Dept. for Public Health map, relabeled by Ky. Health News; for a larger version click on it.
By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
Kentucky’s coronavirus vaccine supply will increase by 29 percent next week, and the amount being sent through the federal pharmacy program will double, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Tuesday.
The latest increase means the weekly vaccine supply will be about 87,860 doses, up from 53,800 when vaccine rollouts first began the week before President Joe Biden took office . Since the Biden administration took office, supply has increased 57%, Beshear said: “That is moving in the right direction.” The overall increase since the start of the rollouts has been 63%.
Also, the federal pharmacy program, which serves 78 Walgreens branches and 47 independent pharmacies that are part of the Good Neighbor Pharmacy brand, is doubling its weekly doses from 13,000 to 26,000, Beshear said.
The state vaccination report shows 542,394 Kentuckians have received their first “shot of hope,” including more than 70,000 in the week beginning Feb. 9, Beshear said, “so this vaccination machine is working.”
Beshear said the Kroger regional vaccination sites are reopening, after closing because of the bad weather. He said the regional site in Frankfort is set to open Wednesday and those in Lexington, Covington and Bowling Green are to reopen on Thursday, despite a bad weather forecast.
“We’re gonna do everything in our power to keep our regional sites open these next days,” he said. “We’ve already had to reschedule too many appointments.”
Monday, Beshear announced that child-care workers would be moved to Phase 1B of vaccination, along with people 70 and older, first responders and K-12 personnel, who are being prioritized now.
Beshear again called for patience from those who aren’t yet able to get a vaccine, but did say Phase “1C is coming, and it’s coming soon.” This group includes all essential workers, anyone 60 and older and anyone 16 or older with certain health conditions.
Daily numbers: Beshear reported 1,255 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the state’s seven-day rolling average to 1,384, the lowest it’s been since Oct. 25.
This is also the first time a seven-day period has had fewer than 10,000 cases in initial, unadjusted reports since Oct. 26.
Beshear said five cases of more contagious variants of the virus have been reported in the state: one in Jefferson County and four in Northern Kentucky. He said he thinks the state can ward off a surge in cases from such variants because Kentuckians “are wearing masks better than ever” and because of the “urgency” the state has placed on vaccination.
The percentage of people testing positive for the virus in the past seven days is stable, having increased by .01 point since Monday to 6.58%.
At 935, hospitalizations for Covid-19 are the fewest since Oct. 29. There are 272 people in intensive care (down by 14 from yesterday) and 133 of those are on a ventilators (up by one).
Two of the state’s 10 hospital readiness regions have more than 80% of their intensive-care beds in use: the easternmost region, 81.6%, with 23.5% of those beds used by Covid-19 patients; and Lake Cumberland, 91.1%, with 26.7% used by Covid-19 patients.
Beshear reported 27 more deaths from the disease, 24 of them confirmed and three of them probable. That brings the state’s death toll to 4,318.
Despite Tuesday’s spike, death averages went down. The average for the last 14 days is 36.1, down from 36.5 yesterday; the seven-day average is 27.4, down from 28.6.
Beshear said he would need to see a continued decrease in cases and the positive-test rate before rolling back some of the capacity restrictions he has placed on businesses to thwart spread of the virus.
“We want to make sure that when we’re doing a good job, that people continue those practices, but that we also recognize the good job that’s being done,” he said.
|New York Times chart, labeled by Ky. Health News; click to enlarge|
Despite its falling case numbers, Kentucky’s rate of new cases continues to rank high among the states. A New York Times compilation shows Kentucky’s rate in the last seven days is sixth highest.
Beshear said only 63 of the state’s 120 counties are in the red zone for counties averaging 25 or more new cases per 100,000 residents in the last seven days.
The state’s overall incidence rate is 27.83 per 100,000 residents. (Calculations of rates by the state and the Times differ.) Counties with twice that rate are McCreary, 59.7 per 100,000; Clinton, 61.5; Metcalfe, 62.4; Russell, 69.3; and Owsley, 74.4. The Times lists additional counties.
Asked by Kentucky Health News if the state is doing anything to help the hottest counties bring their rate down, Beshear said those counties are still asked to follow the red-zone recommendations, but at this time the state has not targeted any guidance on them.
He added that the state is willing to work with any local government that asks for help, and with fewer red counties on the list, some form of direct intervention might be something the state could consider.
In other coronavirus news Tuesday:
- The 27 fatalities were two Barren County women, 61 and 91; a Bath County woman, 71; two Boone County men, 54 and 65; a Boyd County woman, 70; two Daviess County women, 57 and 78; a Daviess County man, 67; an Edmonson County man, 63; a Fayette County man, 65; a Harlan County woman, 92; a Harlan County man, 66; a Jefferson County woman, 71; three Kenton County women, 76, 83 and 90; a Madison County woman, 69; a Mason County woman, 72; a Mercer County man, 81; an Ohio County woman, 65; a Powell County man, 87; a Pulaski County woman, 69; a Rowan County man, 79; a Shelby County man, 74; a Warren County woman, 86; and a Wayne County woman, 67.
- Counties with 10 or more new cases were Jefferson, 217; Fayette, 129; Kenton, 56; Boone, 51; Hardin, 50; Warren, 42; Shelby, 41; Daviess, 34; Campbell, 30; Nelson, 27; Clark, 25; Christian, 24; Bell and Montgomery, 22; Bullitt and Madison, 21; Rowan, 20; McCracken, Pike and Taylor, 15; Grant, 14; Franklin, Henderson and Knott, 13; Letcher and Logan, 12; Jessamine and Perry, 11; and Barren, Estill, Johnson, Knox and Scott, 10.
- In long-term care, 249 residents and 186 staff have an active case of the virus, with seven new resident cases and 13 new staff cases announced today. Beshear attributed five more deaths of long-term-care residents to Covid-19, bringing the total to 2,229.
- The Louisville Courier Journal provides an easy-to-read list of the 19 regional Covid-19 vaccination sites and their addresses. Sarah Ladd also reports on what to know if your vaccination appointment was canceled because of weather.
- Snow and ice information is available at snowky.ky.gov and information on road conditions is available on goky.ky.gov.
- Tenants in most counties can apply for rent and utility assistance to cover their past-due and future bills through the Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund at teamkyhherf.ky.gov. To apply in Fayette County, go to covid19renterhelp.org; to apply in Jefferson County, go to stopmyeviction.org. Beshear said tenants and landlords should both apply.
- WKYT-TV offers a Question and Answer page on its website that answers all kinds of questions about the coronavirus vaccine. Today’s Q&A addresses caregivers, Walmart vaccine sign-ups, Phase 1C vaccination and pharmacy programs.