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Beshear Rolls Out Extended Vaccine Plan As COVID-19 Hospitalizations Rise

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CHERYL GERBER
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Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced new guidelines Monday for COVID-19 vaccine administration in the commonwealth. Kentuckians will be inoculated in four phases. 

The current phase largely includes healthcare workers and seniors, meaning the vaccine is not widely available to the general public.

The planned vaccination phases are:

  • Phase 1a: Long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, health care personnel

  • Phase 1b: First responders, Kentuckians age >= 70, K-12 school personnel

  • Phase 1c: Kentuckians age >= 60, anyone older than 16 with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highest-risk conditions for COVID-19, all essential workers

  • Phase 2: Age >= 40

  • Phase 3: Age >= 16

  • Phase 4: Children under the age of 16 if the vaccine is approved for this age group (estimated to comprise 18% of Kentucky’s population)

Beshear said 60,414 vaccine doses have already been administered in Kentucky; 57,000 doses (27,300 from Pfizer and from 29,700 from Moderna) will be delivered this week.

“We’ve got to get these things out faster. I’m not OK with the pace that they are currently being provided. We have too many people out there who are rightfully anxious, and they need to see this whole country pick up the pace. We are certainly going to do it here in Kentucky,” said Beshear.

The state reported the following new COVID-19 data Monday:

New cases today: 2,319

New deaths today: 26

Positivity rate: 11.2%

Total deaths: 2,749

Currently hospitalized: 1,737

Currently in ICU: 456

Currently on ventilator: 216

Many western Kentucky counties saw reporting delays and heavy case increases due to the holiday weekend. The Hopkins County Health Department confirmed 177 new cases throughout the holiday closure, at an average of 28 cases per day. The Marshall County Health Department saw 139 new cases in the county. The Purchase District Health Department, which handles public health in McCracken, Ballard, Carlisle, Fulton and Hickman counties, reported 347 new virus cases.

The surging case counts present challenges for hospital capacity in the region, but Mercy Health-Lourdes spokesman Kevin Compton told WKMS the hospital is closely monitoring the situation to determine if expanded capacity is needed. 

“Because capacity could be an issue with any surge in the area, it is the reason we work closely with state officials as well as our other regional hospitals and local health departments. Detailed data about hospital surge capacity in the region and state is coordinated and compiled by state and local health authorities. Mercy Health has plans in place to enhance capacity if need be, but we have not had to implement any of those contingencies,” Compton said. 

Find more information on Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 here

Scottlynn Ballard contributed to this report. 

 

Dalton York is a Morning Edition host and reporter for WKYU in Bowling Green. He is a graduate of Murray State University, where he majored in History with a minor in Nonprofit Leadership Studies. While attending Murray State, he worked as a student reporter at WKMS. A native of Marshall County, he is a proud product of his tight-knit community.
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