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