Kentucky now has 63 total positive cases of the coronavirus, said Gov. Andy Beshear, who wants to extend the ban on in-person school classes.
During his Friday afternoon update on the coronavirus, or COVID-19 as the disease has been called by the World Health Organization, the Governor said the new cases were in Henderson, Jefferson, Warren, Pulaski, Calloway and Fayette counties.
While demographics for all of them were not available, he said one of the cases involved a 17-year-old female, that brought Jefferson County’s total to 25. The other cases are in Oldham, Anderson, Calloway, Hardin, Henderson, Fayette and Warren counties.
Every day, Beshear announces new actions being taken to combat the spread of the disease, and Friday was no exception.
“We have asked our superintendents to continue their ban on in-person classes until at least April 20,” he said. “That adds a couple weeks on to what we previously asked, but again, it’s necessary and we believe it’s better to let you parents and others know ahead of time that we are going to need to extend this.”
The tax filing deadline has been extended, Beshear said. “Since the feds were nice enough to move it on their end, we are happy to oblige. We are moving it along with the federal government to July 15.”
He says the state has put out a call to Kentuckians to help collect industrial-grade respirators. “Those are going to help us as we want to move toward the type of mobile testing, where we hope in the future that everybody can get a test when they want it.”
The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce put out a call and many have responded, according to Beshear. “Toyota, I believe, is donating over 1,000 of these respirators. We need more.”
He said the more they get, the faster the state will be able to move to the large-scale testing they want.
One rumor Beshear said he wanted to quash was the use of Kentucky National Guard troops. “No, the National Guard is not coming out to encircle your neighborhood or community. When and if we use the National Guard, it’s going to be to help people. It’s going to be to help our medical facilities. It’s going to be to help distribute things. They are already helping us in a couple ways.”
Beshear was asked if a church that holds drive-in services at a drive-in movie theater violates his ban on public gatherings. He replied, “I believe this is a creative solution, as long as there is social distancing between those cars. We want to see creativity, we want to see ways we can connect.”
One question emailed to him, “Do we as taxpayers have a way to refuse our Kentucky State Income Tax refunds?” caused the governor to react emotionally.
“That’s an incredible question,” he said. “It’s about knowing that they can donate to charity, but can they allow us to keep it for our efforts to fight the coronavirus? That’s really incredible. Let me get an answer to that.”
Beshear also reiterated that the state’s special website has up to the information on restrictions and guidance both on the state level and with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That web address is http://kycovid19.ky.gov/.
Those without internet access or who may need more information and guidance can call their hotline at (800) 722-5725.
Small Business gets some help with low-interest loan
In a new development Friday evening, Third District Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration will now be offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses across the state who have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus.
“It’s absolutely vital that our local small businesses have the resources they need to take care of their workers and survive this crisis,” said Yarmuth. “The SBA worked swiftly to approve this request and make funds available to small businesses here in Louisville and throughout our Commonwealth. I’ll continue to do my part to ensure that the federal government is doing everything possible to keep Louisvillians safe, quickly flatten the curve, and minimize long-term consequences to our community, public health, and economy.”
SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance per small business and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years.