coronavirus

Most health experts agree that the need for a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 is clear.

"To return to a semblance of previous normality, the development of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines is an absolute necessity" is how a perspective in Science magazine puts it.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A 10 year-old from Kentucky is in critical condition and on a ventilator due to a newly-identified inflammatory condition related to COVID-19.

There is little known about the illness. State officials say it is rare, causes the immune system to be hyperactive and creates an extensive inflammatory response.

During his daily briefing Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear provided few details about the child. He said this is the first case of the coronavirus-related syndrome reported in Kentucky.

 


facebook/Perdue Farms

Public health officials in Kentucky are working with meat processing plants aross the state to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services reports the number of COVID-19 cases at Perdue Farms in Ohio County jumped from 186 to 281 last week.

Kentucky Commissioner for Public Health Dr. Steven Stack said the increase is the result of expanded testing of Perdue workers. 

“I’m very grateful for the open communication I’ve had with the leadership at Perdue. They did, just a few days ago, test the entire workforce and they had a positivity rate of about 7.8 percent or so, which is not as bad as we thought it could be," Dr. Stack said during a May 9 press conference with Gov. Andy Beshear.

Leachman Buick GMC Cadillac Facebook

After grinding to a halt due to COVID-19, Kentucky is taking a major step toward restarting its economy.

Manufacturing, construction, car dealerships, and pet grooming are among the business sectors that opened  their doors to customers on Monday for the first time in nearly two months.  David Jaggers, general manager of Leachman Buick, GMC, Cadillac of Bowling Green, says the last seven weeks have been unprecedented.

"I've been in the business 44 years and its the first time I've experienced not being able to allow people in our showroom or offices," Jaggers said.


Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health reopened outpatient surgery programs Monday at its hospitals in Daviess and Muhlenberg counties. The procedures had been unavailable due to policies put in place after the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Owensboro Health President Greg Strahan said anybody scheduled to undergo a procedure at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital or Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital has to be tested for COVID-19 in advance.

“We’ve already begun calling patients, having them come in and have a test done. It’s a 72-hour test that we have to wait for,” he said.


Ryan Van Velzer

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear is warning religious leaders not to rush into restarting in-person worship services, after two federal judges blocked the governor’s orders preventing congregations from gathering to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“People, take your time,” Beshear said. “You don’t want your house of worship to be a place where the coronavirus has spread.”

The governor said Friday that churches could open on May 20, if they followed strict social distancing guidelines and cleaning procedures. In light of the rulings, Beshear said he’s making that guidance effective beginning Saturday.

The guidance requires churches that hold in-person services not to fill their sanctuaries at more than 33% capacity, and to maintain a six-foot space around each worshiper or family unit.

Coronavirus fatalities in long-term care facilities have surpassed a grim threshold in much of the country, accounting for at least a third of the deaths in 26 states and more than half in 14 of those.

The data, which was published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, reports tallies from a variety of care facilities, including nursing homes, adult care residences, and other skilled nursing care settings. However, it does not break out those categories separately.

As of Friday in Texas, you can go to a tanning salon. In Indiana, houses of worship are being allowed to open with no cap on attendance. Places like Pennsylvania are taking a more cautious approach, only starting to ease restrictions in some counties based on the number of COVID-19 cases.

By Monday, at least 31 states will have partially reopened after seven weeks of restrictions. The moves come as President Trump pushes for the country to get back to work despite public health experts warning that it's too soon.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

An analysis by Harvard scientists and NPR finds that most states —  including Kentucky and Ohio — are not testing enough residents for coronavirus in order to meet recommended benchmarks to safely begin to reopen their economies. 

That analysis by Harvard’s Global Health Institute found that West Virginia is roughly meeting the minimum targets for coronavirus testing, while Kentucky and Ohio lag behind the recommended testing levels. Data on Kentucky and Ohio also show other indications that more testing is needed.


J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky restaurants will be able to open at one-third capacity starting May 22 as part of a new schedule of business reopenings announced by Gov. Andy Beshear.

Movie theaters and gyms will be able to open on June 1, campgrounds on June 11, childcare and outdoor youth sports on June 15 and bars and groups of 50 on July 1.

Beshear said businesses will have to meet social distancing, sanitary and personal protective equipment requirements in order to open.

 


submitted to WFPL news

Pre-pandemic, the iKids Childhood Enrichment Center had up to 75 children in its care. Now, the Marshall County facility is open with just 12 children of essential workers enrolled.

It didn’t take long for Jennifer Washburn, the executive director of iKids, to figure out the arrangement was not sustainable. By April 10 Washburn said her business’ accounts were in the negative.

While the majority of child care centers in Kentucky have been closed by order of the governor, iKids is one of 79 facilities that the Kentucky Office of Inspector General designated a limited duration child care center. Those are the facilities allowed to stay open to care for children of essential workers during the coronavirus crisis.


J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear has revised his ban on traveling to Kentucky during the coronavirus pandemic after a judge temporarily blocked it earlier this week.

Beshear’s new order still requires people to quarantine for 14 days when they come to Kentucky unless traveling for work, visiting a doctor, getting groceries and other exceptions. But the new order adds a new exception for people traveling as part of their normal lives living in one state and working in another.

Beshear said the new order aligns with travel restrictions imposed in Ohio, which have been upheld by courts.

 


Bytemarks via Creative Commons.

New unemployment insurance claims are starting to reach a plateau but are still hitting unprecedented levels across the Ohio Valley region.

At least 154,102 people in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia joined those seeking help during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. That surge in claims is in addition to the more than one million unemployment assistance applications people in the Ohio Valley made since mid-March. 

 

The data released Thursday morning by the U.S. Department of Labor showing more than 3.1 million unemployment claims around the country for the week ending May 2, bringing the country’s total jobless applicants to over 33 million since mid-March. 

Hardin Memorial Health

A landmark study on combatting the coronavirus is happening at hospitals across the country, including in Kentucky. 

Hardin Memorial Health in Elizabethtown is treating COVID-19 patients with plasma donated from patients who have recovered from the respiratory illness.  The  recovered patients have developed antibodies, which researchers think can more quickly fight the infection in sick patients. 

Dr. Natalie Harper is leading the study at HMH.

"Of course this is still a research project and we don’t know how well this treatment will work, but we are very hopeful, and many physicians involved in the research are very optimistic about the results," Harper told WKU Public Radio.

Carl Coffey

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says increasing testing capacity will allow the state to safely return to work even as it’s yet to meet a key White House guideline put in place to avoid a resurgence of the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, Beshear announced the state’s highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in a single day – 625 cases (about half of which came from a state prison). Overall, cases have plateaued.

Ahead of reopening the economy, the administration has decided not to follow a White House recommendation calling for 14 days of declining positive results. Beshear says he believes the state will have adequate testing to protect workers by the time they begin returning to their jobs.

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