Ky. Dept. for Public Health graph, relabeled by Ky. Health News; for a larger version, click on it
By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
Kentucky’s regional coronavirus vaccine sites will open March 1 to people in the 1C category, which includes essential workers, people 60 and older and those 16 and older with certain health conditions.
1C includes about 1.3 million Kentuckians, which will make it “seem like it’s really hard to get an appointment,” Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday, but he added, “That will loosen up.”
Beshear said the 51 regional vaccine sites will be asked to prioritize people 60 and older, and health departments will be asked to keep prioritizing those in the 1A and 1B categories, who are now getting shots.
Those two categories include residents and staff in long-term-care and assisted-living facilities, health-care personnel, anyone 70 and older, first responders, K-12 school personnel and child-care workers.
Beshear said 39 percent of all first doses so far have gone to people 70 and older, and 13.5% have gone to those 60 to 69. Nearly 92% of all Covid-related deaths in Kentucky have been in people 60 and older, according to the state Department for Public Health.
Health Commissioner Steven Stack said the state now has more than 360 vaccine locations, and more will be announced on Thursday. Click here
to find out when and where you can get vaccinated.
The daily vaccination report shows 583,754 Kentuckians have received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine. Because of the extreme weather, Beshear, received Kentucky only got 6,825 doses of vaccine last week, instead of the 71,000 it was expecting.
That means the state will receive the remaining estimated 65,000 doses this week in addition to the state’s regular weekly allotment. “This is a good test for us,” he said, in anticipation of the time when the state gets large shipments of the vaccines.
Daily numbers: With all of metrics used to measure the impact of the pandemic going down, Beshear said, “Provided this trend continues, we think we’re going to be able to provide some additional opportunity and some additional relief in the rules and the regulations that we have in place.”
Asked specifically about increasing restaurant capacity, an industry whose workers will fall under the 1C vaccination category, Beshear said that is “definitely under consideration,” but will likely happen in “small steps” of increasing restaurant capacity, now limited to 50%.
Beshear announced 530 new cases of the virus Monday, bringing the state’s seven-day rolling average to 1,152, down from 1,180 on Sunday. That is the lowest since Oct. 21, but most other states have declined more rapidly, so Kentucky’s new-case rate is eighth in the nation, according to The New York Times
The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the past seven days declined again, to 6.6%, down slightly from 6.72% on Sunday.
Beshear acknowledged that testing was limited last week, which could have contributed to the low number of cases, but added that it was a “real positive sign” that the positivity rate remained low.
Kentucky hospitals reported 870 people Covid-19 patients (down 32 from yesterday), 243 of them in intensive care (down 5); and 119 of those on ventilators (down 29).
Only one of the state’s 10 hospital readiness regions is using more than 80% of its intensive-care beds: Lake Cumberland, at 91%.
“They are going in a positive direction, perhaps the most positive since the pandemic began,” Beshear said of the state’s hospitals. “What that means is we’re doing a good job.”
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports
that more than 119,000 coronavirus vaccines have been administered in Lexington, with priority given to those 70 and older and that new hospitalizations for Covid-19 over the past week are lower than they’ve been since October.
Deaths were also down Monday. Beshear announced 13 new deaths from Covid-19, all of them confirmed as being caused by the disease. That brings the state’s death toll to 4,460.
Beshear paid tribute to the 500,000 Americans who have died from Covid-19.
“It is an almost unimaginable loss, worse than any war we’ve fought,” he said. “The tragedy that is this virus is very, very real. And while we have good news about the direction things are going, and we all ought to feel that, we’re going to emerge from this with a lot of scars inside and out.”
In other pandemic news Monday:
- Today’s 13 deaths were a Bullitt County man, 70; a Daviess County man, 56; two Fayette County men, 78 and 86; three Jefferson County women, 60, 81 and 83; three Jefferson County men, 74, 85 and 93; a Mercer County woman, 89; a Shelby County woman, 69; and a Shelby County man, 85.
- Counties with 10 or more new cases on Monday were Jefferson, 95; Fayette, 30; Oldham, 24; Campbell, 21; Kenton, 20; Boone, 19; Laurel and Warren, 15; McCracken, 14; Carter and Franklin, 13; Daviess and Knox, 11; and Scott, 10.
- In long-term care, 210 residents and 168 staff have active cases of the virus, with 26 residents and 21 staff testing positive Monday.
- A Montgomery County parent wants a judge to issue an emergency injunction against the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, calling the current rules that require middle- or high-school athletes who test positive to self-isolate for up to three weeks “unconstitutional” and “inconsistent” with the rules set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other sporting leagues, Ayana Archie reports for the Louisville Courier Journal. The lawsuit asks that Kentucky schools follow the same rules as the Southeastern Conference, which says an athlete is not required to quarantine after seven days if they test negative for the virus on day five, six or seven, or the quarantine can end without a test after 10 days with no symptoms.
- A new CDC study shows that teachers and staff may play a “central role” in transmitting the coronavirus in schools where social distancing isn’t followed and face masks are not worn. “Educators played an important role in the spread of Covid-19 in the schools. Covid-19 spread often occurred during in-person meetings or lunches and then subsequently spread in classrooms,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters at a briefing Monday. “The two main reasons for the spread of Covid-19 in these schools were inadequate physical distancing and mask adherence in the schools.”