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Gov. Beshear Provides Update on Storm Response, COVID-19

Crystal Staley or Scottie Ellis
https://governor.ky.gov
Office of the Governor
700 Capitol Avenue
Frankfort, KY  40601

Gov. Beshear Provides Update on Storm Response, COVID-19

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 27, 2021) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on his administration’s response the Dec. 10 tornadoes and COVID-19.

“We are here for the long haul,” said Gov. Beshear. “Rebuilding these homes and structures and lives is going to take years, and we’ve got to make sure that when support is needed down the road, we have it and can deploy it quickly to help these families.”

New Tornado-Related Death Reported
The Governor announced Monday that another death has been confirmed – that of an infant from Graves County. The death toll related to the tornadoes is now 77.

“Britainy and I ask everyone to join us in lifting up this family and their friends and community in prayer,” said Gov. Beshear.

Amendment to Emergency Declaration
Marion County has been added to the disaster declaration for individual assistance and public assistance, bringing the total to 16 counties. This means that residents in Marion County can now apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance.

Federal Resources and Available Assistance for Families Impacted by Tornadoes
The Governor said he has seen significant progress getting those who have been impacted registered for assistance. Already, there are more than 11,400 validated registrants with over $4.7 million approved.

Again, to apply for FEMA assistance:

FEMA is currently operating nine mobile registration centers in the following counties: Christian, Graves, Hart, Hickman, Hopkins, Logan, Lyon, Muhlenberg and Ohio.

Three additional Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) have opened, bringing the total to seven. The three new locations are in Fulton, Marshall and Graves counties. These are in addition to the mobile registration centers:

  • Gibson Electric Membership Corp., 1702 Moscow Avenue, Hickman, KY 42050
  • Joe Creason Community Center, 1600 Park Avenue, Benton, KY 42025
  • Graves County Library, 601 N. 17th Street, Mayfield, KY 42066

Kentuckians who have homeowners or renters insurance must first file a claim with their insurance agency.

Debris Removal
Debris management and removal remains a key priority.

“We’re working diligently with our federal partners to remove debris from our neighborhoods, roads and highways as quickly and safely as possible,” said Gov. Beshear.

Counties have identified, and continue to identify, approved locations for debris to be taken. County and city leaders are working to ensure program understanding and compliance while at the same time securing contracts to remove and monitor debris.

Kentucky State Parks Update
Kentucky State Parks are providing housing and food services for 606 displaced Kentuckians and 154 first responders.

Currently, there are 208 state park rooms occupied by displaced Kentuckians and 81 rooms have been provided for first responders.

Assistance for Dislocated Workers
Residents who have temporarily or permanently lost their jobs because of the tornadoes that swept through Kentucky are eligible to receive disaster relief assistance.

The U.S. Labor Department has approved up to $25 million to assist dislocated workers in Kentucky with a first distribution of $8.3 million to the commonwealth.

The federal dislocated worker grants are available in the FEMA-declared disaster area, which includes Caldwell, Fulton, Graves, Hopkins, Marshall, Muhlenberg, Taylor and Warren counties.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance Available
Individuals who became unemployed or those who are self-employed and had work interrupted in sixteen Kentucky counties as a direct result of the severe storms, straight-line winds, flooding and tornadoes, are eligible to apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits through the Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance. Those counties include: Barren, Caldwell, Christian, Fulton, Graves, Hart, Hickman, Hopkins, Logan, Lyon, Marshall, Marion, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Taylor and Warren.

We have updated locations for this week’s disaster unemployment insurance clinics.

Dec. 27-29 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time. (Madisonville and Mayfield will close at 3 p.m. Dec. 29.)

  • 262 Scottsville Road, which is the Greenwood Mall in the old Sears store, Bowling Green, KY 42101
  • 56 Federal Street, Madisonville, KY
  • 233 Ring Road, Elizabethtown, KY
  • 3108 Fairview Drive, Owensboro, KY
  • 1220 Eagles Way, Mayfield, KY

It is not necessary to attend an in-person session if you can do everything online. These sessions are to assist individuals in filling out the application or answer questions.

The deadline to apply for assistance is January 18, 2022.

Visit kcc.ky.gov for updated information on DUA.

Pop-up Driver Licensing
A portable pop-up driver licensing team began operating this morning at the Dawson Springs City Hall to issue replacement or renewal driver licenses and ID cards for tornado survivors.

On Tuesday, the pop-up team will move to Hopkins County Central High School near Earlington and return to Dawson Springs on Wednesday, Dec. 29.

Also tomorrow, a pop-up licensing team will be operating at Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park.

The first pop-up licensing team sent into the disaster area is still operating in Mayfield. It issued 53 replacement or renewal credentials last week. The address is 355 Charles Drive.

As a reminder, the Governor has waived the fee for a replacement license, permit or ID card for disaster survivors.

