As your group gets closer to having the option of getting the COVID-19 vaccine, a flier presented by Advocare Woodbury Pediatrics in Wenonah, New Jersey was created to help better understand how the vaccine works and its potential side effects.
As you begin to weigh your options, you may ask yourself 'does the good outweigh the bad?' For those that have experienced the virus, most would advise to get the vaccine. There are long-term lasting effects from getting COVID-19 and those lasting effects are explained in the flier.
Hopefully, we'll all have the option to get the vaccine sometime in the spring. Until then, it's important to keep yourself safe by wearing masks, social distancing, and washing your hands.
Christmas is in the books. One more big holiday to go.
Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner for the Kentucky Health and Human Services extended a thank-you for those Kentuckians that limited their in-person holiday celebrations as a way to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“Your sacrifices are appreciated and a gift of kindness to your loved ones and your neighbors as we keep this dreadful disease from spreading more rapidly. Please make sure you’re familiar with symptoms of this virus, and if you aren’t feeling well, please stay home until you are better or see a health care provider.” said Dr. Stack.
Governor Andy Beshear said the positivity rate is going down and on Christmas Day, the rate dropped below 8%. Sunday's positivity rate was 8.06%
If you've been busy with the Christmas rush and haven't had much opportunity to read the latest updates, Thursday's report did reveal the second highest reported total for deaths among Kentuckians. Fifty-three died on Christmas Eve.
KY COVID-19 Report Sunday, December 27
Cases: Total 257,063
New Cases: 1,509
New Cases under 18: 181
New Deaths: 21
Current COVID-19 Hospital Census
On Ventilator: 217
Current Overall Capacity
Inpatient Beds: 7,492 Occupied, 5,766 Available, 56.55% Occupancy
ICU Beds: 1,121 Occupied, 682 Available, 62.2% Occupancy
Ventilators: 603 Occupied, 1,170 Available, 34% Occupancy
Region 1: Ballard, Caldwell, Calloway, Carlisle, Crittenden, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Livingston, Lyon, Marshall, McCracken, Trigg
Hospital Patient Usage:
Region 1: COVID-19 Inpatient 67, COVID-19 ICU 29, COVID-19 On Vent 15, Inpatient Capacity Used for COVID-19...11%, ICU Capacity Used for COVID-19...28.4%, ventilator Capacity Used for COVID-19...15.2%,
Inpatient Capacity in Use is 55.18%
ICU Capacity in Use is 58.80%
Ventilator Capacity in Use is 24.34%
Kentucky gets a nod from the Washington Post as the only state in the country seeing better results in its efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. In today's edition of the Post, a grim statistic was shared. On the National war against C-19, a death happens every 33 seconds. "In every state but Kentucky, more intensive care unit beds are in use than were in use three months ago." Governor Andy Beshear said its good to hear that what we've been doing as a state is paying off.
Beshear said this isn't a time to slack-off. The White House task force is recommending that everyone over the age of 65 with heart, lung, or kidney disease must wear a mask when indoors. Governor Andy Beshear said, "There's so much disease out there," that its imperative to wear a mask.
The Governor reported COVID-19 weekly case statistics. He said, "For two straight weeks the number of positive cases is decreasing. We are stabilizing." He reported that the positivity rate is running around eight-and-a-half percent. That the hospitalization capacity is down from four regions in the red to two. This is referring to the number of regions that have ICU beds at or above 80% capacity.
Todays COVID-19 numbers Monday, December 21 are as follows:
1,988 new positive cases
244,297 total positive cases since March
8.64% positivity rate
411 ICU beds
In western Kentucky, there were two deaths in Lyon County and two deaths in Caldwell County. There have been 2,412 Kentuckians that have lost their life to COVID-19.
There's a new vaccine link on ky.gov. Information will be gathered each week on vaccine distribution and immunizations. The weekly report, Monday through Friday, can be monitored on the website. The data doesn't include long term care vaccines. For the week ending Friday, December 18:
Phase 1 distribution of 23,475
Doses administered statewide 7,319
Available to be administered 16,156
Remember for the holidays, group gatherings should be no more than eight people from two different households. Dr. Steven Stack, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Public Health reiterated the importance of keeping within the guidelines. He said it's important that Kentuckians follow recommendations to prevent further prevent the spread of disease.
