coronavirus

J. Tyler Franklin

The Food and Drug Administration announced Monday that the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 may be given to children ages 12 to 15. Kentucky is preparing to make the vaccine available for children. 

Shortly before the FDA announced expanded use of the vaccine, Kentucky’s top public health official, Dr. Steven Stack, said studies showed that the vaccine was safe for children. 

“You could have some aches or a little fatigue, but kids bounce back very quickly, and it’s been very well tolerated,” Stack said. “Additionally, they have found that it has been, at least in the initial studies, 100% protective from serious illness.” 

Corinne Boyer

Roughly a million students attend college around the Ohio Valley, and the student-age population has an especially high rate of coronavirus infection. That’s why some public health advocates say schools should require that students be vaccinated. 

However, a review by the Ohio Valley ReSource found that of 400 colleges and universities in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia, only three have indicated that they will mandate COVID-19 vaccinations this fall.

The age group with the highest share of COVID-19 infections is under 30. About a fifth of all U.S. cases have occurred in people ages 18 to 29. In late April the American College Health Association, an organization that works to improve the health of college students and college campuses, recommended that schools make COVID-19 immunization mandatory for students. 


J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear said he will relax some of the state’s pandemic-related capacity restrictions in three weeks.

Starting May 28, which marks the beginning of Memorial Day weekend, the state will increase capacity at all indoor and outdoor venues and businesses with under 1,000 people to 75%. The current limit is 60%. The increase will cover retail, hair salons, restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, weddings and memorial services.

Beshear said events with more than 1,000 people in attendance will be able to operate at 60% capacity starting May 28, up from 50%.

“It gives us the time to make sure we get through these last weeks of school, yet also gives notice to those that’ll be hosting folks,” Beshear said.

Kyeland Jackson

Republican Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles is calling on Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear to set a firm “reopening” date for the state amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The demand comes as Republican-led states like Tennessee and Florida have almost entirely dropped pandemic-related restrictions and others have set dates when they will reopen further.

It also comes as the virus lingers, vaccination rates have dropped due to lack of demand, and public health experts say the United States won’t achieve herd immunity before this winter, if at all.

But Quarles argues people and businesses should be able to make their own decisions about how to stay safe during the pandemic.

Steven Cornfield/Unsplash

A pharmacy in Nelson County is scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations from a waiting list of more than 2,000 people.

Crume Drug Store in Bardstown has about 500 doses of the Moderna vaccine that arrived two weeks ago.

Ashley Coomes, co-owner of the drug store and a pharmacy technician, said there's a been a good response from the community for the vaccine.

“We were probably one of the only people in town that actually had a list of names going. And we probably had like 2,500 names," said Coomes. "So we’re calling down through the people that have had their names on the list and letting them know that it’s here and we can schedule an appointment for them and get everybody vaccinated, as many as we can.”


Updated May 4, 2021 at 3:43 PM ET

President Biden on Tuesday announced a new goal to administer at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to 70% of American adults by the Fourth of July.

The administration also aims to have 160 million adults fully vaccinated by then, a push to improve the level of immunity in the country to the point where the coronavirus has less of an opportunity to spread and so that more public health restrictions can be lifted, administration officials told reporters.

Rhonda J. Miller

With Mother's Day approaching this weekend, we're highlighting a mother and daughter who have a close relationship that's both personal and professional.

Amber Givens, 38, and her mom, Julie Horton, 57, work together in the mother-baby unit at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. 

WKU Public Radio reporter Rhonda Miller talked with them on a park bench near the hospital entrance on their way to begin their regular 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. overnight shift. 

Givens lives in Central City and went into nursing four years ago as her second career. Horton lives in Lewisburg and has been a nurse for more than 30 years. 


Corinne Boyer

The numbers of new COVID-19 cases remain relatively low in Kentucky, but as vaccination rates slow Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said he is considering incentives to encourage people to get a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Beshear announced Monday 313 new cases of COVID-19 and 8 new deaths. The state’s positivity rate is 3.45%.

COVID-19 vaccination rates continue to slow. In April, the number of shots getting in arms decreased by several thousand every week. 

As the demand for vaccines declines, Beshear said the number of doses in a vial makes it difficult to offer shots in smaller settings. Typically a vial contains 10 doses and once opened all of those doses have to be used.

