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
In today's update, Governor Andy Beshear discussed the vaccine, distribution details, and the COVID-19 case numbers.
Currently, there are two companies with vaccines that are close to distribution: Moderna and Pfizer. In one particular Moderna trial, the Governor noted that for severe cases, the new vaccine was 100 percent effective. Beshear said that another positive outcome concerning the vaccine is that if the vaccine works the way it's supposed to, COVID-19 could be treated as one would treat a cold or flu.
Kentucky is due to get the first distribution of Pfizer's vaccine mid-December, pending approval. Afterwards, shipments will begin. Moderna's shipment of the vaccine is expected to reach the state as early as two weeks after the Pfizer shipment. Shipments will be limited, therefor, two groups will receive the first doses.
"We can go ahead and provide everybody with the first of these shots and then we will receive the boosters because the Pfizer vaccine, and Moderna take two separate shots separated by about three weeks," said Beshear.
After receiving the first shipment of 28,025 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, long-term care patients and staff will be the first to receive the inoculations. As it stands, approximately two-thirds of the deaths have occurred in long-term care patients. The next group to receive the vaccine will be the front-line healthcare workers. Kentucky expects to receive 76,700 doses from Moderna. All states are expected to give the federal government distribution plans by the end of the week.
Monday's new case numbers for COVID-19 are 2,124 new positive cases, 12 new deaths, and a positivity rate of 9.42%.
Sharrie's 'My heads all stopped up' remedy
Apothecary jar (or any wide mouth jar)
4 - 6 cotton balls
Organic Essential Oils: Peppermint, Lavender, and Lemon
In a wide mouth, clean jar place about 4-6 cotton balls. Drop equal amounts of the organic essential oils (usually 5-10 drops is good, depending on jar size): peppermint, lavender, & lemon. Close your eyes and inhale from the jar (start with jar several inches away at first until you find your tolerance level. It can be a bit strong). Exhale. Breath into the jar. This creates a helpful vapor.
Be sure and keep eyes closed. As you feel the effects of the vapor, it could sting the eyes. Take several breaths. Repeat as often as needed to help relieve sinus pressure, nasal allergy symptoms, headache...
This is an adult-only recipe as peppermint may cause breathing issues in very young children.
Sharrie Thompson is a RN and business owner of I.O.N. Wellness LLC (It's Only Natural). Her focus is to advance health and wellness knowledge while striving for optimal functioning of the body. Located in Paducah, her business may be found on Facebook.
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.
Overstressed hospitals and compliant patients: anticipating antibody infusions and shorter quarantine times
As progress continues by developing drugs to fight COVID-19, the question soon becomes, who will get the first treatments? The decision isn't as simple as it may seem. In addition to treatment options, the Centers for Disease Control is considering shortening the time of quarantine based on the timetable for spreading the virus.
The two new COVID-19 antibody treatments distributed by Regeneron and Eli Lilly received emergency use authorization by the FDA several weeks ago. In fact, the drugs were administered to President Trump, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Dr. Ben Carson, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The thing is, all three were treated after being hospitalized for the virus which isn't the treatments intent.
The hour long IV infusions were approved to treat patients before being admitted to the hospital. With the current rate of hospitalizations, ICU beds fill-ups, and a shortage of hospital staff, this is the area the treatment would be most useful.
According to an article from NBC News, Regeneron is to distribute 30,000 doses on Tuesday, with an additional 50,000 within a week. Eli Lilly will have 120,000 doses. Currently in the US, we're diagnosing 170,000 cases a day. Regeneron plans to have 200,000 more doses by the first of January and Eli Lilly one million before the end of 2020.
Regarding those that are at high risk. Patients that are obese, suffer with chronic kidney disease, diabetes, or any condition that compromises the immune system. The report said that 40% of all complicated cases come from the obese population.
As treatments slowly become available, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is likely to shorten recommendations for how long people need to quarantine. The current protocol is 14 days. One of the members of the White House Task Force stated on Tuesday that "a preponderance of evidence that a shorter quarantine complemented by a test might be able to shorten that quarantine period." NPR News
What's floating around is a quarantine of seven to 10 days based on patients willingness to quarantine. The CDC is implying that there's a shorter window of time needed to quarantine as opposed to the current recommendation of 14 days. If this is true, compliance may improve.
It seems like a complicated call. As COVID-19 cases are on the rise, treating patients that are at high risk first, makes sense to prevent hospitals from being further stressed, however, shortening quarantine time needs to be studied carefully. No one wants to take one step forward and two steps back.
Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Public Health gets emotional today while addressing Kentuckians on the massive effect the coronavirus has had on not only the physical health but emotional health of all.
As Governor Andy Beshear and his staff prepare for a third battle round with the coronavirus this year, restrictions are being put in place to slow the spread and prevent more Kentuckians from becoming infected, overwhelming the health care systems, and dying.