Dr. Stack briefly discussed the vaccine distribution. He said, "We could prevent nearly three-quarters of the deaths in Kentucky if we get those over 70 immunized." The CDC has recommended that front-line healthcare workers, long term care patients and staff, and now adults over the age of 75 and other essential workers should be next in line, according to recommendations by the CDC advisory panel. Stack said there have been patients that don't fit into any of these categories asking their physician to give them the shot. Dr. Stack is asking everyone to cooperate and follow the CDC recommendations.
As of 12:45 pm on Friday, December 18, the Purchase District Health Department is reporting the following information on positive COVID-19 active cases, new positive cases and deaths. Starting with December 4, all active cases are reported on Fridays.
Positive Tests in Kentucky: 190, 277
McCracken County: 429 active cases/3,698 total positives
Ballard County: 37 active cases/338 total positives
Carlisle County: 39 active cases/301 total positives
Fulton County: 9 active cases/302 total positives
Hickman County: 50 active cases/301 total positives
Purchase District Recoveries: 4,302
The Purchase District Health Department received the following data based on new positive case numbers for Friday, December 18 relative to age and gender per county:
Unfortunately, this isn't an uncommon sight this year. COVID-19 has caused more families to turn to non-profit organizations for extra help during the cold, winter months. On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, Family Service Society in Paducah is giving away free food. The non-profit organization signed up more than 200 families to participate in the free food 'drive-by.'
Volunteers have been packing paper bags with non-perishable items. The line of cars has ebbed and flowed over the the past two days. The bags full of food are identified by different letters representing different households.
What does Family Service Society do?
Family Service Society provides assistance to people in the Paducah/McCracken County area. Primarily, the service offers assistance with basic needs like food, clothing, medications, personal hygiene items, or household goods. They also help with special needs for Christmas food assistance since schools will be on Christmas break.
Family Service is the second oldest non-profit agency in Paducah. The organization is there for those struggling with items many of us take for granted. Since COVID-19 began shuttering businesses and jobs have been drying up, non-profit agencies around the country have been trying to meet the growing needs of families in crisis.
If you're interested in donating, there's a resource online that accepts credit and debit cards. Click on this link: fsspaducah.com.
COVID-19 updates on Monday, December 14 in Kentucky covered vaccine distribution, Moderna vaccine, COVID-19 numbers, Healthy at Home Relief Fund, and Healthy at School plan. Governor Andy Beshear said, “Today is a historic day in the commonwealth. We are at the beginning of the end of our war with COVID-19”.
Earlier today, Beshear was at the U of L Hospital as UPS delivered the vaccines packed in dry ice for extra cold care. The Governor watched as five U of L Health doctors and nurses received their vaccine in public and in front of the media.
The first batch of 12,500 vaccines are being distributed to hospitals around the state for high-risk hospital workers. Another 25,000 (for a total of 38,500) from the first shipment of Pfizer's BioNtech will go to CVS and Walgreens for distribution to long-term care facilities. The Governor said he would like to have all long-term care residents and staff in the state vaccinated within the next two months. Sixty-six percent of all deaths in Kentucky have been in long-term care facilities. Their first shipment should be received next week.
The first hospitals to receive the vaccine included U of L Health, Baptist Health in Lexington and the Medical Center in Bowling Green. Beshear said, “U of L got it (the vaccine) first because that’s where the airport was.” Eleven hospitals will get a shipment this week including today, Tuesday, and Wednesday. In western Kentucky, Madisonville will get their vaccine shipment on Day 2 and Lourdes in Paducah will get theirs on Day 3 or Wednesday, December 16.
Beshear said, “This is a great day.” Not only has Kentucky begun vaccinations, the state is seeing some positive results on decreasing the positivity rate of the virus. Today’s rate is 8.58%. The Governor said the recent aggressive steps taken to curb the spread of COVID-19 is paying off. According to Beshear, Kentucky very easily could’ve doubled or tripled the number of positive cases without such drastic measures.
