Governor Beshear to recommend $400 million COVID bonus for essential workers
Governor Beshear said several trends right now regarding coronavirus across Kentucky are promising. One of those is the positivity rate for COVID-19. The governor reported a 9.3% positivity rate Monday and said it’s been falling every single day. Still, Beshear said, it’s important cases continue to fall consistently. “We not only want the cases to drop, we want them to drop at a significant rate week to week. We want to make sure that we don’t have one drop and a plateau. But, right now, everything we’re seeing suggests falling numbers of cases,” said Beshear.
Beshear said in the next week or so he’ll be recommending using $400 million in federal American Rescue money to reward essential workers. The extra money would go to those in health care plus other professions as well. The governor will ask the legislature to approve such a program in the 2022 session. Beshear said he hopes lawmakers will participate in developing the framework for bonuses. Eligibility would be based on COVID related work for two years.
Governor Beshear said he’s proud of Kentuckians' response when it comes to coronavirus vaccinations. While stressing additional injections are needed, Beshear Monday reported the Commonwealth’s vaccination rate is higher than several surrounding states.
One of the lower vaccinations rates in Kentucky is seen in the 18-to-24 age group with 52% coverage. Beshear said staging popular large scale events can provide incentives for those in this group to get vaccinated. “Those are some of the things I think we need to look at here, maybe even putting on things for that group. This is a group that, man, at this age, you really want to socialize. You don’t really want to social distance. So, if we can create opportunities where people are or have to be vaccinated, and then can do that,” explained Beshear.
Beshear noted hospitalization numbers have fallen 15% over the past week. But, he added, 62 out of 96 Kentucky hospitals are still facing critical staffing shortages.