In effect Friday, November 20 at 5 pm through Sunday, December 13 at 11:59 pm, restaurants and bars will be closed to indoor dining. Outdoor seating is still an option if customers can safely social distance and follow the other rules set forth by the administration. Heated tents are still a possibility as long as distance is created between tables and parties that are seated are not to exceed eight at a table. Also, there should be no more than two families per group.
Governor Beshear is launching assistance to restaurants to the tune of $40 million through the coronavirus relief fund or CARES Act. Chief of Staff La Tasha Buckner addressed Kentuckians regarding how the money will be used. She said that eligible restaurants will receive $10,000 to help mitigate the financial pain businesses will more than likely suffer. If a business owner has multiple restaurants, the relief money is capped at $20,000. This isn’t a loan, this is federally-funded money that doesn’t need to be repaid.
Restaurants are required to be in operation at the time of this executive order. Restaurants that have 50% or more sales by drive-thru won’t be eligible for the funding. Buckner said, “This is more to help the mom and pops”
Gyms are to keep occupancy rates at 33%. There is to be no group classes in gyms. Group practice sessions such as cheerleading and martial arts studios are also prohibited. The Governor said that much of the spread has happened in these types of settings. You may have individual classes while wearing mandatory masks. In addition, KHSAA is postponing all sporting activities through December 13.
Indoor venues, event spaces or theaters can host no more than 25 people per room. this includes funerals and weddings. This doesn't apply to places of worship - rules to be issued Thursday.
Pools, bowling alleys, and similar businesses are to remain at 33% capacity. Other businesses that can keep employees at home should or they need to be at 33% capacity.
Beginning Monday, November 23, K-12 will transition to remote learning. Only those counties that are no longer in the red zone will return to in-person learning December 7. Middle school and high school students will begin remote learning on November 23 as well. However, these students won’t go back until after Christmas break on January 4, 2021.
Governor Beshear said that 10,000 school age children and 2,000 faculty members were in quarantine at the same time and this scenario could happen again. Colleges and universities will start remote learning on Monday, November 23 until Spring semester.
The hope is for Kentucky to make it through two virus cycles before opening the state up again. He said, “Everyone needs to do this at the same time. We all need to swing for the fence at the same time.”
There will be no additional restrictions to retail businesses and hospitals will still carry on with elective surgeries if necessary. Beshear said COVID-19 is now the third leading killer in the United States.
The commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Public Health Dr. Steven Stack spoke to the public today. He discussed two vaccines that should be available within days to help fight the virus. He got emotional as he was speaking about the toll the coronavirus has taken on Kentucky. He said, “I’m sorry folks, It’s been months since I’ve gotten emotional.”
The enforcement of the new executive order will be easier from prior restrictions, according to Beshear. He said, “We can look inside restaurants and see if the rules are being followed.” He said most of these restricted businesses have licenses making it easier to enforce the rules. Beshear said, “I’ll take the blame. I’ll be the person that says no.”
Beshear said, “It’s time to re-up the mask mandate and reinforce the rules.” As we shut down and regroup, it’s an effort that needs to be followed by all Kentuckians.
'Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food'
Raachel Carroll is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner certified by the National Therapy Association. She is a native of Paducah and is on a mission to help clients reconnect with the needs of their bodies through food. She first practiced in Elizabethtown, Kentucky and recently moved to Paducah to start Well-Rounded Wellness. Carroll may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NTA believes health can be achieved through a holistic and individualized approach to nutrition and lifestyle. Leveraging the power of real food and empowering people to reconnect with the innate wisdom and unique needs of their bodies for a chance at the good life...the healthy life.
Her focus is on the importance of a properly prepared, nutrition-dense, whole food diet paired with a well-balanced lifestyle. Carroll has prepared a sugarless baked apple treat for those watching their sugar intake.
Baked Apples by Well-Rounded Wellness
Raachel Carroll, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner
What you’ll need:
Baking dish that will fit the apple slices (parchment paper lining optional - for easier clean up)
9 by 13 usually fits about 4 apples
1 organic apple per person, washed and dried
About 3 tbsp. organic cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil* or grass-fed butter*
Organic ground cinnamon to taste, about 1-2 tsp
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Remove apple cores and slice into ¼” - ½” wide slices
Place sliced apples into the lined (optional) baking dish
Spread the slices out as evenly as possible
Drop coconut oil on top of the apple slices
Place the dish into a preheated oven for 15 minutes
Remove from oven and sprinkle with cinnamon
Stir to coat apples with melted oil/butter and cinnamon
Return dish to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes
Test apple slices for done-ness
When the apple slice can be cut using the side of a fork or spoon, the apples are done
May require a few more minutes in the oven to reach done-ness
Apples can be cooked longer for a more applesauce-like consistency, if desired
Best served warm
Keeps in fridge for up to 3 days
Extra delicious served with coconut cream whipped cream
*if you do not have your gallbladder, you may want to use less coconut oil/butter and/or eat only
a small amount of baked apples as the fat may upset your stomach
Coconut fat whipped cream
Refrigerate a can of organic whole coconut milk for at least 3 hours
Open can and place just the solid part into a large mixing bowl
The solid on top of the liquid is the coconut cream
Save the liquid portion to use in other recipes
With a hand mixer, in a stand-mixer, or with a fork beat coconut cream until whipped
About 3 - 5 minutes
Add a dash of vanilla or honey, if desired for extra flavor
Keeps in fridge 5 days
Beginning Wednesday, November 11, our neighbors across the I-24 bridge will face further restrictions due to the 11.5% positivity rate for positive coronavirus cases in southern Illinois. Based on Governor J.B. Pritzker's tier system to Restore Illinois, southern Illinois will revert back to phase two in order to fight the spread of COVID-19. Communities in southern Illinois, including Massac County and counties further north will have to hunker down and do their part until the positivity rate declines.
