COVID-19 cases taking plunge in Kentucky

Published 8:45 am Tuesday, February 8, 2022

For the second week in a row, Kentucky has seen a sharp drop in the number of new cases of COVID-19 reported to state public health officials, Gov. Andy Beshear said during a State Capitol press conference Monday afternoon.

He admitted last week’s ice storm and resulting closings may have been a factor in the decline, “But regardless, we are now definitely moving in the right direction. We are really excited about the trajectory of cases, but remember, this is still the fifth highest week in our entire COVID experience. There is still a whole lot of virus out there.”

Beshear reported Monday’s positivity rate was 23.51%. “Still really high, but significantly down from when we crossed 33%. So, decreasing about ten percentage points on the positivity side, in the last two weeks.”

He also noted the state is starting to see a real downward trend in hospitalizations due to the omicron variant, by 11% over the past seven days. “We almost reached the hospitalization levels we had with delta, but it does look like we are declining. We are not moving as quickly as with case numbers, as is to be expected, since it typically lags by a certain period. The vast majority of these hospitalizations are unvaccinated Kentuckians.”

The governor also announced a new program Monday that can help homeowners impacted by the pandemic rebound and avoid foreclosure, similar to one that became available to renters last year, which has distributed $107.3 million so far for housing and utility costs, and still has over $97 million available.

“Thanks to $85.4 million of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds,” he said, “we have launched the Team Kentucky Homeowner Assistance Fund. Qualified homeowners can visit our website to apply for up to $35,000 in assistance to help with delinquent mortgage payments, property taxes, homeowners and/or flood insurance, homeowner association fees and utility costs.”

He says those who are approved will have the funds sent directly to the entities to whom the money is owed. “We’re thankful for these federal funds that finally came through with the guidance we need. We want to get these dollars out to homeowners who previously did not qualify for what we had at the time for renters.”

To find out more information on the program, homeowner eligibility, required documentation, and how to apply, go to https://teamkyhaf.ky.gov/.