coronavirus

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

COVID-19 cases in Indiana are on the upswing again after decreasing for nearly three months.

Data from the state’s COVID-19 dashboard shows the recent increase in cases and hospitalizations coincided with Gov. Eric Holcomb’s dismissal of many public safety restrictions, including the statewide mask mandate. Hoosiers were required to wear face coverings in public since July, but Holcomb allowed the mandate to expire on April 6.

The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) does not directly attribute the uptick in cases to the relaxation of restrictions.

Lisa Autry

Following more than a year of restrictions due to the pandemic, Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner is pressing Gov. Andy Beshear to set a reopening date for restaurants, bars, and other businesses. 

Ryan Quarles held a roundtable discussion in Bowling Green on Wednesday with farmers and restaurant owners, as well as food suppliers and distributors.

Quarles said bars and restaurants have suffered more under the coronavirus than any other industry.  He’s on a listening tour around the state, hearing from business owners who have struggled under what Quarles calls inconsistent and confusing executive orders from the governor’s office.

screenshot

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear urged people to use the more than 400,000 COVID-19 vaccination appointments available as the trend of new infections skewed toward younger people. Beshear reported a dramatic difference in vaccination rates among age groups. People between ages 20 to 49 make up the majority of new COVID-19 cases, but have much lower vaccination rates than those 50 and older. 

“We see 38% or less of individuals in that age group currently vaccinated,” Beshear said of the younger people. “So we need to pick it up for our younger Kentuckians, if we want to lessen the number of cases and ultimately defeat this virus.”

Beshear said the low number of vaccinations could lead to a fourth wave of infections.

Roger Starnes/Unsplash

A community partnership in Bowling Green that provides free transportation to COVID-19 vaccination sites has lots of requests, but has run out of money. 

Since making its first ride in early March, COVID Vaccine Transport has provided 150 trips for 80 individuals. Some of those trips are for second doses of the vaccine.

Bowling Green Human Rights Commission Executive Director Alice Waddell said those requesting rides include older adults who don’t drive, people of all ages with disabilities, and even some students from Western Kentucky University who don’t have transportation to get vaccinated.

“We have reservations up ‘til the end of April, so we need to service those people," said Waddell. "I would not like to call them and tell them we can’t do it.”

John Boyle

Hundreds of protestors gathered outside the Kentucky State Capitol on Sunday to oppose Gov. Andy Beshear’s coronavirus restrictions, and claimed his vaccination goals amounted to a mandate.

When COVID-19 took hold in Kentucky last year, Beshear implemented a number of public safety restrictions, including a mask mandate and capacity limits at businesses. But those opposed to the restrictions said they’re “tyrannical,” and called on Beshear to “open Kentucky” during Sunday’s protest.

Demonstrators, of which there were about 300, carried signs critical of the coronavirus response and chanted appropriated versions of slogans from other movements, such as “my body, my choice,” and “small business lives matter.”

Liam Niemayer

Phyllis Gibbs wasn’t sure until recently that she’d be here, just a few moments away from receiving a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Do you feel sick today?”

“Nope,” Gibbs said to the receptionist.

“And you give consent for Pfizer to give you a shot today, correct?”

“Absolutely.”

Gibbs then walked over to one of the nurses inside the Kentucky Dam Village Convention Center in rural western Kentucky — a place that once held a pre-pandemic political rally for statewide Democrats — that has now been transformed into a regional vaccination site designed to dole out hundreds of Pfizer vaccines a day. 

  

Kentucky Supreme Court To Hear Coronavirus-Related Cases

Apr 18, 2021
Stephanie Wolf

Kentucky’s Supreme Court has agreed to take up the Democratic governor’s challenge of Republican-backed laws aimed at limiting his authority to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The GOP-led legislature passed the measures over Gov. Andy Beshear’s vetoes. The governor immediately filed a lawsuit. The new laws curbing his executive powers were temporarily blocked by Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd.

The Supreme Court says it will extend its review to a second pandemic-related case at the same time. Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. says the review will be expedited. The court will hear arguments June 10 in both cases.

Dan Meyers/Unsplash

A new support group in Henderson is aimed at helping people who have lost a loved one to suicide.

The group’s founder, Cindy Weaver, said it’s called Infinite Hope because people who take their own lives have lost hope. 

Weaver said she’s met many survivors who haven’t sought help for the trauma and grief that followed the death of their friend or family member. 

