The governor showed video of faith leaders getting vaccinated; their names were included in a news release. The other photo shows the governor and his wife, Britainy Beshear, with memorial flags.
By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
Working toward the day when there is enough vaccine supply for everyone, Kentucky is opening four more high-volume vaccination sites, bringing the state’s total to eight, with more in the works.
“Now, we’re not fully there yet, but we’re gonna continue to work on it,” Gov. Andy Beshear said at the week’s last news briefing. “And if you look through the progression of where we even were a week ago, and you look at where we are now, you see how this is coming together. So bear with us, but most importantly, have patience.”
Beshear reminded Kentuckians that the lack of supply remains the greatest obstacle, saying the state is working to vaccinate more than 3 million people with only 68,000 doses a week: “You can do the math.”
Meanwhile, the state’s coronavirus case numbers and positivity rate continue to trend down, but the death numbers remains high.
Beshear announced 2,500 new cases of the virus, the lowest on a Thursday in four weeks. He said the state is on track to have four consecutive weeks of fewer cases. The seven-day average is 2,312, the lowest since Nov. 14.
In another encouraging sign, the share of people who have tested positive for the virus in the past seven days is 8.37%, the lowest in more than a month.
But deaths remain “high, difficult and tragic,” Beshear said as he announced 58 more, 18 of them from long-term-care facilities. Today’s death count ties with Jan. 21 for the second highest day for deaths during the pandemic. The highest was 69 on Jan. 28.
The seven- and 14-day death averages are both 44.3; that is the second highest 14-day average. Today’s deaths took the state’s death toll to 3,921.
Beshear said many deaths listed Thursday were related to the surge of cases around the holidays. He said most are from January, some are from December and one or two are from November. Reporting is sometimes delayed, and deaths aren’t listed until they go through a committee to confirm they are related to Covid-19.
“This is a trend we have to stop,” he said. “We certainly need to slow it down, and each and every one of you can help by doing your part.”
Vaccines: The four new high-volume regional vaccination centers will be located in Covington, Bowling Green, Murray and Glasgow.
Two will open in partnership with Kroger Health, one at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington and the other at Greenwood Mall in Bowling Green. Both will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 11-13. Seven-day rolling appointments can be scheduled at kroger.com/covidvaccine or 866-211-5320.
Another site, with a long list of partners, will open at the Murray State University CFSB Center. The Murray site will be open from 8 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Feb. 10, and again on Wednesday, Feb. 17. To sign up for an appointment visit callowayhealth.org or call 270-753-3391.
The fourth site will be at the T.J. Health Pavilion in Glasgow. Beshear said the days and hours at this site are still being determined. He encouraged those looking for an appointment should check in regularly at tjregionalhealth.org, or call 270-659-1010.
Vaccinations for people 70 and older will also be available at more pharmacies and local health departments, Health Commissioner Steven Stack said.
He said a federal program will send about 13,000 doses to 80-100 Walgreens stores and 40-50 independent pharmacies with the Good Neighbor Pharmacy brand. Stack said he expects it will end up being about 100 doses per pharmacy. Stack said this program may begin as soon as next Thursday.
And for the next three weeks, starting Monday, Feb. 8, every health department will receive a vaccine allocation equivalent to 1% of the population of the county or district they serve, rounded to the nearest 100, with a minimum allocation of 100 per county. He said second doses will arrive four weeks later.
“The vaccine quantities, overall, are not enough for the task,” he said, “but this is still incremental progress.”
Beshear said the federal long-term-care vaccine program is opening up different ways it can be used, so the state is exploring how to expand the program to other senior living sites, like assisted living or group homes. He said they are finalizing a new program and promised details next week.
Again, Beshear and Stack encouraged Kentuckians to stay safe this Super Bowl weekend, encouraging them to keep their gatherings to no more than eight people from two households, to practice social distancing, to wear mask, to practice good hand hygiene and to stay home if they are sick.
Beshear honored the life of Tommie Speagle of Waco, in Madison County, who died at 96 on Saturday after battling Covid-19. She is survived by her daughter, Beverly Morefield, her two sons, Paul Bridewell and William Bridewell, her stepdaughter, Sandy Curl, her stepson, J.C. Speagle, six grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.
