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Posts tagged as “Kentucky Press News Service”

State temporarily halts wage garnishing for UK medical bills. It should be a permanent stop.

Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration says it has stopped a harmful and possibly unlawful practice of garnishing the wages of thousands of low-income Kentuckians with tardy medical bills from University of Kentucky HealthCare. Jill Midkiff, spokeswoman for the Finance and Administration Cabinet said that in mid-March, the Department of Revenue had released levies on wages accrued from debt at UK. A 2004 law expanded the revenue department’s collection powers, allowing UK HealthCare to use the department as a collection agency. Only, unlike collection agencies, Revenue does not have to get a court judgment to begin garnishing wages before property liens and other governmental maneuvers can be applied. The department also adds 25 percent as a collection fee. The practice should have been suspended two years ago, when it became the subject of two different lawsuits.…

Health departments go above, beyond

In the midst of the largest and most challenging global health pandemic of our time, it is not only fitting but also more important than ever that we recognize and thank the teams at health departments across our state. This week marks the 25th annual National Public Health Week, which is celebrated in the first full week of April each year. As we have witnessed over the last handful of weeks, health departments do much more than give flu shots and inspect restaurants.…

It’s important to maintain all COVID-19 precautions

What more could be done to combat the spread of the coronavirus? National health experts continue to warn that failure to observe containment actions in a consistent and serious manner could result in more cities and communities experiencing statistically similar levels of infection, illness and death as being seen in New York. On the other hand, implementation of more aggressive business and marketplace restrictions will further cripple our national economy, sending millions more to the unemployment line. The potential for dire consequences lay on both ends of the spectrum. Striking the right balance moves us more quickly through the bell curve of infection. Getting it wrong will increase illness and death rates.…

Kentucky will get $2.4 billion in federal COVID-19 relief. Here’s what it pays for.

The state of Kentucky should get $2.41 billion from the CARES Act coronavirus relief package that Congress passed last month, with the largest sum — $1.59 billion — going to state government to help it cover virus-related expenses through Dec. 30. Smaller sums will go to schools, universities, public transit, child care, housing and other areas, to help Kentuckians get through the pandemic. But Washington hasn’t released the funds yet, causing some grumbling from the nation’s governors. And at present, officials in Frankfort say they are still awaiting more explanation on how the money can be spent.…

Severe storms, high winds knock down barns, topple trees throughout Kentucky

Severe thunderstorms ripped through Kentucky Wednesday night into Thursday morning, leaving damaged homes and fallen trees around the state. Meteorologist Chris Bailey expected the storms, and said on Kentucky Weather that large hail, damaging winds and even tornadoes were possible. Bailey also said on Twitter that winds likely approached 60 to 65 mph as storms approached. The high winds left behind a lot of damage around the state. Photos from Grant County showed collapsed trees and houses ripped open. The Maysville area was also damaged, according to photos, as trees hit houses and a motorsports arena collapsed.…

Kentucky congressman says stimulus bill should be given time to work

Congressman Brett Guthrie said this week he supports funneling additional money into the program geared toward rescuing small businesses crippled by the coronavirus pandemic. But in a phone interview this week, Guthrie, a Bowling Green Republican, said the rest of the $2 trillion coronavirus bill should be given time to be implemented before Congress pursues another large aid bill. Congress has passed three aid packages since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered businesses and schools. The scope of the pandemic, which had infected 397,000 Americans and killed nearly 13,000 people nationwide as of Wednesday morning, prompted governors in multiple states, including Kentucky, to order residents to stay home under most circumstances.…

Federal loans can help businesses through pandemic

The late Tom Petty put it well in a rock song: the waiting is the hardest part. Especially when shut-down business owners are waiting to reopen, and potentially losing money as they do. Federal help is available for businesses enduring the coronavirus. The president of the Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation emphasized two potential outlets Wednesday. “One of them is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan,” Hagerman said during the daily city-county briefing on COVID-19. “It’s a two-page application. The original application was extensive.” The form can be found on the Small Business Administration website. Hagerman said it can be filled out in 10 minutes.…

Hopkins County COVID-19 count could reach ‘hundreds’

The fight against coronavirus in Hopkins County could wind up involving “well into the hundreds” of cases. Hopkins County Health Department Director Denise Beach used those words during a video conference meeting of the county health board. She noted the virus now affects two long-term care facilities. Meanwhile, a Madisonville car dealer at South Main and Broadway streets promoted a contest, offering a free car to the person who can predict when the pandemic will end. Shawn Cardwell didn’t have a standard for that date at first, but decided it will be based on the World Health Organization.…

Kentucky coronavirus updates: Money coming to Kentuckians who filed for unemployment

Kentucky saw its largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases Wednesday with 204 new cases for a total of 1,346 in the commonwealth. Eight new deaths were recorded as well, for a total of 73. Meanwhile, Baptist Health, which operates hospitals across Kentucky and Southern Indiana, including in Louisville, announced Thursday that it is “temporarily reassigning some staff, furloughing others and reducing pay for leaders.”…

‘We need it yesterday’: Kentucky nursing homes beg for support to fight coronavirus

