FRANKFORT, KY (WOWK) – Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear gave a Team Kentucky update this afternoon ahead of tonight’s Budget Address, set to take place during a joint session of the Kentucky State Senate and House of Representatives.

The budget includes funding to make preschool free for all 4-year-olds across the Bluegrass State as well as a $2 billion investment in pre-K–12 education.

Beshear says his Budget Address will also include funding to retain correctional officers, juvenile justice youth workers and social workers, including 350 social workers to help address staffing shortages and reduce case loads by nearly 25%.

On Wednesday, Jan. 12, the governor announced the latest COVID-19 report from the Kentucky Department for Public Health, calling it “the highest COVID report since the pandemic began. The report includes a record-high positivity rate of 27.39%, and all 120 counties in the Commonwealth are in red on the current incidence rate map.

The KDPH reported 11,232 new COVID-19 cases and 21 additional deaths on Wednesday, bringing the state’s overall totals throughout the pandemic to 952,956 cases and 12,455 deaths.

Health officials say 2,011 Kentuckians are hospitalized with COVID-19, with 454 patients in the ICU and 243 on ventilators.

“Our hospitals are becoming strained and we’re seeing concerning impacts in our schools and communities. Please mask up and get your vaccine and booster,” Beshear said on social media Wednesday.