A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

NKY has 19 new COVID cases, state has 113 cases, 9 deaths; Beshear reports on unemployment, parks

As of Thursday afternoon, the NKY Health Department reported 19 new cases of COVID-19 in Northern Kentucky, for 1,183 total cases. There have been 547 cases in Kenton County, 159 cases in Campbell County, 435 cases in Boone County and 42 cases in Grant County. There have been 65 total deaths related to COVID-19. Five hundred ninety-two (592) individuals have recovered.

In his daily briefing, Gov. Andy Beshear reported 113 cases and nine deaths, raising state totals to 9,184 cases and 409 deaths. At least 3,181 Kentuckians have recovered.

“We have to recognize the toll that this virus has taken and the rolls that it’s going to take until we get to that vaccine,” Beshear said. “We have to honor these families by committing to reduce the loss going forward.”

Unemployment insurance

Deputy Secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Josh Benton announced that more than 15,000 March and April pending claims were processed this week. “We are putting our most seasoned staff on the most difficult claims,” Benton said.

He also explained what it means when a claim is “under investigation.”

“That simply means that there’s something missing or a piece of information that is inaccurate that has to be investigated and reviewed in their claim before a determination can be made,” said Deputy Secretary Benton.

Finally, he updated Kentuckians on a security incident that took place in the unemployment insurance system and the actions taken to address it.

A potential vulnerability in the online Unemployment Insurance Portal was reported to the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet’s Office of Technology Services (OTS) on April 23, 2020, at 9:17 a.m.

According to the report, some Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants could have been able to view the identity verification documents uploaded by other UI claimants. To date, no reports of identity theft or financial harm have been received.

“OTS prevented any further incidents by taking the UI Portal completely offline at 11:30 a.m. By noon, OTS had changed the system to ensure no one was able to view any uploaded documents,” said Benton. “By midnight, the security team had patched the software to correct the problem permanently.”

While the Governor’s Office of General Counsel has been told the breach has been corrected, Beshear is concerned with the situation and asked the Transportation Cabinet inspector general – who is independent from the Education Cabinet – to conduct a full review. Beshear is also reorganizing the office, which will soon be under the Labor Cabinet, and bringing in new leadership.

“It is time for better results,” the Governor said.

Kentucky Kingdom

Beshear announced Kentucky Kingdom will reopen June 29 with extensive precautions in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Based on talks we’ve had over the last several days, we can announce that Kentucky Kingdom will be able to open the week of June 29,” said Beshear. “We appreciate the operators of the park for working on the reopening plan.”

To see the state’s full reopening timeline and industry-specific guidance, visit healthyatwork.ky.gov.

Public pools

Beshear announced that he is hopeful the state will be able to open a limited number of public pools the week of June 29 with extensive precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

He emphasized that local leaders may choose to keep pools closed based on their assessment of whether or not safety requirements can be met.

“That does not mean that a city will or will not open pools. There is a huge hit on budgets, and even states that have allowed it cities have not done it,” said Beshear. “I ask you to trust in your local leaders on how they choose to do that.”

Kentucky State Parks

Beshear announced that the state will reopen the four Kentucky State Park lodges on June 8 that were previously designated to provide temporary housing for low acuity COVID-19 patients.

Buckhorn State Park

The four parks are:

Lake Cumberland State Resort Park;
Lake Barkley State Resort Park;
Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park; and
Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park.

“Thanks to where we are, we are now going to be able to add every state park to our reopening,” said Beshear.

As the state continues to see a decline in cases, officials have determined that state park lodging is no longer necessary for future COVID-19 response efforts. Safely reopening the parks will create more in-state tourism opportunities for Kentuckians to enjoy and will help local economies rebound.

Lake Cumberland State Resort Park will open with limited occupancy as a result of ongoing construction renovations. To make reservations at one of our parks, visit parks.ky.gov.

The Governor also announced that in partnership with Fayette County Public Schools, the Kentucky Horse Park will host a Senior Send-Off on May 28 and 29. Each night will feature different schools with teachers and administrators along the 3-mile Southern Lights route.

“People are making these celebrations really special for our graduates,” said Beshear. “I know they’re different and I know there’s sacrifice, but I think students will carry these experiences with them for their entire lives.”

The Kentucky Horse Park will reopen on June 11, and host its first competitive horse show event without spectators from June 17 to June 21.

For more information on the commonwealth’s full reopening schedule, visit healthyatwork.ky.gov.

Movie theaters opening

Movie theaters are among the list of businesses set to reopen in Kentucky on June 1. According to District Director of Health, Lynne Saddler, MD, MPH, “As much as we would all like for things to return to normal, as long as COVID-19 continues to spread, things will not be normal. Each and every one of us needs to take preventative steps in all areas of our lives in order to prevent getting sick and prevent others from getting sick.”

If you are thinking about going to movies soon, it is critical that you do the following to reduce the risk of COVID-19:

• Do not go out if you are sick. 

• Wash your hands often. 

• Movie theaters are limiting the number of patrons to 33% of occupational capacity of the facility. If a 
place looks crowded, leave and come back later. 

• Maintain six feet of distance from others at all times. 

• Wear a cloth face covering. 

• Some movie theaters may have additional practices in place, such as online-only ticket sales and 
assigned seating. Call ahead or go online before heading out.

For additional details on COVID-19 cases in Northern Kentucky, click here.

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