The Department of Insurance is joining the unemployment insurance officials and Transportation Cabinet to provide one-stop services at Pennyrile State Park, December 28-29, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST.

New Website on Resources for Tornado-Impacted Kentuckians
Last week, the Beshear Administration launched a convenient, easy-to-access online resource to assist Kentuckians impacted by the tornadoes. The website is at governor.ky.gov/TornadoResources.

“We want to make sure that every individual and family in Western Kentucky who has lost their home, property, employment, transportation or important documentation can easily access the information they need to apply for assistance and work to quickly recover from these storms,” said Gov. Beshear.

The webpage provides a listing of information from a large number of state government assistance programs, including how to apply for unemployment insurance, health care coverage, food assistance, driver license replacement and long-term housing.

It also provides steps on how to remove debris, submit a claim to FEMA and how Western Kentuckians can locate needed resources, such as temporary shelter, hot meals and relief hotlines.

The tornado resource webpage will be regularly updated with new resources, revised contact information and addresses.

Team Western Kentucky Relief Fund Donations
The Governor said thanks to the generosity of people across the country, and right here in Kentucky, the families and counties impacted by tornadoes have received an overwhelming number of donations.

As today, the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund has received 130,491 donations for a total of $29.9 million.

“This is truly extraordinary. We have issued 39 funeral expense checks, and six additional checks are ready to be sent tomorrow,” said Gov. Beshear. “If you are interested in donating to the fund – where 100% of the proceeds will go to those affected by these storms – visit TeamWKYReliefFund.ky.gov.”

Food Benefits
The Governor said many Kentucky residents who were receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits when the storms and tornadoes came through lost all of their food.

Now, through a special waiver, current SNAP beneficiaries affected can request benefit replacement by calling the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) at 855-306-8959 or visit their county’s DCBS office.

The benefits are available through a waiver approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service. Replacements can be requested until Jan. 8, 2022.

A second waiver to help storm victims has also been approved. It provides automatic replacements of December benefits to some residents of Warren and Hickman counties, Mayfield, Dawson Springs, Auburn and Pembroke.

A third waiver was approved, allowing the purchase of hot food from authorized SNAP retailers with their benefits. Under normal circumstances, hot foods cannot be bought using SNAP benefits. Kentuckians in 30 counties may make hot food purchases through Jan. 17, 2022. More information will be posted on our tornado response website.

COVID-19 Case Information, Vaccinations Update
Number of people who have received at least one vaccine dose in Kentucky: 2,764,914

Dec. 25, Cases: 1,946
Dec. 25, Deaths: 34
Dec. 26, Cases: 981
Dec. 26, Deaths: 22

New Cases Today: 1,342
New Deaths: 17
Today’s Positivity Rate: 11.80%
Current Hospitalizations: 1,225
Current Intensive Care Admittances: 348
Currently on Ventilators: 205

The Governor said 62% of all Kentuckians have received at least their first dose, as well as 66% of Kentuckians ages 5 and older and 73% of all Kentucky adults.

During the week ending Dec. 26, Kentucky reported 15,255 new COVID-19 cases and an average positivity rate of 11.35%.

The five counties with the highest percentage of residents vaccinated are: Fayette (74%), Woodford (73%), Jefferson (70%), Campbell (69%) and Perry (67%).

Western Kentucky Toy Drive Update
Finally, First Lady Britainy Beshear provided an update on the Western Kentucky Toy Drive. She said the program collected hundreds of thousands of toys and gift cards for impacted families – so many that she and volunteers will be able to provide additional gifts to children in 2022 for their birthdays or other special occasions.

She said her office was able to assist every family that reached out to her for help before the end of the toy drive on Dec. 23, including families that did not have transportation to storefront sites and needed individual deliveries to their home. In addition, thanks to dedicated volunteers, the program was able to deliver toys to additional families even after the drive ended, on Christmas Eve.

“In less than one week, you gave millions of dollars in in-kind donations to help provide financial relief to parents at Christmastime,” the First Lady said, thanking donors and volunteers. “But the true value of this initiative can’t be measured with a dollar amount. It can only be measured in the smiles of these kids.”

See a photo from today’s Toy Drive update here.

Team Kentucky All-Stars
Today, the Governor recognized as Team Kentucky All-Stars five emergency management public information officers (PIOs) who deployed from different cities and states to assist in Kentucky’s relief efforts after the Dec. 10 tornadoes.

The PIOs are: Jordan Yuodis, Advanced PIO, Jefferson County Fire; Steve Bosso, Master PIO, Twinsburg Fire, Ohio; Katie Brady, Advanced PIO, Stafford County Fire, Virginia; Alyssa Sanders, PIO III, Nebraska Emergency Management; and Jeff Sands, Advanced PIO, Delaware Emergency Management.

“They gave up their Christmas in their hometowns and with their families to be here with us, protecting us,” said Gov. Beshear.

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