LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — For the first time in a while, Governor Andy Beshear is feeling pretty optimistic about where we are headed with COVID-19 in Kentucky.
“After getting through Delta, a very deadly surge and Omicron, a very contagious surge, we are seeing every metric drop every day,” Gov. Beshear said during a visit to Lexington on Tuesday.
Gov. Beshear also thanked city leaders for their help in responding to the pandemic and further recovery efforts.
“This city, all of its leaders, have been phenomenal partners, I mean it, in the battle against COVID,” said Gov. Beshear before handing over a check for $11.7 million to the mayor. The money will be used, in large part, to continue funding the Housing Stabilization program. It helps renters and homeowners avoid eviction or foreclosure due to pandemic-related consequences.
“Housing is everything. Housing is healthcare. Housing is tied to better educational outcomes for children. And it’s necessary for economic development,” said Charlie Lanter, the city’s first Housing Advocacy and Community Commissioner.
The money is part of what remains from the federal government’s 2.2 trillion dollar CARES Act, which passed through Congress nearly two years ago.
“Lexington and Louisville both did a great job utilizing that money where it was needed most,” Gov. Beshear stated, before explaining how the state’s share of those federal dollars was originally split into three pots; one for Lexington, one for Louisville, and then the rest of the state.
The governor discussed the COVID-19 memorial that will be erected on the grounds at the state capitol. He also hinted at an annual statewide day of remembrance.
“COVID was more deadly than any three wars combined for Kentuckians. March 6 would certainly be the day to do it,” the governor explained, as March 6 of 2020 was Kentucky’s first day with a positive coronavirus patient.
“We hope by March 6 of next year we’ll be recognizing it at that new memorial,” Gov. Beshear added.
Lexington’s first known case came two days later, March 8 of 2020. The battle is still ongoing, and exactly two years later, nearly $12 million of assistance was given to help the state’s second-largest city fight back.