FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX 56) – Before addressing news of the omicron variant being detected in Kentucky, Gov. Beshear updated the public on the progress in Western Kentucky.

“How about a piece of good news,” Beshear said.

Governor Beshear was grateful to report there are no missing persons in Western Kentucky as of Saturday. (Danielle Miskell)

Beshear said there are currently no missing persons, and that has been calculated based on the number of reports they’ve received, which as of today, sits at zero.

Beshear led off Saturday’s conference with an update on the death toll in Western Kentucky. Beshear reports that the new death toll is at 78.

“That’s just a huge number of Kentuckians to lose,” Beshear said.

Beshear clarified that the Emergency Management and Kentucky Department of Public Health has counted 75. The difference in the two parties’ numbers is factored by three people reported out of Hopkins County, and the score is underway to being settled in the coming days.

“My prayer is that I can tell you tomorrow, the next day, or whenever, I can tell you that number is 75,” Beshear said.

Beshear prefaced that the numbers could still grow, as there are still a number of people in the hospital.

“One person lost their life the cleanup. To me, that’s somebody who the tornado takes from us,” Beshear said.

FUNERALS


With funeral services starting this week, including one in Bowling Green Saturday, Beshear reported that the state would be increasing the amount of financial assistance towards funeral costs to the families impacted.

FEMA


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has now extended its individual and public assistance to six additional counties in Western Kentucky: Christian, Hart, Hickman, Logan, Lyon, and Ohio counties. People can start applying for help from FEMA.

Beshear reports that there are currently 700 FEMA Officers in Dawson Springs, Mayfield, and other parts of Western Kentucky. FEMA has yet to reach Taylor County to provide assistance.

Beshear shared three ways for victims to start a claim with FEMA: online, download the FEMA app, or call 1-800-621-3362.

On Saturday, Governor Beshear shared three ways for victims to start a claim with FEMA. (Danielle Miskell)

FEMA officers can also be approached in person on the ground or at their in-take centers.

UTILITIES


Beshear reported 3,866 homes and businesses without power in Western Kentucky, not including Mayfield as the county’s meters are still down.

Out of the 3,866 homes and businesses, 250 homes are in Warren County,

Clean drinking water for the victims continues to make progress. In Mayfield, a boiled-water advisory was lifted Friday morning.

In Paducah, Ky., about 11,000 people are on boiled-water advisory. Graves and Hickman County also continue to be on boiled-water advisory.

Wastewater regions and treatment plants in Paducah and Mayfield continue to be on limited operations.

In Dawson Springs, while the plant is on limited operation, power has been reported to have been restored to the plant.

HELPING HANDS


Beshear reported 600 National Guardsmen have been deployed to Western Kentucky in the past week, along with 600 workers from the Transportation Cabinet and the Division of Forestry.

Of the 600 National Guardsmen, 550 supplied distribution, traffic control, and law enforcement.

Law enforcement became a priority in the past week as an increase fraud and scams were reported by tornado victims.

READ MORE: Fraudulent activity targets vulnerable victims in western Kentucky

“We got people out there who steal from people at their lowest moment. We’re going to do everything we can to prevent that from happening,” Beshear said.

SHELTERS


As of Saturday morning, state parks are providing housing and food services for 636 displaced Kentuckians and 188 first responders.

Kentucky Dam Village is at capacity taking care of 36 Kentuckians and 169 first responders.

Kenlake State Resort Park has 13 rooms available and is currently housing 146 displaced Kentuckians and six first responders.

Lake Barkley has two rooms available.

Barren River Lake State Resort Park has 20 rooms available.

John James Audubon has two rooms available and currently housing 125 displaced Kentuckians.

Rough River Dam State Park has 21 rooms available.

The American Red Cross is currently providing services and counseling at Lake Barkley, Pennyrile, Kenlake, and Kentucky Dam Village.

There have ample volunteers to last until the new year but are needing more volunteers for Christmas day through next week.

Beshear reported that between the parks and hotels, a total of 944 Kentuckians are being housed.

UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE


Governor Beshear reported that the Federal Government granted Kentucky Unemployment Disaster Assistance.

Kentuckians can qualify for disaster unemployment in the following counties: Caldwell, Christian, Fulton, Graves, Hart, Hickman, Hopkins, Logan, Lyon, Marshall, Muehlenberg, and Warren.

Applicants must show employment was lost or interrupted because of the tornado disaster; and assistance is being extended to the self-employed, such as farmers, as well, even though traditionally they’re not eligible.

“We’ll work with you on that,” Beshear said.

Governor Beshear said unemployment assistance will now be eligible for the self-employed who have been affected by the tornado. (Danielle Miskell)

Documentation must be submitted in 21 days from filing the application.

Kentucky’s Career Center’s website will have a deadline for applicants by January 18th, 2022.

The current backlog for unemployment should not be an issue for tornado victims.

TEAM WESTERN KENTUCKY RELIEF FUND


For some final “good news,” Beshear reported that the Team Western Ky Relief Fund has received over 105 thousand donations, and $19 million dollars.

The Governor said the next steps they’re taking is going to help uninsured homeowners with those donation funds. Governor Beshear plans to give an additional 10% of aid, on top of what FEMA will reimburse, to uninsured homeowners.

To donate to Western Kentucky, click the following link: Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund.