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.
The letter from Baptist Health Systems IN and KY was released hours ago late Thanksgiving Eve with a stark warning concerning hospital bed capacity.
It's been only hours and Baptist Health Systems KY and IN have publicized press releases for limited numbers of visitors within some of their hospitals as well as a stark warning about the limits to its resources in regards to critical care beds for COVID-19 patients.
As midnight approached on Thanksgiving Eve, there were at least two announcements made from the hospital system. According to a September 2020 report, Baptist Health Systems and its nine hospitals have 2,700 licensed beds. The system has been ranked among the top hospitals in patient care for a number of years. As information is being released by the Chief Medical Officers, it's time to take notice and heed warnings.
Beginning Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2020, Baptist Health in Paducah is initiating a no visitors policy. The hospital is restricting visitation to all COVID-19 patients, emergency department patients, inpatients and/or critical care patients, surgery and/or cardiac catheterization lab patients, and outpatient oncology treatment settings and radiation therapy.
There will be no visitors allowed at Baptist Health Group locations, with exceptions allowing one caregiver for children under the age of 18 and end of life patients. There will be exceptions and those are listed below.
In addition to the no visitor policy in our local area, the Chief Medical Officers for the entire Baptist Health Systems released a letter almost simultaneously. In the letter it said, "COVID-19 cases in our community is rapidly rising and our hospital beds are filling with those too ill to quarantine at home and care for themselves. It is critically important that we take action now."
The letter continues discussing how we can do better to stop the spread of COVID-19. The stark warning is going out on Thanksgiving eve as a cautionary tale for this Thanksgiving holiday. Don't mingle families. Stay at home. Mask up. These are just a few of the strong recommendations. The letter continues to say that there's no full proof way to stop the virus. That's why it's so important to implement them all.
Many of you know those that have suffered with the disease, are suffering with the virus, or have died. As we prepare to say our 'thanks' for the many blessings remember those that are going through the worst time of their lives. It's important to think of others.
As we shop for Christmas, remember all the warnings and recommendations heard for the Thanksgiving holiday. The same applies to shopping, family and friend gatherings, and all events that require participation from those outside the immediate family. Continued below are the limited exceptions to the no visitor restrictions at Baptist Health Paducah and the letter from the Chief Medical Officers KY and IN.
Dependent patients and patients under age 18 (the visitor must be a parent or guardian.)
Maternity/labor and delivery. One support person may accompany the mother to labor and delivery and their postpartum room.
Neonatal intensive care: The mother and a support person (two bracelet holders) will be allowed.
Hospice or end of life patients will be allowed one or two family members 24/7.
Clergy will be allowed for end of life and hospice patients.