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Kentucky Broadens Workers' Comp To Those On New Frontlines

(AP Photo/Ben Margot

Kentucky is expanding access to certain workman's compensation payments for a number of professions outside of traditional front line responders. The announcement was one of several made during Thursday's daily press briefing on the state's coronavirus response.

The state is expanding eligibility for temporary total disability workman's comp benefits to new categories of employees whose jobs involve heightened risk of exposure, including grocery, childcare, postal service, domestic violence shelter, child advocate, rape crisis center, active National Guard, military, corrections, and social workers.

"If you're in these categories and your healthcare professional says you've got to be quarantined, you're not actually sick necessarily but you've had exposure, you're going to get access to these benefits," said La Tasha Bucker, the governor's chief of staff.

The benefits include a percentage of normal pay during mandated quarantine periods.

The state's top healthcare officials are also pouring more resources into long term care facilities, which have seen more than 100 residents infected across the state, along with 48 staff. The clusters of cases have led to the first four medical student volunteers being called up for duty.

On the unemployment front, the latest figures show the state has processed more than $100 million in claims since March 16th, making payments to more 87 percent of those filing since that date. Josh Benton with the state Workforce Cabinet says they're adding staff to meet the full demand.

"Even though that's only 13 percent difference, that's over 20,000 people, and we want to make sure that they're made whole," he said.

Finally, Gov. Beshear announced two additional closures: Natural Bridge and Cumberland Falls state parks.

Kentucky logged 134 new cases of the novel coronavirus Thursday, and reported 6 new deaths.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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