On Monday, there were 1,802 reported positive cases of COVID-19 and 17 deaths. Beshear also shared a new Monday report based on regional hospital data. Western Kentucky hospitals are reporting inpatient beds at 62.6% capacity, ICU beds at 69.6% capacity, and ventilators at 30% capacity.
Moderna is scheduled to distribute 150,000 vaccines to Kentucky once approved. The data is showing a 95% efficacy same as Pfizer's data.
The Healthy at Home Relief Fund that helps Kentuckians facing eviction and property owners losing rent dollars has several million dollars available in assistance. The window to apply for aid is open for the next 24 to 48 hours. The Governor said he would like to see ‘the money out the door’ by December 31.
Schools will continue with virtual learning this week with plans to return after January 4, 2021. The Governor is recommending that schools wait to go back to in-person learning on January 11, 2021. The Governor stated that people will be celebrating Christmas and New Year’s together and it would be good to have the extra week to help negate a super spreader. Beshear repeated that this is a recommendation and not a mandate.
The Governor said they’ve been working on a plan for schools to continue meeting in-person even after remaining in the red zone. It’s a combination of aggressive hybrid models and virtual learning. If the county begins to see an increase in cases, the hybrid models should begin decreasing the number of students and staff in any given building keeping capacity to a minimum. For the most part, the current Healthy in School guidelines will remain mandatory. The Dashboard system will be required for all schools beginning January 4, 2021. The executive orders should be out this week.
Governor Andy Beshear reported over 4,000 positive COVID-19 cases in Kentucky on Thursday. He said the positivity rate is going down, which is a big factor in lifting current restrictions. The Governor said we'll move forward resuming indoor dining for restaurants at 50% capacity.
Since November 23, restaurants and bars have been prohibited from serving customers indoors limiting service to outdoor dining, delivery, and curbside. On Monday, restaurants will open their in-door operations and patrons will be required to wear masks except when eating and drinking. Service will need to end at 11 pm each night closing doors at midnight.
The positivity rate is now at 9.13%. The Governor reported 28 deaths on Thursday for a total of 2,146 Kentuckians losing their lives to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. There are 1,756 hospitalizations, 442 people in ICU, and 231 on ventilators. All but one county in Kentucky, Menifee county is in the red zone.
The Governor is calling on ‘personal responsibility’ to help fight the pandemic. He said state officials, business owners, the media, everyone needs to be part of slowing the spread of the virus through the mandated mask policy, social distancing, and washing your hands. Beshear said, “The data has shown that the steps we are taking are working.”
Beshear said they’re working on a plan for students to go back in the classroom safely while counties remain in the red zone. Next week, the Governor said they should have more clarity. He defended his reasoning behind the virtual instruction mandate saying that prior to returning to virtual learning there were over 10,000 students across the state of Kentucky in quarantine.
The Governor said over the last seven days the data has shown that the restrictions are working. He believes that we’re far enough past the Thanksgiving break that it shouldn’t start a super spreader event. He thinks we dodged a bullet.
“Kentucky could start giving our vaccines as early as next week,” said Beshear. The FDA vaccine advisory panel is meeting today discussing the findings from the Phase 3 trials and determining if the Pfizer vaccine is ready for distribution.
The Governor said healthcare workers and long-term care facilities will be the first to receive the option to get the COVID-19 vaccine. He said that 66% of deaths have occurred in long-term care facilities and 25% have occurred outside these settings in people 65 years and older. That’s 90% of the population dying from COVID-19 related illness.
Dr. Stack discussed the stress being placed on hospitals. There are four areas in Kentucky where hospitalization is high. He said people have asked the question could patients be transported to hospitals with fewer cases. Dr. Stack pointed out that it takes quite a bit of effort to transfer patients in normal times and this is happening during a pandemic.
Indiana is looking for help from Kentucky. Their hospitals are at the brink and would like to transfer patients across the river into Kentucky. He said Kentucky we'll do all we can, however our hospitals are under stress too.
Personal responsibility is the key to keeping Kentucky safe and open. Hospitals are pushing their limits. Let's do all we can Kentucky to be part of the solution and not the problem.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear and his wife in front of the First United Methodist Church in Frankfort on Monday, December 7.