The new restrictions will affect businesses such as Fat Edd's Roadhouse and Cordavinos, bar service, and casinos. As the pandemic continues to sweep through our area, the governor believes this is the best course of action. Here are the new restrictions for the phase two plan:
All bars close at 11 pm and may reopen no earlier than 6 am the following day No indoor service
All bar patrons should be seated at tables outside
No ordering, seating or congregating at bar (bar stools removed)
Tables should be six feet apart
No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a tables
No dancing or standing indoors
Reservations required for each party
No seating of multiple parties at one table
All restaurants close at 11 pm and may reopen no earlier than 6 am the following day
No indoor dining or bar service
Tables should be six feet apart
No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
Reservations required for each party
No seating of multiple parties at one table
Applicable to professional, cultural and social group gatherings
Not applicable to students participating in-person classroom learning, sports or polling places
This does not reduce the overall facility capacity dictated by general business guidance (office, retail, etc.)
No party buses
Gaming and casinos close at 11 pm and are limited to 25 percent capacity
The phased plan will limit gatherings to 10 people or less both indoors and outside. It will reduce the table sizes in restaurants and bars to six people, still limited to outdoor dining.
Message for new moms...the sitting bassinet is a must have. These little jewels are designed to be used while sitting as opposed to standing. Mercy Health Foundation-Lourdes received a grant from Kosair Charities for 28K to purchase new bassinets for Mercy Health-Lourdes Hospital's Family Birthing Center.
After giving birth or even coming home from the hospital, new mothers know how exhausting it can be. Even if you're a mother with grown children, you remember the sleepless nights, the constant, middle-of-the-night baby checks, and the bottle feedings.
The new bassinets that are being purchased by the hospital will not only help with the number of times having to walk to the crib or standing bassinet but it's also designed to facilitate mother-baby bonding through increased physical contact, including skin-to-skin care. If you're not having to get up, put on the robe and slippers, you're freer to sit up in the bed and nestle baby. If you're a breast feeding mom, even more reason to appreciate the a sitting bassinet.
The hospital has performed nearly 700 deliveries last year which is a 41% increase since 2017, according to the hospital. "The generous grant from Kosair Charities will allow us to provide 15 new bassinets for our mothers and babies. We couldn't be more thankful to Kosair and their dedication to children," said Mercy Health Foundation-Lourdes president Jessica Toren.
Kosair Charities' grants committee awards funds to promote the health and wellness of children through support, research, education, child advocacy, and social services. The charity is a partner to non-profits in Kentucky and southern Indian that align with their vision...to improve children's lives.
Pictured: Michael Faulkner, MD, Nicholas Lopez, MD, Martin Rains, MD, and Austin Ward, MD
In a press release on Monday, October 19, Baptist Health Paducah called a team of physicians 'a new generation of heart doctors'.
Last year, three Paducah doctors performed the first TAVR (Transcatheter aortic valve replacement) procedure in the area. Structural interventional cardiologists Martin Rains, MD and Micheal Faulkner MD, along with cardiothoracic surgeon Nicholas Lopez, MD carried out the successful surgery on a Ballard County man in his 80's on October 22, 2019.
Before Baptist Health started the TAVR program, patients would travel long distances to have this type of procedure. It's a milestone achievement and a big step for the patients in the region.
The innovative procedure for cardiac patients offers a minimally-invasive approach to the traditional open-heart surgery. The new generation of physicians are continuing the hospital's rich heritage as a leader in cardiovascular services. Baptist Health Paducah was the first in our area to offer open-heart surgery as well as several other 'firsts' in cardiac care.
In addition to the Dr. Martin, Dr. Faulkner, and Dr. Lopez, the team has added cardiovascular surgeon Austin Ward, M.D. In September, Dr. Ward performed the regions first TAVR procedure through the carotid artery.
Dr. Ward is native of Paducah, Kentucky and is very excited to be back in his hometown practicing medicine. “I feel like I hit the jackpot with the chance to come back to my hometown and do what I love every day,” Dr. Ward said. “I love that every patient presents a new challenge or problem to solve. This is where I have the opportunity to use my hands to influence physiology and outcomes every day. It is an honor and privilege to be trusted with the cardiothoracic surgical care of patients and I am thankful for the opportunity to provide world-class care without patients having to travel out of our community.”