coronavirus

Kentucky COVID Cases Continue To Drop

May 18, 2021
Mika Baumeister via Unsplash

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says COVID-19 cases have declined for three weeks in a row. In his Monday briefing on coronavirus, Beshear said the state is on track to do away with its mask mandate by June 11, but there will be exceptions.

Masks will still be required in health care settings and some businesses may also still require masks.   

“Some businesses in some areas are going to decide to keep masking requirements in place. You ought to respect them,” Beshear said. “That is their choice and if they are trying to provide that extra level of safety, you need to respect that. Carry your mask on you. Use it when you need to.” 

Lost River Cave

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said the state will mirror CDC guidelines on COVID-19 announced this week, that people who are fully vaccinated do not need a mask or social distancing in most places.

Beshear said that on June 11 the state will return to 100% capacity for businesses, and no masks will be required for those who have had their shots. 

One popular tourism destination in Bowling Green is preparing to get back to normal.

Lost River Cave has had a silver lining during the pandemic. People flocked to the walking trails as outdoor spaces became a welcome , and safe, change from isolation and indoor restrictions. 

Worship online just isn't the same, even after a year of getting used to it. Yet widespread vaccinations haven't resolved all the questions of how to gather again, despite the eagerness of congregants to see each other again.

Churches have even upped their production quality. In a video produced for Facebook, the choir at the Temple Church in Nashville sings, spaced out, in the parking lot. Members like 73-year-old Rogers Buchanan watch the stream from their couches.

Kentucky Ending COVID-19 Restrictions June 11

May 14, 2021
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Kentucky will end the remaining COVID-19 restrictions beginning June 11, Gov. Andy Beshear said on Friday. 

On that date, the state will eliminate the mask mandate in most circumstances and restore all venues and events to 100% capacity limits. The additional month allows the opportunity for children ages 12-15 and others who have not yet been vaccinated to receive a shot before restrictions end, Beshear said.  

“Our war has been long. Our casualties have been heartbreaking, but victory is in sight and the end is near,” Beshear said. He later added, “let’s be clear, a return to full capacity could raise the risk of exposure to those not vaccinated, but the solution is to get your vaccine.”

Med Center Health

Kentuckians are fairly evenly split on whether schools and workplaces should require students and employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a poll the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky released Friday.

The poll found 47% of Kentuckians thought it would be a “good idea” to require the COVID-19 vaccine for students to attend in-person school, while 50% thought it would be a “bad idea.” 

Meanwhile, Kentuckians are slightly more favorable to the idea that businesses should require employees to get vaccinated before returning to work in person: 52% said they thought it was a “good idea,” while 44% said they thought it was a “bad idea.” 

The poll surveyed 807 adults by telephone between Feb. 11 and March 12 — before the Pfizer vaccine gained authorization for use in children ages 12-15. Researchers say the margin of error is 3.5%.

Sonja Byrd

School districts across Kentucky have to decide by June 1 if they will have a “do-over” year to give students a chance to make up for the academic losses caused by the changing schedules and virtual learning during the pandemic.  

Decisions are being made soon at two school districts in western Kentucky. 

The opportunity for a “do-over” year comes under Kentucky Senate Bill 128, officially called the Supplemental School Year Program, that was contained in a bill signed by Governor Andy Beshear in March.

Students had to request the do-over year by May 1. 


Jess Clark

The head of Warren County Public Schools says he doesn’t support the district offering students a “do over” school year

Kentucky lawmakers approved legislation this year allowing students to apply for an extra year to retake courses in response to school disruptions related to the pandemic.  The decision whether to give students the supplemental year was left up to local school boards, but the decision would have to apply uniformly for all requests.  

WCPS Superintendent Rob Clayton said those decisions are best made at the school level on an individual basis.

“Anytime a parent wishes to consider retaining their student, we engage in conversations to look at both the positives and potential unintended consequences," explained Clayton. "My primary concern with the bill is the fact that it’s all or none.”


Updated May 13, 2021 at 5:49 PM ET

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that fully vaccinated adults can safely resume activities indoors or outdoors without masks or distancing, in gatherings large or small. The announcement marks a major milestone in the effort to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced the new guidance Thursday.

"You can do things you stopped doing because of the pandemic," Walensky said.

John Boyle

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel has recommended the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12. The decision follows the Food and Drug Administration’s extension of the vaccine’s emergency use authorization for children 12 to 15 years old on May 10. 

The Ohio Valley ReSource asked Vince Venditto, an expert in vaccine design, about the Pfizer study data collected in participants ages 12 to 15. Venditto previously responded to listener questions about the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. 

  

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.

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