Monday’s numbers for positive COVID-19 cases in Kentucky are lower than the previous two Mondays. Governor Andy Beshear shared that the rate of case growth over the past three weeks is declining. He said that this is a good sign that the restrictions for the state to slow the spread of infection is working. There's still some concern over the gatherings and travel that happened over Thanksgiving break.
What does this mean for Kentucky residents and the current restrictions due to widespread positive COVID-19 cases?
The executive order in place still limits social gatherings to eight people with no more than two families intermingling. If people follow the guidelines, the effect could be a positive one.
The Governor doesn’t see extending the latest executive order regarding restaurant indoor dining and gyms/venues limited capacities. The order expires on December 13 at midnight.
Schools are to continue with virtual instruction until after the holidays. There’s a caveat to the in-person instruction for those schools that want to meet in smaller groups to advise, tutor, help students catch up on assignments. Schools that need to bring smaller groups in one at a time for in-person teaching assistance may do so at 15% capacity according to KDE (Kentucky Department of Education) guidelines.
Once the FDA advisory panel has approved the COVID-19 vaccines for emergency authorization, the Governor expects shipments of the Pfizer vaccines to arrive in Kentucky December 13-19. There will be 38,025 doses which will go to front-line healthcare workers delivered directly to the hospitals and long-term care facilities which will be managed by two pharmacy chains.
After the approval of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, shipments would begin later in December. The FDA advisory panel is expected to review Phase 3 clinical data on December 17. Kentucky will receive 76,700 doses of the vaccine first go-around. Expectations are the week of December 20-26. The second allocation from Moderna would be received the last week of December, according to Governor Beshear.
On Monday, there were just under 2,000 reported positive cases of COVID-19, 1,700 hospitalizations, 410 ICU, 210 on ventilators, and 10 deaths.
Kentucky has reported 202,592 COVID-19 cases and 2,082 deaths since the pandemic first appeared in our state. Earlier Monday, a memorial was held. The memorial service began with a solo performance of “How Great Thou Art”, a prayer, and a speaker sharing the recent loss of his brother to COVID-19.
“My brother Rob loved his Reds. They could be 0 and 60 and he still would be cheering on the Reds. That’s why we’re wearing a Reds facemask today. Rob believed that Covid wouldn’t come to Carter County. He didn’t believe it was necessary to wear a mask. Sunday, in early august, I got contacted by my brother Rob. He was being taken by ambulance to King’s Daughters in Ashland. They gave him excellent care. After his symptoms got worse, he got transferred to UK hospital. They would prepare him for getting on a ventilator. I said goodbye to my brother while driving on I-64 in my car as he was being transported by ambulance.” said Chris Perry.
Perry then turned to Governor Beshear and said, "We know you’re doing the best for the commonwealth. Those that don’t support you, haven’t lost someone to Covid.”
Rob Perry was 56 years old when he died of COVID-19. He was a godly man but didn’t believe in wearing a mask. He had comorbidities like COPD and diabetes meaning he was immunocompromised. Just before he died, he asked the Lord if he should live, he would wear a mask every time he was in public. Unfortunately, he didn’t get that opportunity.
The Governor also spoke during the memorial service. He said “Covid-19 has been the challenge, maybe the war of our time. We’ve fought back.” He said we acted in July when the southern states took on a second wave. He said it’s the third great battle that we must win. He continued, “It has been painful. But it is necessary. Action is Painful. Inaction is deadly.”
“We mourn each special individual taken from us. Pray for healing. We’ve lost loved ones that died lonely circumstances. Recommit to protecting our fellow human beings during our final months of this battle.” concluded Governor Beshear.
Emergency authorization of COVID-19 vaccine lingers as providers answer community concerns via Facebook
Around the time the UK Wildcats were slammed by the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Dr. J. Kyle Turnbo and his wife Nicole sat down in the comfort of their home for a ‘live’ Facebook chat with friends, family, colleagues, and the community. As the COVID-19 vaccine awaits emergency authorization from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the Turnbo’s offered their time and expertise based on drug manufacturers’ press releases and other findings.
