coronavirus

Saints Joseph and Paul Catholic Church

A church in Daviess County is part of the national effort to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to members of the Spanish-speaking community.

Sts. Joseph and Paul Catholic Church in Owensboro serves about 700 families, with about 200 of those attending the Spanish-language masses. 

Stewardship Minister Ashley Wilkerson said the church hosted two vaccination clinics recently, in collaboration with FEMA, to get the COVID-19 vaccines to underserved communities. 

“We had a fantastic turnout. They actually ran out of vaccines twice at the first clinic, and got more from some other places in town that had extra vaccinations," said Wilkerson. "We had about 65 to 70 vaccinated the first time. And then we had at the follow up we had about 45 to 50.”


Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital

Kentucky’s current statewide vaccination rate of 47 percent has quite a distance to go to help the nation reach President Joe Biden’s goal of getting 70 percent of the U.S. population vaccinated against COVID-19 by July 4.

The CDC reports that Christian County has one of Kentucky’s lowest vaccination rates ,at 19 percent. 

Other counties with low vaccination rates include Hart at 22 percent, and Union at 24 percent. 

Barren, Warren and Pulaski counties all have a vaccination rate of 30 percent.  

Kentucky's highest vaccination rate is in Woodford County at 52 percent, according to CDC data.

Stephanie Wolf

On Thursday, the Kentucky Supreme Court will hear arguments over whether the legislature can limit Gov. Andy Beshear’s emergency powers.

Beshear issued dozens of executive orders throughout the coronavirus pandemic, limiting crowd sizes, requiring people to wear masks and imposing curfews at bars and restaurants.

But Republican lawmakers passed several bills earlier this year attempting to undermine the Democratic governor’s ability to respond to states of emergency on his own.

Beshear sued and Franklin Circuit Court agreed to block those measures. After an appeal from Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the challenge will now be tested before the state’s highest court.

Beshear Announces Lottery For Vaccinated Kentuckians

Jun 4, 2021
Commonwealth of Kentucky

Kentucky residents have a chance at winning a million dollars or a full ride scholarship to a state university in a new effort to bolster vaccination rates. 

Governor Andy Beshear announced the “Shot at a Million” lottery for vaccinated Kentuckians on Friday, joining states like Ohio and West Virginia in efforts to bolster vaccination rates with monetary incentives  

“If you’ve already gotten your shot, good for you. You’re eligible. All you have to do is sign up,” Beshear said. “If you haven’t gotten your shot, go get it and get qualified for this amazing opportunity.”

Three vaccinated Kentuckians over the age of 18 will win a million dollars while 15 vaccinated kids ages 12 to 17 will win a full ride scholarship to a state college, university or trade school, including tuition, room-and-board and books.

Creative Commons/Cytonn Photography

School districts across the state are expanding all-virtual school programs to accommodate extra students in the fall.

The state is requiring districts to open at full capacity, five days a week, next school year. But district leaders say some parents may not be comfortable with in-person learning as the pandemic continues.

“We do believe going into this next year that there will be a segment of our population that will be struggling with the idea of getting back to normalization, or maybe there are some health concerns within the family,” Fayette County Schools director of pupil personnel Steve Hill told an interim legislative committee Tuesday. 

About 9,500 Fayette County Schools students are still remote, or about 22% of students. Now the district is expanding its existing online high school to a K-12 model. Hill says around 200 students have already selected a fully online option for the fall.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday that more coronavirus deaths were found in the commonwealth’s audit of fatalities during the pandemic.

Beshear said an additional 260 people died due to COVID-19 between March and October of 2020 than earlier records indicated. 

“That’s 220 days. So it’s going back in the midst of this pandemic and finding about 1.8 Kentuckians in each of those days that we lost, that hadn’t been included, hadn’t been recognized,” Beshear said. 

Of those deaths, 96 occurred in Jefferson County.

Creative Commons

People held in Kentucky prisons and juvenile justice centers will be allowed in-person visitors again beginning June 20, for the first time in more than a year.

Gov. Andy Beshear halted in-person visitation at state Department of Corrections and Department of Juvenile Justice facilities last March in an effort to keep out the coronavirus. Since then, visitation could only be conducted virtually. Still, nearly 8,000 adults held in correctional facilities have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began.

Keturah Herron, policy strategist with the ACLU of Kentucky, said resuming in-person visitation is “huge” for incarcerated people and their mental health.

