coronavirus

President Biden has finalized deals to buy 200 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer and Moderna by the end of July, increasing the likelihood of delivering on his promise to have all Americans inoculated by mid-summer.

Ryan Van Velzer

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday the opening of 156 new coronavirus vaccination sites in Kentucky.

Six of the new sites will serve as regional vaccination facilities, located in Adair, Carter, Franklin, Henderson, Lawrence and Union counties. Ten of the sites will be at Kroger stores throughout the state, and 15 more will be at Walmart stores.

A majority of the new locations will be operated at Walgreens and Good Neighbor independent pharmacies as part of a recently-announced federal program. Beshear said the program will administer 13,000 additional first doses a week at 125 pharmacies.

“We are expanding at a phenomenal rate,” he said. “We are very quickly covering the whole state to get to our desired outcome, where you never have to drive more than one county to get vaccines. We know that there’s more that we need to fill in.”

Abbygail Broughton

The Madison County health department in Kentucky has kept its harm reduction program open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to continue its work against the other epidemic afflicting the region: the addiction crisis. Through the program, people can exchange needles, receive referrals for addiction treatment services, and get training to use the overdose-reversal drug Narcan. 

Laura Nagle, a risk reduction specialist at the department, said they use a van to provide training and doses of Narcan in area communities such as Richmond. 

“The mobile unit is a part of Madison County’s harm reduction team, but [the University of Kentucky] provides the Narcan. So we actually couldn’t do this outreach if it weren’t for the HEALling Communities project,” Nagle said. 

  

John Boyle

 As Kentucky continues to vaccinate only first responders, teachers and people most vulnerable to the virus, some state lawmakers are pushing for Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration to move child care workers to the front of the line.

During a meeting of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, Paducah Republican Sen. Danny Carroll said he doesn’t understand why K-12 teachers are eligible for the vaccine, but child care workers aren’t.

“Our child care workers have been working daily ever since the child care centers were allowed to reopen,” Carroll said.

“So we’re vaccinating people to sit at home when you have another group who is working with kids, who is working every day, who can’t get the vaccine.”

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear has announced that three of the regional COVID-19 vaccination sites will be closed on Thursday due to the predicted ice storm that will make driving dangerous.

The Kroger regional vaccination sites at Greenwood Mall in Bowling Green, as well as the sites in Lexington and Covington will be closed.

Beshear said Kroger will contact those who have appointments and will reschedule them as soon as possible.

Gov. Beshear said the federal government is increasing Kentucky’s allocation of vaccines by another 6%  next week. That adds up to an increase of 28% in three weeks.

Gov. Beshear announced 2,339 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. That brings the total number of cases in the state to 381,121 since March.

J. Tyler Franklin

A bill that would shield businesses and schools from coronavirus-related lawsuits passed out of a Kentucky legislative committee on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 5 would protect businesses and other entities during the state of emergency from lawsuits unless they were grossly negligent or intentionally defied guidelines related to the pandemic.

Supporters argue the measure is needed to provide certainty for businesses reopening during the pandemic, but critics say it would undermine protections for consumers and workers.

Sen. Chris McDaniel, a Republican from Latonia and owner of a construction company, said businesses that have stayed open through the pandemic need more assurance they won’t be sued.

White House Office of National Drug Control

When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released drug overdose death data last December, it warned about the impacts the ongoing pandemic has had on the addiction crisis.

“The disruption to daily life due to the COVID-19 pandemic has hit those with substance use disorder hard,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said in a statement. “As we continue the fight to end this pandemic, it’s important to not lose sight of different groups being affected in other ways. We need to take care of people suffering from unintended consequences.”

Only four states in the U.S. saw a decline in overdose deaths. Deaths increased in the remaining states. The rate of overdose deaths in Kentucky increased by 27% and in West Virginia by 31.7% — both were higher than the national increase of 21%. 

Kentucky COVID-19 Cases Continue To Decline

Feb 8, 2021
Stephanie Wolf

New cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky continue to trend downwards alongside declining test positivity rates and hospitalizations.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced 1,003 new cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky on Monday, which is the smallest daily total since Dec. 26, and before that, October. Beshear said the latest numbers cap off four weeks of declining cases — a first in the pandemic.

“This is the first time we have seen a decrease and from the top, even a significant decrease,” Beshear said.