Dr. Turnbo and Nicole Turnbo RN have been very accessible to the media by answering the community's questions and giving information via social media. On Saturday, December 5, Nicole sent out a Facebook post asking friends and family if they would be interested in a ‘live’ Facebook chat to answer questions about the Covid vaccines. And, if there’s interest, what are some of those questions. Everybody jumped online with a definitive ‘yes’ for the opportunity to learn more. Sunday morning, Nicole posted to tune in at 5 pm.
On Tuesday, December 8, information on the phase 3 trials will be released. The FDA vaccine advisory panel will meet on December 10 to discuss the emergency authorization of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. If approved, distribution of the vaccine will begin immediately. On December 17, clinical data will be available for review of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine pending emergency use by the panel as well.
The first question discussed was the approval process for the vaccine. Some are concerned that the drug companies may have rushed to market and the vaccine may not be ready to go. Dr. Turnbo called it “unprecedented warp speed”.
Dr. T shared an example of 'warp speed' use regarding the polio vaccine. In 1955, Jonas Salk revolutionized the meaning of warp speed. A test group of 1.8 million children were in the trial phase. Children in the US, Canada, and Finland were given the vaccine. One year later, the vaccine was deemed safe and effective and became part of the childhood diseases vaccination protocols.
The C-19 vaccine has been in the Phase 3 stage for two months. Typically, it’s a six month phase, however, the need for the vaccine is immediate. During this Phase 3 trial, over 100,000 people have been vaccinated. For traditional vaccines, the majority of side effects happen within the first six weeks. Therefore, the two month trial falls within this timeline.
Another reason for the “unprecedented warp speed” is the new technology used to create the vaccine. The technology that has been studied for over a decade is messenger RNA vaccines or mRNA vaccines. The mRNA vaccine takes advantage of proteins to trigger an immune response of immunity to CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The benefits of the new technology includes the use of a non-infectious element, shorter manufacturing times, and the potential to target multiple diseases. “It’s revolutionary,” said Nicole.
According to Dr. Turnbo the safety data is “very impressive”. He’ll be able to take a look more closely when the trial information is released on December 8. In addition to side effect data, he said that the disease prevention looked ‘very good’ coming in at 95% effective. In addition, there were nearly 100% reductions in fatalities associated with the COVID-19 or serious symptoms. These findings are ‘significant.’
Another question was about how the vaccine is administered. Most have heard that there are two shots that need to be administered for the Pfizer and Moderna C-19 vaccine. Dr. Turnbo said the window of time for the second shot is 28-30 days. He also said that if you get your first shot from one of the drug companies, you need to stick with that brand for the second shot.
More Questions Answered
How long are you immunized? There’s no clear cut answer to this question since this is a new virus. Dr. Turnbo said, “Nobody knows but with 95% effectiveness one would assume six months to a year.”
Could someone get COVID-19 from the vaccine? Some said they got the flu after getting the flu vaccine. Dr. Turnbo said, “Nobody gets the flu from the flu vaccine. People get an immune response.” Possible side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine could be inflammation of the muscle at the injection site, flu-like symptoms, headache, low-grade fever. He said, “It sounds like coronavirus symptoms.” If you have some of these mild symptoms you know the vaccine is working. “Congratulations, you get immunity.” said Dr. Turnbo. Symptoms would only last a day or so.
What about ‘herd immunity’? Dr. T said, “No disease or virus has been completely eradicated naturally.”
Is there an advantage of getting the vaccine even if you’ve had COVID-19? The chances of having severe symptoms are lessened by getting vaccinated. We don’t know how long someone has the antibodies in their system to fight off the virus again.
Who will be the first to get vaccinated? More likely than not frontline healthcare workers that are in the Covid units will receive the first vaccine, as well as long-term care facilities. The Covid floors would include healthcare workers and those cleaning the patient rooms. For long-term care facilities, it would make sense for those taking care of residents to get the vaccine. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the residents.
Should the vaccine be mandatory? At this point, Dr. Turnbo doesn’t believe the vaccine should be mandatory. There’s still more to learn about the vaccine and time will make that determination.
Dr. T said, “If everything is approved by the advisory panel, I’ll be much more comfortable getting vaccinated myself and recommending it to my patients.” It’s risk and benefits.
