news 5 days ago

Kentucky COVID-19 cases plateaued

The Times-Tribune, Corbin, Ky. — Jennifer K. Perkins The Times-Tribune, Corbin, Ky.

May 23-- May 23--FRANKFORT -- "We now think that we have not just plateaued, but we are actually in a decline on overall number of cases," said Gov. Andy Beshear during his daily update on Friday.

Beshear reported 141 new cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky. The total number of reported cases was 8,426 with 121 of those cases being probable. There were five deaths reported across the state.

No new cases were reported in Knox, Laurel or Whitley counties. 3,069 people have recovered from the virus in Kentucky.

Secretary of State Michael Adams announced the four ways Kentuckians will be able to vote in the June 23 elections during the daily update. Individuals will be able to vote in person on election day, vote early at their county clerk's office, vote by absentee ballot by mail or by dropping their absentee ballot off at their county clerk's office.

Executive Director of the Kentucky Board of Elections Jared Dearing said, "Over the coming weeks, it is going to be important that everyone has an opportunity to make a plan of how you will vote."

To register to vote or check current voter status, individuals are encouraged to visit govoteky.com. People can also request a ballot directly on the website.

Adams assured Kentuckians that the voting process would be safe, saying it was "easy to vote, but hard to cheat."

Voters will be required to apply for their ballot, sign their applications and the envelope in which they return the ballot so that the signatures can be compared for fraud, a system using barcodes will be in place to track ballots, and addresses sending large quantities of ballots will be checked to ensure the number is legitimate.

Josh Benton, the department secretary for education and workforce development, gave an update about unemployment for the state.

Benton said there were approximately 14,000 claims from March and 38,000 claims from April that are still waiting to be adjudicated. The department is trying to hire more adjudicators to help process those claims.

Because stores and businesses are beginning to reopen, the state has added new features to its website that will allow employers to submit 'return to work dates' for their employees. On those dates, employees will stop receiving benefits. Individuals who have returned to work, but are working limited hours could potentially qualify for reduced unemployment benefits, said Benton.

As of Sunday, no more automatic payments will be issued for unemployment. Individuals will have to request the biweekly benefits.

Memorial Day will be treated similarly to a Sunday, Benton said. Individuals will still be able to file a claim and request payments.

The Capitol Building will reopen May 27 to small groups of 10 or less. This will be by application only. Visitors will be encouraged to wear masks though they will not be required, said La Tasha Buckner, general counsel and chief of staff for the governor.

A small, private funeral will be held Monday in the Capitol rotunda for Phyllis George, a former first lady of Kentucky. Beshear said the funeral will be about 40 people, but will be streamed live for the public.

Bowling alleys, auto racing, dirt track racing and fitness centers will reopen June 1. Youth sports will reopen on June 15.

The Kentucky Governor's Scholars Program will take place this summer with the adjustments for students to attend one week with significantly fewer students as opposed to the regular five-week program.

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