“While I’m sure it was a full life, it’s not okay that it was cut short by Covid-19,” Beshear said. “This is someone with a big, large, wonderful family that is really hurting today. And has been hurting since her passing. So let’s think about them. Let’s think about her. And let’s make sure we mask up for one another.”
In other coronavirus news Thursday:
- New fatalities listed were a Ballard County man, 85; a Boone County woman, 75; five Boone County men, 52, 67, 70, 72 and 74; a Bourbon County woman, 86; a Bullitt County woman, 79; a Daviess County woman, 88; a Daviess County man, 92; three Fayette County women, 58, 70 and 80; two Fayette County men, 76 and 86; two Franklin County women, 84 and 94; a Gallatin County woman, 74; a Graves County woman, 77; a Graves County man, 85; a Harlan County man, 69; a Hart County man, 75; three Jefferson County men, 38, 59 and 76; a Kenton County woman, 97; four Kenton County men, 68, 69, 85 and 97; a Lawrence County man, 78; four Letcher County women, 82, 85, 87 and 96; three Letcher County men, 63, 66 and 67; a Metcalfe County woman, 89; a Montgomery County man, 70; an Oldham County woman, 78; an Oldham County man, 39; two Perry County women, 71 and 85; two Pike County women, 78 and 79; two Pike County men, 73 and 89; a Pulaski County woman, 69; a Pulaski County man, 76; a Rockcastle County woman, 66; a Russell County man, 70; a Shelby County man, 80; a Simpson County woman, 77; a Taylor County man, 67; a Wayne County man, 65; and a Wayne County man, 80.
- Counties with 10 or more new cases were Jefferson, 400; Fayette, 165; Kenton, 162; Boone, 138; Madison, 112; Daviess, 82; Campbell and Warren, 75; Hardin, 52; Pike, 44; Clark, 40; Nelson, 37; Bell and Bullitt, 34; Letcher, 32; Barren, 30; Oldham, 29; Hopkins and Marshall, 28; McCracken and Washington, 25; Christian, 24; Boyd, Franklin, Grant and Laurel, 23; Henderson and Jessamine, 22; Scott and Whitley, 21; Graves, 20; Taylor, 19; Harrison, Shelby and Woodford, 18; Bourbon, Floyd, Greenup, Montgomery and Rowan, 17; Perry and Rockcastle, 16; Marion and Pulaski, 15; Anderson, Butler and Logan, 14; Allen and Knox, 13; Calloway, Grayson, Lawrence and Mercer, 12; Fleming, Garrard and Trigg, 11; and Hart and Ohio, 10.
- In long-term care, there are 380 active resident cases and 278 active staff cases, with 24 residents and 20 staff testing positive today. Beshear said two more deaths have been attributed to Covid-19 in these facilities, bringing the death toll to 2,183.
- There are 1,340 Covid-19 patients in Kentucky hospitals; 368 are in intensive care; and 171 of those are on ventilators.
- Four hospital-readiness regions’ ICU beds are more than 80% full: Barren River, 82.41%; northeast, 82.81%; east, 82.35%; and Lake Cumberland, 97.78%.
- Click here for the governor’s news release with updates on unemployment insurance.
- This week, 857 students and 307 staff have tested positive for the virus; 3,093 students and 478 staff are in quarantine, according to the K-12 school dashboard, which is getting sketchy; it shows 538 schools have submitted no data this week.
- Johnson & Johnson said Thursday that it had filed an application with the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization of its one-dose vaccine.
- The second dose of vaccine may cause more side effects than the first dose, including reactions like swelling at the site of injection, body aches, headache and fever, Maggie Fox reports for CNN. University of Arizona biology professor Michael Worobey explained that the first dose generates an immune response that produces antibodies “from the ground up” as well as immune cells called B cells. He said it is these B Cells that kick into gear with the second shot and create a “very big immune response” and that “is what is happening when people feel like they have been kicked in the teeth.” The Lexington Herald-Leader also offers an explainer for why people are seeing more side effects with the second dose.
- Sarah Ladd of the Louisville Courier Journal explores the inequities among Louisville ZIP codes when it comes to virus cases and vaccines. Beshear said Wednesday that Kentucky will start releasing demographic data for vaccines on Monday. Chelsea Jones of Lexington’s WKYT also reports on low vaccine rates among minority groups.