U of L School of Dentistry and WKCTC are partnering to bring dental care access to lower-incomed adults in the local area.
Wanting to go to the dentist and needing to go to the dentist are polar opposites. A study by the ADA (American Dental Association) found that 35% of working adults had no plans to see a dentist in the coming year. Reasons are varied, however, cost, location, anxiety, and medicaid access were among the top reasons for not getting the necessary oral health care every person deserves.
The dental clinic program announced in January between The University of Louisville School of Dentistry and WKCTC is moving forward with the announcement of a new director Dr. Gregory S. Lord DMD. Dr. Lord is a graduate of the U of L School of Dentistry, a member of the faculty, and previous owner of the Lord Family Dental in Louisville, Kentucky.
The clinic will be the site for fourth year U of L dental students to practice within our community along with WKCTC dental assistant students using equipment already available at the college. U of L will provide expert oversight of care, supervision and management of dental clinic operations, while establishing fees, billing and collections.
In our region, dental care for those without dental insurance and/or Medicaid recipients is nearly impossible for adults. Children are an exception. There are children’s dentists in the local area that welcome those with Medicaid. Clinics like Colgan’s Pediatric Dentistry located down the road from WKCTC are excellent in caring for the oral health of local children, even those with Medicaid.
Adult dental care for those that don’t have dental insurance or are on Medicaid is a major problem. If you’re a person on Medicaid, most if not all, dental clinics in the purchase area make it very difficult to seek care resulting in patients giving up and doing without. If they do take Medicaid, your name gets placed on a waiting list. The patient is at the mercy of another insured patient’s cancelled appointment. The dental practice won’t give these patients a designated appointment time and if they do, it’s months and months out.
According to a study by the ADA, the top reasons why adults don’t seek dental care are cost and low perceived need regardless of income. For patients that don’t have insurance and aren’t on Medicaid, the out-of-pocket expense could be the difference between putting food on the table and taking care of your teeth. Other reasons for not going to see a dentist include lack of time, difficulty traveling to a dentist, and difficulty finding a dentist that accepts Medicaid.
The 2014 study found that one in five adults don’t seek oral health care because of the cost. One trip to the dentist for a cleaning and x-rays will cost close to $200. During a time when many are without work, especially during COVID-19, an expense this great won’t be a priority. In cases of emergency, by the time a patient has forced themselves to see a dentist due to unbearable pain, the damage could be extensive and the cost could break the bank.
The U of L Dentistry Clinic will be a welcome opportunity for patients caught in this vicious cycle. Hard working people with low wages who don’t qualify for Medicaid and have to pay by cash. Mother’s with children on Medicaid who are unable to secure an appointment with practices that claim to accept Medicaid. Taking care of your dental health is one of those preventative measures that keeps you from getting sick. It’s time for a local dental program to help those without means.
In the same study, it addressed the ‘no need’ for dental care reason for foregoing dental care too. It suggests more education in this area on the benefits of good oral health is a way to position the need to take care of our oral health.
The hiring of Dr. Lord and the new partnership between the two schools is badly needed in our area. Dr. T. Gerard Bradley, dean of the U of L School of Dentistry, said programs like these provide essential care to the community and help meet the curriculum of dental students. Bradley said, “We are pleased to begin our outreach in the Paducah community through the hiring of Dr. Lord. He’s a valuable member of our faculty, and his leadership and clinical expertise will help fulfill our educational mission and partnerships with WKCTS.”
Numbers continue to rise in Kentucky and Governor Andy Beshear said that according to John Hopkins, the state is close to being issued a travel advisory.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear was upbeat today, excited about the vaccine potential, however, reported grave numbers for COVID-19. Today was the second highest day in Kentucky for positive cases totaling 3,895. Of the almost 4,000 cases, 416 were children under the age of 18. The last three consecutive days have recorded the highest number of deaths. There were 34 deaths Thursday. Other numbers included 1,810 hospitalizations, 415 in the ICU, and 240 on ventilators. Total deaths 2,014.
The positivity rate is 10.07%. The Governor said, “According to the John Hopkins COVID-19 website, Kentucky is close to having its own travel advisory.”
