Gov. Andy Beshear announced Wednesday that small business owners, independent contractors and substitute teachers who have lost work due to the coronavirus are now eligible to apply for unemployment benefits.

The list also includes cosmetologists, gig economy workers, day care workers employed by churches or nonprofits, and anyone who had to leave work to go into quarantine.

In the past, those groups were ineligible for benefits.

“This means so many of you out there who were worried are now able to file, and we want you to,” Beshear said. “ … Again, there is zero stigma. Zero (stigma) to being on government assistance right now.”

To apply, go to kcc.ky.gov and click on “File Claim.”

During Beshear’s afternoon press conference Wednesday, he announced Kentucky’s fifth death from the coronavirus — a 75-year-old man from Jefferson County.

Also, the governor reported the state had 198 confirmed cases of the virus, up 35 from the day before.

In Daviess County, Green River District Health Department reported a total of 22 cases on Wednesday morning, up eight from Tuesday.

The state’s number of confirmed cases continues to mount, Beshear said. “The next two to three weeks are going to be absolutely critical.”

In coming weeks, he asked residents to take his “Healthy at Home” initiative and ratchet it up several notches. Except for going to work or to buy supplies for the family, he wants residents to stay home.

“Follow the guidance more than you ever have,” Beshear said.

It’s the only way to defeat the virus, he told listeners.

Eric Friedlander, acting secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said state officials have expanded telehealth capabilities for health systems so people could visit with their doctors remotely from their homes.

Earlier this week, Owensboro Health announced it had started offering telehealth services.

Friedlander encouraged behavioral health and substance use programs to conduct meetings through virtual linkups.

On Monday, Beshear announced the Team Kentucky Fund, a new nonprofit that accepts donations to help people across the state who have been affected by the coronavirus. The governor said the fund has raised “a couple hundred thousand dollars” since Monday.

To give, go to kycovid19.ky.gov.

Here are the demographics on Daviess County’s 22 cases:

• 51-year-old male

• 48-year-old male

• 48-year-old female

• 23-year-old female

• 69-year-old male

• 58-year-old female

• 50-year-old female

• 54-year-old male

• 20-year-old female

• 25-year-old male

• 50-year-old female

• 49-year-old male

• 52-year-old male

• 49-year-old female

• 55-year-old male

• 58-year-old female

• 74-year-old female

• 21-year-old male

• 25-year-old female

• 46-year-old female

• 67-year-old female

• 53-year-old female

Other GRDHD cases have been reported in Henderson County (2), Union County (1) and Webster County (1).

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

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

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