Lisa Autry

The Medical Center in Bowling Green is honoring the legacy of Dr. Rebecca Shadowen.

The region’s top infectious disease specialist died last year from COVID-19. A memorial tree was planted Monday afternoon on the hospital campus at the corner of High St. and 2nd Ave.

Her husband, retired physician David Shadowen, said one of her last professional acts is still having a positive impact.

“I think what people should remember about my wife is that she was really interested in patient care and taking care of people. The last big project she did was helping develop the COVID unit and protocols for taking care of COVID patients, which I think has been successful," Shadowen told reporters. "We’ve lost over 200 people in our area to COVID, but by the same token, we’ve had over 1,000 people in the hospital get out alive.”

Blake Farmer | WPLN

Just a handful of patients who tested positive for COVID at Vanderbilt University Medical Center this year were fully vaccinated.

The hospital system found four patients who should have had their full immunity, which comes two weeks after the last dose. One of them died, though not from COVID, VUMC says in a release. Some of the others had mild symptoms and were being treated for other illnesses.

“For anyone who has hesitated to get vaccinated against COVID-19, these hospital admissions data can’t help but paint a very clear picture,” says Dr. Tom Talbot, VUMC’s chief epidemiologist.

Vaccinations in Tennessee have been tapering off, and the state already had among the lowest vaccination rates in the country.

Mary Meehan

Gov. Andy Beshear is stressing that appointments and walk-ins are available at two vaccination sites in western and eastern Kentucky, both supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

Beshear helped launch the Community Vaccination Center in Henderson on Wednesday.  He said despite the state’s gains against the virus, the pandemic isn’t over, and the solution is getting more Kentuckians vaccinated.

“If we didn’t already know, we’ve learned our decisions every day, our actions every day, that we take or we don’t can be the difference of life and death to those around us," Beshear said in a news conference.

Taylor's Funeral Home

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the lives of more than 6,400 Kentuckians. The grief has been intensified by health precautions that limit how many people can attend a funeral.

A funeral home in Christian County has added a safe way for friends and family to grieve.

Taylor’s Funeral Home in Hopkinsville broke through a brick wall to add a four-by-eight-foot window two weeks ago.

 

The first window broke, but a new one is now in place to allow friends and family to safely view the funeral chapel from their cars.  

Owner Terry Taylor has been in the funeral business for 22 years and said even with COVID-19 safety precaution place, many people have told him they still don’t feel safe being indoors with a group of people. 

  

Young people who get the COVID-19 vaccine in West Virginia won't just gain protection against a deadly virus — they'll also make money.

The state will offer a $100 savings bond to everyone between the ages of 16 and 35 who gets vaccinated, Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican, announced at a Monday briefing. It's part of an ongoing push to get shots into the arms of younger residents, who have been largely slow to roll up their sleeves so far.

City of Henderson

The City of Henderson is providing free transportation to a new Community Vaccination Center that opens Thursday. 

The new vaccination center in Henderson is a partnership between FEMA and the state of Kentucky that’s bringing COVID-19 vaccines to underserved areas. 

Spokesperson Donna Stinnett said Henderson Area Rapid Transit, or HART, will  provide transportation to the vaccination center at the Henderson County Cooperative Extension site on Kentucky 351, also known as Zion Road.

"The city of Henderson made the decision that it would be good to support the efforts of that clinic and their efforts to reach out to as many people as possible, particularly in underserved areas, to provide some free transportation to that site, via our Henderson Area Rapid Transit Service," said Stinnett.

Kentucky Ending Mask Mandate For Some Outdoor Events

Apr 27, 2021
Mika Baumeister via Unsplash

Beginning Tuesday, Kentucky’s mask mandate will no longer apply to outdoor events with fewer than 1,000 people. 

Gov. Andy Beshear said masks will still be required indoors at restaurants, grocery stores and workplaces. 

New cases of COVID-19 have decreased since last week. Beshear reported 213 new cases on Monday and 11 deaths. The positivity rate also declined from last week to 3.15%.

However, vaccination rates have slowed and Beshear said mass vaccination sites inoculate far fewer people now. 

“Most of them will be shutting down. And we are pushing those doses out into the community,” Beshear said. “So we’ll have every Kroger, every Walmart, every Walgreens — we hope every independent pharmacy.”

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