Beshear said the Lexington community was hit hard today. As he read through the number of deaths by county, western Kentucky had a number of deaths too. McCracken County had its second day with over 100 positive COVID-19 cases. The Governor noted McCracken county as having a very high number of positive cases relative to our population. He said the virus is uncontrollable and unpredictable and we have to do our part to stop the spread by wearing our masks, social distancing, and staying at home if we're sick.
The Governor shared that our state has a firm distribution plan for the COVID-19 vaccine. There are 11 hospitals enrolled as COVID-19 vaccine providers. Beshear said other hospitals that wish to enroll as vaccine providers may do so at kycovid19.ky.gov. "We will learn a lot from these providers," said Beshear. It's believed that vaccinations could begin for front-line workers around December 15. See diagram below for hospitals in your area that will be the first vaccine providers.
According to clinical trials, the Pfizer vaccine has proven to be 94% effective. States will receive the first vaccine as soon as approval is received. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots...an initial shot and a booster. The federal government will hold on to the booster until it’s time to have the second of two shots.
Hospitals will receive direct shipments for healthcare staff. Staff in the COVID-19 wing and staff in the ER will most likely be some of the first to receive the vaccine. Other staff members that may come in contact with the virus may be considered too. It's really up to the hospital to make those determinations. Beshear said a CEO at one of the hospitals has already determined who will get the vaccine. The Governor said, "They work in a system and have the knowledge to know who comes in the most contact with the virus."
The federal government has contracted with CVS and Walgreens to handle the long-term care vaccines.
The Governor said he doesn’t expect to renew the order or extend the order concerning in-person dining after December 14. However, restaurants need to do their part by enforcing the mask mandate. The mask mandate will be renewed. Gyms will also have to require members to wear masks. Beshear said it's been proven that it can safely be done.
The Governor said that virtual learning will continue for those counties that are still in the red zone past December 7. There are seven eligible counties that can resume in-person learning on the elementary level. Elementary schools were posed to go back into the classroom on December 7 if their counties were no longer in the red zone. Middle and high school students will continue virtual learning until after Christmas break.
Lourdes Hospital in Paducah, KY will be one of the first COVID-19 vaccine providers
“There’s no way to sugarcoat it. Today is the very worst day we have had for reporting on the spread of the coronavirus and it is the deadliest day that we have had,” said Gov. Beshear.
Monday, December 1 there were 4,151 new cases reported, 35 deaths, positivity rating of 9.59%, 1,943 total deaths, 1,777 current hospitalizations, 441 in ICU, and 241 on a ventilator.
The Governor said, “This is exponential growth. If we don’t all do our part, if we try to be the exception, then slowing down this thing won’t work and we will lose a lot more Kentuckians we love and care about.”
These staggering numbers are keeping the majority of Kentucky counties in the red zone. The counties with the highest number of new positive COVID-19 cases consist of eight counties with more than 100 cases. McCracken County is one of the eight.
Mark Carter, policy adviser for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services said that the staff of 1,600 contact tracers have completed 215,000 daily check-ins with COVID-19 positive Kentuckians and have identified another 47, 000 as those potentially exposed to the virus.
Carter said unfortunately with some success comes some setbacks. The tracers need cooperation from the general public. When a contact tracer calls, answer the phone, wear your masks, social distance, get tested. Carter said, "We simply haven’t had enough participation from the public and the resulting surge has overwhelmed contact tracing capacity."
The Governor announced that the Kentucky Department for Local Government is releasing an additional $50 million in CARES Act funding to reimburse city and county governments for expenses related to COVID-19. Approximately 200 cities and counties are eligible because they have already exhausted their original allotment and have remaining eligible reimbursements.
To apply, eligible local governments will follow the Department for Local Government’s original application process, which is outlined on its website.
Beshear updated Kentuckians on the latest vaccine distribution information. He said there's a draft Kentucky vaccination plan that will include planning phases, critical populations, and vaccine provider enrollment and administration. A communication plan is underway to provide families with more intel on the vaccines.
For more information on today's COVID-19 update, click on this link: kentucky.gov