The state’s test positivity rate continued to improve and is now below 8%. Uncontrolled spread of the virus is now reported in 95 counties, which, while not great, is an improvement. For months, nearly all of Kentucky’s 120 counties have reported uncontrolled spread, which occurs when active cases top 25 per 100,000 residents.

Blood Assurance

TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital is hosting a community blood drive in Bowling Green on Tuesday, Feb. 9,  to help reverse a nationwide decrease in donors during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Blood Assurance, a regional non-profit blood center, is conducting the drive. Account Manager Bob Murray said donors will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies, which few donors actually possess.

“Even though you may have felt bad or felt like you had the flu or COVID back in September, we’re finding most people are still negative for those antibodies," Murray said.

Corinne Boyer

Since 2012, the 2nd Chance Center for Addiction Treatment has served people in Lexington, Kentucky. The office sits on a busy street on the city’s north side. Similar to the heavy traffic that passes by, clients seeking treatment for substance and opioid use disorders steadily stream in and out of the building.

But in 2020, the clinic had to limit that flow of patients as it changed its protocols to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions. Group therapy and individual counseling meetings stopped. In-person meetings moved to online video calls as telehealth appointments became an alternative. 

For one 2nd Chance client receiving treatment, the pandemic’s disruption has been searing. 


Stephen Jerkins | WPLN

Whether someone is in the country legally will have no bearing on whether they get a COVID-19 vaccine in Tennessee, says the state’s health commissioner.  

Dr. Lisa Piercey says people also don’t have to show what county they live in, or for that matter, that they’re a resident of Tennessee. 

“We are not denying vaccine to anyone who shows up at our site and is in phase,” she tells WPLN News. “This is a federal resource, and if you’re in this country, then you get a vaccine.”

There was hesitation among some undocumented immigrants about COVID testing for fear identifying information would be shared with law enforcement – and in some cases it was. Piercey says she expects similar hesitancy with vaccinations, so she says local health departments will work with trusted community groups to vouch for the process or even administer the shots.

Stephanie Wolf

Kentucky has surpassed another grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic. Saturday Gov. Andy Beshear reported the state’s death toll from COVID-19 has now reached more than 4,000 people. Beshear reported 49 new deaths, bringing total deaths to 4,020. 

The state marked 3,000 deaths just weeks ago in mid-January.

The governor also reported another 1,998 new cases. The state’s seven-day average of new cases has been on the decline after a post-holiday surge. But public health officials are worried about Super Bowl gatherings becoming super-spreader events, and are warning people to avoid hosting or attending Super Bowl parties.

Across the state, 1,294 people are hospitalized with the virus. Of those people, 318 are in the ICU and 164 are on a ventilator.

greenwoodmall.com

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has announced four new regional vaccination sites, including one in Bowling Green and one in Glasgow.

The Bowling Green vaccination site is at Greenwood Mall at the former Sears building.  That site will be open weekly Thursday through Saturday.

The location is through a partnership with Kroger. Scheduling an appointment can be done online.

An appointment at the Greenwood Mall site can also be made by calling 866-211-5320.

The second site is in Glasgow at the T.J. Health Pavilion. The schedule for vaccinations has not yet been released. Information is available online, or by calling 270-659-1010.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday that COVID-19 cases are continuing to drop in Kentucky, though deaths remain high due to surges over the past several weeks.

Beshear reported 2,500 new cases on Thursday. Four weeks ago, the daily total was nearly 5,000.

The test positivity rate dropped to 8.37%, the lowest in over a month. Beshear said the steady decline shows the state is limiting spread.

“If we stay on this track, we’re going to have fewer cases this week than we did last week, which will give us four straight weeks, for the first time of this pandemic, with declining cases,” he said.

Alexandra Kanik

The Ohio Valley ReSource has added new measures to its COVID Data Tracker, including a county-level map of infection hot spots, indicators of hospital capacity, and a demographic breakdown of cases and deaths. These new functions provide a more in-depth view of the spread of the infections in Kentucky.

This map shows county-by-county hot spots, infection spread, case burden, positivity rates and deaths per capita. The data shows that a majority of counties in the state still remain in what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls ‘sustained hot spots,’ meaning these counties are seeing a high number of cases per capita that could potentially put a great deal of pressure on the local health care system.

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