Senator Mitch McConnell and Congressman Andy Barr have announced two separate packages of funds being allocated to Kentucky in order to help combat the coronavirus as it continues throughout the year.
One of the fund packages comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to Barr's office.
The total amount, $97,738,054, is being awarded to Kentucky in order to develop, purchase, administer, process and analyze COVID-19 tests as well as to expand contract tracing and support other virus initiatives.
This funding is being allocated as part of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act that the Sixth District Republican Congressman supported in the House of Representatives.
“Since the beginning of this pandemic, I have been steadfast in supporting legislation to fund the development of testing capacity, accuracy and speed,” Barr said in a release. “Our state and our country have made tremendous progress in the accessibility of COVID-19 testing, with almost 400,000 tests being conducted nationwide on a daily basis, according to the American Enterprise Institute. I am confident that the commonwealth will utilize these funds to build further on these efforts.”
Previously, Kentucky received $7,464,395 from the CDC through the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which Barr voted to pass in early March.
Additionally, Kentucky received another $8,293,772 from CDC through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, legislation Congressman Barr supported in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. In total, Kentucky has received $113,496,221 from the CDC for the COVID-19 response.
Additionally, more assistance is expected to come from the CARES Act, according to McConnell's office, which will support nursing facilities in the commonwealth, which have been heavily impacted by the virus, accounting for 18.16% of the state's confirmed cases.
The long-time U.S. Senator announced his home state would receive nearly $130 million to assist 347 facilities across the bluegrass.
“The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a devastating effect on Kentucky seniors, especially those living in nursing facilities. This funding will go a long way to help protect the facilities’ residents and caregivers, many of whom are working overtime to try and keep seniors healthy during this crisis,” McConnell said in a news release. “As Senate Majority Leader, I’m proud the CARES Act is delivering relief to high-risk seniors and those who care for them.”
The federal funds, distributed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), were made available by the CARES Act. McConnell introduced the CARES Act, which became the largest economic rescue package in American history, and led it to enactment in about a week.
According to HHS, each skilled nursing facility is eligible to receive $50,000. The department will also distribute an additional payment of $2,500 per bed in facilities with six or more beds. This federal funding may be used by Kentucky’s nursing facilities for coronavirus-related expenses, including to pay staff salaries, increase testing and purchase personal protective equipment.
Betsy Johnson, president of the Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities, said she and her staff are grateful for the support.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has caused dramatic increases in the costs it requires to keep our residents and staff safe from the deadly virus. We are thankful for HHS for this strong stand with nursing facilities and also for Senator McConnell’s support and leadership,” she said.
In other coronavirus related news, there are no new cases of the coronavirus in Madison County for a total of 43 cases. This is the fifth day in a row there have been no new cases reported.
Of those, 38 are reported to be recovered according to the local health department.
Drive-thru testing is continuing to take place on EKU's campus at the Stratton Parking lot. Appointments are required before being tested and can be done by visiting bit.ly/2TbCKRY or contacting 1-888-852-2567 (option 3).