KENTUCKY (WEHT) – Governor Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on a variety of topics on Thursday, including the following:

Here’s what was discussed during the January 19 Team Kentucky update:

UofL Health’s new South Hospital

On Wednesday, Governor Beshear and UofL Health officials celebrated the hoisting of the commemorative community beam at the new South Hospital in Bullitt County. The new facility will provide additional inpatient beds, enhanced emergency capabilities, an intensive care unit, a cardiac/vascular lab and increased surgical and outpatient services. The project is expected to add 100,000 square feet of space and create at least 100 jobs.

“I believe that health care is a basic human right. And the new UofL Health – South Hospital will provide lifesaving care and treatment for all of the people who come through the doors,” Gov. Beshear said. “The completion of UofL Health – South Hospital represents the steps we’re taking to move Kentucky forward and make it a better place to call home for our families.”

Public health update

Gov. Beshear said the spread of influenza and RSV appears to be declining. Despite this, he also said influenza remains at elevated levels in Kentucky.

The governor also said the most recent COVID-19 data shows the virus is increasing nationwide and most Kentucky counties now have moderate or high COVID-19 community levels.

He encouraged anyone eligible to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

Recovery Ready applications

Beshear announced applications are open for Kentucky communities to apply for Recovery Ready certification.

The governor announced the creation of the Recovery Ready Communities program in June of 2022. Communities are eligible to apply for the certification, which measures their services to residents who are seeking help for drug or alcohol addiction in prevention, treatment and recovery.

“One life lost to drug overdose is too many, and we must continue to commit ourselves to doing everything we can to help not just those struggling with addiction, but their families and communities as well,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “The Recovery Ready Communities program gives communities the opportunity to identify gaps in their addiction treatment services and fill them.”

Upon application, communities will undergo an evaluation process, including a site visit and assessment from Volunteers of America Mid-States staff, who will then make a recommendation to the Advisory Council for Recovery Ready Communities for a decision on certification.

Healthy at Home Eviction Relief fund

Governor Beshear says the rent and utility assistance applications through the Healthy at Home Eviction portal will no longer be reviewed beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, January 20.

“We will use the remaining dollars to fund programs for those most at risk of eviction and homelessness. If Kentucky receives more federal funding, the program will resume,” Gov. Beshear said. “The goal is to have an ongoing program for rent assistance.”

According to a release from the governor’s office, the fund provided 52,738 households nearly $205 million in rental assistance and more than $23.5 million in utility and internet assistance to help keep families in their homes during the pandemic. Governor Beshear announced in December the reallocation of $54 million through Team Kentucky’s Heatlhy at Home Eviction Relief Fund to further support Lexington and Louisville homeowners, renters and landlords who are still impacted by the pandemic.

Eastern Kentucky flood update

According to a release from the governor’s office, 243 families are housed in travel trailers and Kentucky State Parks are now housing 28 people, down from 360 people sheltered on September 1.

“Next week, we will mark six months since unprecedented flooding destroyed many homes and devastated communities in Eastern Kentucky,” Gov. Beshear said. “We are making good progress, but there is much work left to be done.”

The Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund has raised over $13.1 million from more than 41,000 donors.

More juvenile justice system changes

Beshear expanded on recent steps by his administration to enhance youth and staff safety at the Department of Juvenile Justice

“In the last several months, our juvenile detention centers have seen violent outbursts. This has threatened the safety of staff and residents and resulted in substantial property damage to some of our centers,” said Gov. Beshear. “Positive changes are required to meet today’s challenges, and my administration has developed a solid, aggressive plan to improve the juvenile justice system. And we will continue to make the right decision – even when it is tough – to protect those in state custody and the staff who work in these essential roles.”

A list of actions taken or planned by Beshear’s administration can be found here.

Team Kentucky All-Stars

Governor Beshear named the Louisville Orchestra musicians and staff as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars. The governor joined the Louisville Orchestra on Wednesday to announce the orchestra’s two-year tour across Kentucky beginning in May, playing for audiences as part of “In Harmony – The Commonwealth Tour of the Louisville Orchestra.”

“These musicians are the living legacy of the many who came before them, all working to build a better Kentucky. The Louisville Orchestra is meeting Kentuckians where they are, highlighting the impact an orchestra can have,” Gov. Beshear said. “Team Kentucky knows you all are going to touch countless lives – and we are grateful to each of you.”