Latest Kentucky news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT

VIRUS OUTBREAK-KENTUCKY

Unemployment claims surge in Kentucky due to virus outbreak

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The number of Kentucky residents filing for unemployment benefits has surged as businesses close or scale back amid the coronavirus outbreak. The U.S. Labor Department said Thursday that nearly 49,000 Kentucky residents applied for unemployment assistance last week. In the prior week, about 2,800 claims were filed. Meanwhile, Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday reported the largest single-day increase in statewide coronavirus cases. He says Kentucky’s total cases approached 250, an increase of 50 cases from the previous day.

KENTUCKY LEGISLATURE

Kentucky lawmakers pass coronavirus-relief measure

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky lawmakers have passed a coronavirus-relief bill. The goal is to help workers and employers suffering economic damage from the pandemic. The work came as lawmakers reconvened Thursday after a weeklong break due to the coronavirus outbreak. Lawmakers also advanced a bill to expand the state attorney general's authority to regulate abortion in Kentucky. Lawmakers also gave final passage to a bill allowing consumers to have spirits, wine or beer shipped directly to them. Lawmakers have only a handful of days left in this year's abbreviated session because of the pandemic. They are scheduled to reconvene next week.

KENTUCKY BUDGET

House speaker predicts austere Kentucky budget due to virus

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky House Speaker David Osborne says economic damage from the coronavirus outbreak will force lawmakers to scale back state spending plans. He is forecasting an austere state budget. He told reporters Thursday that proposed pay raises for teachers and state employees are now unlikely. He said increases in the state's main funding formula for K-12 schools are in jeopardy. House and Senate budget negotiators are crafting a final spending plan. Lawmakers are bracing for a sharp downturn in state tax collections as many Kentucky businesses have closed and others scaled back due to efforts to curb the virus's spread.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-HOSPITAL FURLOUGH

Hospital furloughs 300 workers amid virus's financial strain

MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) — One of the largest hospital systems in northern Kentucky has furloughed a quarter of its staff in order to financially sustain clinical operation amid the spread of the new coronavirus. St. Claire HealthCare in Morehead announced Thursday that it was furloughing 300 staff members who aren't involved in the COVID-19 response. The CEO says temporary suspensions of elected procedures has led to a decline in patients visits and subsequently revenue. Officials say staff will be recalled either to respond to a potential surge of coronavirus patients or as funding becomes available. It's unclear how long the furlough will last.

POLICE SHOOTING-KENTUCKY

Police: Officers shoot suspect in stabbing of pregnant woman

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Authorities say a man suspected of stabbing a pregnant woman in Kentucky was shot and wounded by police. Police say the man and the victim were in a relationship. Officers shot the man Wednesday during an exchange of gunfire that occurred while officers were following a car they believed to be involved in the stabbing. The woman suffered life-threatening injuries and her baby had to be delivered at 26 weeks. They are in stable condition. Police say 31-year-old Byron A. Johnson has been charged with attempted murder in the stabbing. He is recovering in a hospital. No officers were injured.

JUDGE MISCONDUCT-COMMISSION

Hearing delayed for judge accused of misconduct

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A hearing for a suspended Kentucky judge accused of misconduct has been postponed due to concerns about the coronavirus. Kenton County Family Court Judge Dawn Gentry had been set to appear in a northern Kentucky courtroom on April 20 for her misconduct hearing. The Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission is investigating nine misconduct charges against Gentry, accusing her of using sex, campaign contributions and retaliation as tools in her judgeship. Gentry has denied the allegations. The Kentucky Enquirer reported the postponement came after Gentry's attorneys argued in court documents that a delay was needed because the pandemic has made it difficult to collect interviews and information for the hearing. A new date wasn't immediately set.