Lisa Autry

Vaccinated or not, the masks come off June 11. Kentucky’s mask mandate will be officially lifted that day, with a few exceptions. As that date nears, the state is making a concerted effort to boost the number of residents protected against COVID-19.

While more than half of Kentucky’s adult population is vaccinated, the state lags in the number of minorities rolling up their sleeves. 

It wasn't Sunday and it wasn't a potluck, but 19-year-old Rachel Rodriguez was recently at the fellowship hall of her church on a weekday afternoon. She was there to get the coronavirus vaccine.

"I want to get it over with. I’m stoked honestly. I heard it doesn’t hurt," she said while laughing.

Virtual Location

A major geocaching event in its 18th year is set to be held in Daviess County for the first time. Owensboro is hosting the event in parks and along the riverfront beginning Friday evening.

The Midwest Open Geocaching Adventure, or MOGA, will send visitors on a high-tech treasure hunt to find small containers using a GPS device, or a GPS-enabled mobile phone. 

President and CEO of Visit Owensboro, Mark Calitri, said the event was already planned to meet COVID-19 safety guidelines using the outdoor venues of the Rudy Mine Trail, Yellow Creek Park, and the Riverwalk. 


Corinne Boyer | Ohio Valley ReSource

Black and Hispanic Americans in the Ohio Valley are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 at a lower rate than are white Americans, according to data obtained by Kaiser Health News, which offers a more detailed view of vaccination progress among different groups. 

The data shows that vaccination rates vary across races and ethnicities in the Ohio Valley – with slightly more than a fifth of Black Americans in the Ohio Valley who received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the lowest rate across all groups. 

  

Ryland Barton

Indiana University has announced that students, faculty and staff will have to be vaccinated against the coronavirus by the start of the fall semester.

Meanwhile, none of Kentucky’s public universities are requiring people to get vaccinated to return to campus, though they are strongly encouraging it.

IU officials say students and others should try to get the first dose of the vaccine by July 1 in order to meet the requirement by the start of class on Aug, 23.

IU President Michael McRobbie says the university plans to have an in-person fall semester with “mostly normal operations.”

Blake Farmer | WPLN

Tennessee has recorded 908 COVID cases among vaccinated residents. That’s roughly what scientists would have expected, even as they lauded how effective the COVID vaccines are.

By comparison, the state has recorded more than 150,000 COVID cases since anyone was fully vaccinated. So, the so-called “breakthroughs” represent just a fraction of 1% of the total cases, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects that the documented breakthrough cases probably represent an undercount. Most people who’ve been vaccinated likely wouldn’t show any symptoms and have no reason to get tested.

Fourteen people have died after getting the vaccines, but Dr. David Aronoff, director of infectious disease at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, says other factors were likely in play.

Kevin & Remi Mays

Colleges and universities across the country recently celebrated graduates from the spring class of 2021. Those degree-holders are entering a job market that looks to be improving, given the wide availability of effective COVID-19 vaccines.

That’s very different from the job market seen by those who graduated last year, as an unchecked pandemic was wreaking havoc on the economy. Many graduates from the class of 2020 have had their job prospects curtailed by the pandemic and are still figuring out how to move forward. 

One class of 2020 graduate from Western Kentucky University has been focusing on the positives during what she called her unexpected hiatus. 

  

LaRue County Schools FB

Summer break will be getting off to an early start for students in LaRue County. 

The school district says it will end the year four days early due to a bus driver shortage.

An online statement by the district says LaRue County schools will use four days of built up instructional time to wrap up the school year on Friday.  Otherwise, the shortage of bus drivers would have forced the district to move to virtual learning for the remaining days.  

Elisa Hanley, Branch Manager of Pupil Transportation for the Kentucky Department of Education, says the shortage has been coming for a while and is being felt nationwide.  She adds districts across Kentucky have been stepping up in unusual ways to finish the school year.

TN Photo Services

Tennessee’s governor is urging school districts to drop their mask requirements, even though most children remain unvaccinated against COVID-19.

Many school districts in Middle Tennessee are starting to reconsider their mask requirements — or at least they feel pressure from parents. Gov. Bill Lee says each district makes its own policies, but he’s hopeful they remove the requirement for face coverings.

“Science shows that children have very low risk for contracting COVID and for actually being sick as a result of it,” Lee told reporters on Monday, “so I’m hopeful that schools will make the decision not to require masks for their districts.”

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