and see how to schedule an appointment.
Kentucky’s COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline, 855-598-2246, has the same features as the website. Kentuckians can get assistance completing the vaccine eligibility questionnaire and scheduling an appointment when doses are available.
Free or reduced-cost transportation to and from vaccine appointments is offered by public transit agencies across the commonwealth. These services are already operating in over 90 counties, covering 75% of all counties across Kentucky. Kentuckians can find transportation services near them by heading to kycovid19.ky.gov for a full list of participating public transit agencies and their phone numbers, or by calling the Kentucky COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline.
Kentucky Division of Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett updated Kentuckians on the response to major floods across the commonwealth.
Twenty cities and 44 counties have declared a state of emergency. Over 194 county roads closed due to flooding. Three counties have reported power outages: Breathitt, Jackson and Owsley. Lee and Owsley counties each have one shelter open; Breathitt County has two.
“Fortunately, no fatalities have been reported due to flooding this week,” said Director Dossett. “But the damage is significant. Lee County’s downtown business district was submerged in approximately six feet of water. Several manufactured homes as well as single family dwellings have been destroyed. Lee County Courthouse has suffered a major loss and other state and local government offices have been impacted. In Breathitt County, there was 5.48 inches of total rainfall, and some residents are still blocked in by water. We are still monitoring the breach at the dam that sits under Kentucky Highway 15 in Jackson and connects to Panbowl Lake, but the sand bag patch is holding, and Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, Division of Water Dam Inspector, Marilyn Thomas, has declared the dam is safe.”
“I just want people across Kentucky to know you’re not forgotten – we’re here every step of the way to try to bring relief to this devastation that’s happened to you and your communities, your homes and personal property, and to try to do everything we can to help with that recovery as we move forward,” said Rocky Adkins, senior advisor to Gov. Beshear.
Adkins added the state would be requesting two federal disaster declarations: one for ice storm damage and one for flooding damage.
“For you homeowners and those of you who have had personal property damage, as well as road crews and local leaders – document the damage, take pictures,” said Adkins. “Make sure that’s part of our information we send into Washington D.C. for those declarations. We need a full application that will go in for approval to come back and bring relief to our people who are hurting so bad.”
Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer Update
Today, Gov. Beshear updated Kentuckians on the Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, which helps ensure Kentucky’s kids do not miss meals during virtual learning that would have been provided to them if their school was open in-person.
“We are so pleased to announce the launch of Round Three of Pandemic Electronic Benefits assistance, which applies to the time period from October through the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year,” said Gov. Beshear. “Our expert family support team estimates we will have a total monthly issuance of almost $74 million to Kentucky families, and a total program issuance – that covers the entire eight-month academic year – of $590 million. The dollar figures don’t mean as much to us as knowing the thousands of school children who will get access to nutritious meals through this funding.”
P-EBT is approved for both public and private school students who receive free or reduced price meals through the National School Lunch Program and who were are unable to attend school in-person due to COVID-19 school closures since October. Eligible students and families don’t have to do anything – approval is automatic. There is no application process. P-EBT for October 2020 and beyond will be added to existing cards.
If the student currently receives food benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), P-EBT benefits will be added to the head-of-household’s EBT card.
- If the student does not receive SNAP, P-EBT will be added to the cards that were previously issued (fall 2020) in each student’s name.
- If an individual no longer has the card and their address has not changed, they should call 1-888-979-9949 to request a replacement card.
- If their address has changed, they should call the Department of Community Based Services (DCBS) at 1-855-306-8959 to report the change and request a new card.
An eligible student will receive the equivalent of 20 days’ benefits – that equals $136.40 – if his or her school district exclusively operated a virtual-only learning model for all students in a given month. An eligible student whose school district operated a combination of in-person and virtual learning environment – also called “hybrid” learning – in a given month will receive the equivalent of 12 days’ benefits – which equals $81.84. Individuals should expect to receive the first issuance of P-EBT the week of March 15.
Some families may have mistakenly received P-EBT cards during the last round of stimulus. Individuals are not obligated to use them if they do not want to or if they know their child does not qualify. If you do not want to receive P-EBT, call DCBS at 1-855-306-8959 to opt out.
Unemployment Insurance Update
Today, Amy Cubbage, general counsel for Gov. Beshear, updated Kentuckians on a new call center and tips for combatting fraud and verifying identification in the unemployment insurance (UI) system.
New Call Center Opening in April
“Due to some additional federal funding we’ve been able to procure, we will be opening a new call center in April. We are currently hiring for that call center and as soon as those people are trained and we have everything in place, that will significantly increase our call capacity,” said Cubbage. “This is just one of the ways we’re trying to give you a better experience. Soon, our new user interface we’ve been working on will be rolled out, and this will hopefully get us through to the point where we can rebuild the entire system.”
Reset Four Digit PIN to Combat Fraud
“In an effort to combat fraud against your UI account, we are recommending a change to your four digit PIN if it resembles any personal information about you such as your house number, birth year, last four of your social security number or phone number,” said Cubbage.
Also, avoid simple number sequences like 1234, 9999, 5678, etc.
New Partnership with Nationally Renowned Company for ID Verification
“ID.me is a federally certified identity verification provider that specializes in digital identity protection,” said Cubbage. “They are the only provider to offer a video chat option for citizens that may need additional assistance.”
More than 36 million people use ID.me to manage their digital identity. ID.me also partners with many federal government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, and Department of the Treasury.
Many other states have partnered with ID.me to prevent unemployment benefits fraud; states with almost 70% of the country’s population are now using ID.me to verify for unemployment benefits.
Claimants are directed to a specific website where they can complete the process of creating an ID.me account and verifying their identity. If they do not receive an email from Kentucky’s Office of Unemployment Insurance (OUI) with the link to the page, they do not need to verify their identity.
Fraud Form and Webpage Updated
OUI has updated its fraud form on the Kentucky Career Center website so that people who believe their identity has been stolen can report it.
“This form allows us to capture all the necessary information our staff needs to review the claim and stop any benefits from going out,” said Cubbage. “After staff have reviewed the information, they will communicate to the person who submitted the form. If you have sent an email to our fraud box before today we do not need you to fill out the form again and we are processing the messages as soon as we can in the order they are received.”
Executive Order on Pharmaceuticals
Today, the Governor extended an executive order on pharmaceuticals that allows all Kentucky pharmacists to dispense emergency 30-day refills on medications.
To view the full daily report, incidence rate map, information on testing locations, vaccines, contact tracing, school reports and guidance, guidance for health care providers and the White House Coronavirus Task Force reports for Kentucky and more, visit kycovid19.ky.gov.