“We want to be able, through our support groups and walking alongside the survivors to know they don’t have to go through this alone, help to restore hope back into their lives again, so they can move into a life that feels purposeful and has meaning in it once again,” said Weaver.


Jess Clark | WFPL

School districts across Kentucky are trying to decide whether to offer students a chance to repeat the 2020-2021 academic year, to make up for what some parents believe was a period of lost learning due to the pandemic. 

new Kentucky law allows districts to let students in grades K-12 retake a full year of classes, possibly for a better grade. The measure also allows students, including some graduating seniors, to participate in an additional year of athletics. 

Lawmakers left it to individual school districts to decide whether or not to offer the “supplemental school year.” Families must submit their requests to participate by May 1, and districts must decide by June 1 whether to offer the program. Districts can’t pick and choose which requests to grant—if they decide to offer the supplemental school year, they must oblige all who request it.

Mary Meehan

A newly released poll suggests Kentucky has a good chance of reaching herd immunity with the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Herd immunity is achieved when a significant amount of the population is vaccinated or immune to infection. Experts believe herd immunity will be possible when that applies to 70-85% of the population. 

The poll found 71% of Kentucky adults have already received or intend to get the vaccine. The 29% of Kentuckians who said they hesitant to get the shot were more likely to be male, Republican, and live in suburban or rural communities.

Ben Chandler heads the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, which funded the survey. He says much of the hesitancy toward the vaccine can be attributed to misinformation.

Henderson Community College

Henderson Community College is increasing support for students facing personal challenges that might have been intensified by the emotional and physical stress of the year-long COVID-19 pandemic.

The college has opened a new one-stop center offering support for issues that could prevent academic success. 

The HCC Care Center may be small in size, but it offers students connections to a big range of community services.

Career Services Coordinator Angie Watson said the HCC Care Center can help with a wide range of  issues.

“Substance disorders, domestic violence, housing issues, mental and physical issues that they may be facing," said Watson. "We’ve got some great mental health facilities that can assist them and offer crisis counseling.”


Cheryl Gerber

State leaders around the Ohio Valley will temporarily have fewer doses of COVID-19 vaccine to distribute following the Food and Drug Administration’s decision Tuesday to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Regional officials gave no indication that they will have shortages of vaccines as a result, but the pause on the Johnson & Johnson “one dose” vaccine could complicate efforts to inoculate hard-to-reach populations. 

FDA officials paused use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine out of “an abundance of caution” while they are investigating six cases of blood clots among the estimated 7 million people who have received the vaccine. According to NPR, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the blood clots under review are “extremely rare” and the CDC said it expects the review to last “a matter of days.”

John Boyle

For eight months, Hoosiers had to wear masks in public.

That changed last Tuesday when Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb allowed his statewide mask mandate to expire. But several Southern Indiana restaurant owners plan to continue their own in-house mask requirements.

“I think we’ve got a little bit more time before that’s something I’m comfortable with with my staff, especially being in a restaurant where people have to take their masks off to dine and it’s boisterous,” said Dallas McGarity, owner of the Portage House in Jeffersonville.

Restaurant owners are allowed to implement such restrictions under Holcomb’s executive order, and McGarity isn’t the only one doing so. But it’s still a decision he expects to garner some criticism from local residents.

Corinne Boyer | Ohio Valley ReSource

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced that the state’s positivity rate is the highest it’s been in approximately a month — 3.16%.

“We’ve got to be watching that. We should be wary,” Beshear said. “We should see what’s going on in other states. We should get everyone out to get vaccinated.”

Beshear said the state is likely seeing a plateau in new cases and hospitalizations. In the past, he said, the state has typically seen an increase in cases following a plateau. This time, however, Beshear hopes the COVID vaccine will make a difference.

On Monday, Beshear announced the state will lift most COVID restrictions on venues with capacities of less than 1,000 once 2.5 million Kentuckians are vaccinated. Already more than 1.5 million Kentuckians have received at least one shot of a COVID vaccine.

screenshot

Gov. Andy Beshear said he would lift several capacity restrictions currently in place across the state once 2.5 million Kentuckians get at least a first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. He said that represents about 70% of Kentucky residents currently eligible to get a vaccine.

As of Sunday, about 1.5 million Kentuckians had gotten at least a first shot. Beshear said it could take four to six weeks to reach the threshold he announced on Monday.

“We’re boosting capacity across the state. There are now clinics in every single community,” Beshear said. “No matter where you live, you can likely get a shot of hope in the next week, all you gotta do is get online or pick up the phone and sign up.”

Pages