COVID-19 has claimed another Daviess County resident, bringing the county’s total number of deaths to four.

The latest victim was a 93-year-old woman, Gov. Andy Beshear announced during his daily COVID-19 press conference. The only information released on coronavirus victims is age, gender and county of residence.

The woman was one of five coronavirus deaths reported statewide Thursday, bringing Kentucky’s total to 240.

As far as new confirmed cases, the state had 174 — despite an increase in testing.

The number of cases have remained fairly stable during the past three weeks, Beshear said. He credited state residents, who have stayed committed to his Healthy at Home initiative.

Beshear briefly talked about the state budget during the press conference.

“This coronavirus hasn’t just taken a human toll and a toll on our businesses,” he said, “it has also taken a toll on our state budget.”

According to the state budget director’s quarterly report, COVID-19 has created a shortfall between $319 million to $496 million this fiscal year, which ends June 30. Losses to the road fund could be between $100 million to $200 million.

“This is a real threat to helping us rebuild (the economy),” Beshear said.

The nation’s governors are lobbying federal officials for financial assistance. Beshear asked Kentuckians to petition federal lawmakers for help.

In other news Thursday, Dr. Steven Stack, Kentucky public health commissioner, announced a new program in Kentucky for doctors, dentists and other providers who use N95 face masks.

A Battelle CCDS Critical Care Decontamination System was installed Wednesday at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville. Battelle has worked with the federal government to provide free decontamination services for N95 masks at locations across the U.S.

Providers sign up for the service and receive shipping labels and materials. In Kentucky, they will ship their used N95 masks to Louisville to be decontaminated. Shipping to and from providers’ locations is free.

Masks can be used up to 20 times using Battelle’s vaporized hydrogen peroxide treatment.

“We want everybody to use this,” Stack said. “It’s easy.”

Beshear announced a new benefit for SNAP recipients. In the past, they could not use their benefits to purchase groceries online. That policy has now changed. Recipients may now buy eligible grocery items online through Amazon or Walmart.

Green River District Health Department officials reported 25 new confirmed COVID-19 cases. By county, the numbers are: Daviess, 5; Henderson, 2; McLean, 2; Ohio, 15; and one in Webster. The total number of reported COVID-19 cases in the district is 365.

Muhlenberg County Health Department officials reported three new cases, bringing that county’s total to 123.

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

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