Nursing homes that care for Kentucky’s most vulnerable residents are quickly becoming the next battleground in the state’s coronavirus outbreak — and some say they don’t have the weapons they need to fight it. Facilities statewide are running short on masks, gloves and gowns that help protect against the deadly virus. And many homes don’t have the tools or the authority to test residents for COVID-19 — including those who are coming from a hospital. “If you send someone into a skilled nursing facility and they’re COVID-19 positive, you’re pretty much guaranteeing people are going to die,” said Betsy Johnson, president of the Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities and Kentucky Center for Assisted Living.…

How plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients could be used to help the critically ill

Doctors in Kentuckyand Indiana are trying to use a treatment method that’s more than a century old to help patients with COVID-19, but to do that they need to find people who’ve recovered from the coronavirus and are able to donate blood plasma. The principle of using “convalescent plasma” donated by someone who has recovered from a disease dates back over 100 years, according to Dr. David Ryon, the director of the new COVID-19 convalescent plasma program at Deaconess Health System in Evansville, Indiana.…

30,000 tips flood hotline for KY coronavirus scofflaws. 18 companies closed so far.

Tens of thousands of people have called a tip line Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear set up on March 23 to let people turn in employers and neighbors who are violating the state’s orders to close “non-essential” businesses and cancel gatherings of all sizes to slow the spread of COVID-19. The result: 18 businesses have been cited since the Kentucky Labor Cabinet began issuing closure orders last Wednesday. Marjorie Arnold, the chief of staff for the Kentucky Labor Cabinet, said there have been 30,000 calls and online reports since the tip line opened. She said the number of actionable reports was “substantial.”…

‘A second pandemic.’ How Kentucky coal communities are bracing for financial crisis.

Some of the most financially-distressed local governments in Kentucky, particularly those in the state’s eastern coalfield, are bracing for large reductions in tax revenue that could jeopardize funding for a variety of essential services, including road maintenance, jails and senior centers. Local officials in several Eastern Kentucky counties said layoffs and business closures resulting from the spread of novel coronavirus could lead to a sudden decline in revenue from occupational taxes, which provide a substantial amount of funding for several county and city budgets. They warned that the expected drop in revenue could put several local governments — many of which are already walking a financial tightrope — in dire straits.…

8 more COVID-19 deaths in Kentucky as cases jump by 204. Retail further restricted.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced 204 new cases of the coronavirus in Kentucky Wednesday, the highest daily increase yet, bringing the statewide total to 1,346. He announced eight new deaths, upping the statewide death toll to at least 73. The Democratic governor also issued an executive order that restricts entrance into grocery stores or other life-essential retailers to one member of a household at a time, with some limited exceptions. He also said Kentucky has received federal funding that will allow the state to begin distributing an additional $600 per week for people receiving unemployment as early as tomorrow evening. A record number of Kentuckians have applied for unemployment as much of the state has shut down to avoid spreading the virus.…

Food banks seeing dramatic increase in distribution

Food banks in Oldham County are seeing drastic increases in use as people struggle to make ends meet amid the fallout from the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. HighPoint Charitable Services in La Grange distributed food for over 3,100 people last month alone, according to HighPoint Executive Director Amee D’Amico. Those 3,100 people signified an increase of nearly 75 percent from March 2019. D’Amico said last month the charity’s food pantry service added 77 new families from Oldham, Trimble, Henry and Carroll counties.…

Century Aluminum employee dies at Sebree smelter

One person is dead after an accident early Wednesday morning at the Century Aluminum Plant in Sebree. Sebree Plant Manager Levi Chaffin said, “We are heartbroken by this tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers go out to our colleague’s family. We have lost a valuable employee and friend, and this incident will have a lasting impact on all of us.” Investigations into the incident are underway and Century will continue to work with the relevant agencies, according to the company’s statement.…

Audubon State Park cabins designated to house first responders in COVID-19 isolation

Gov. Andy Beshear announced on Wednesday a plan to use cabins and cottages on state park grounds for housing first responders in isolation as a precaution against spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. This would appear to include the six units at Audubon State Park in Henderson. According to the park’s website at parks.ky.gov, the park has five one-bedroom cottages and one handicapped-accessible two-room cottage.…

Toyota extends production shutdown, releases 1,800 temp workers

The economic impact from the coronavirus continues to take its toll as Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky announced it will extend its production shutdown and release its entire variable or temporary workforce. TMMK, along with all Toyota manufacturing plants in North America, extended its shutdown to May 4. TMMK’s first production shutdown March 21 was originally scheduled for three days, but later extended to April 6, then extended to April 20 and now to May 4.…

Beshear restricts number of people in grocery stores; COVID-19 cases grow by 204

There are now 1,346 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky. With 204 new cases, this is the highest jump in confirmed cases in one day the state has seen thus far, Gov. Andy Beshear said during his daily press conference on Wednesday. In new steps to enforce social distancing, Beshear issued an executive order allowing just one person per household in essential businesses, such as grocery stores, at a time.…

Fort Knox soldier talks experience on ‘The Voice,’ what’s next

For soldier and singer Samuel Wilco, faith is the thread throughout his entire life. In fact, it’s in his last name. “I think even when I look back at it … he’s been directing my path the whole time,” Wilco said about God. Sam’s actual last name is Woodberry. Wilco is an Army term which means “will comply.” He said he adopted this stage name because it is his answer to God’s call to do something great with his voice. After making it through the blind audition of the NBC television show “The Voice,” the Fort Knox soldier was derailed in the battle round, which aired Monday night.…