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.