Beshear Announces Partnership With Kroger, Introduces New Project Manager
During Thursday’s coronavirus update, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced the commonwealth and its Department of Emergency Management will coordinate with partners including Kroger to establish regional vaccination hubs.
"We are committed to ensuring equitable distribution of the vaccine,” Beshear said.
Beshear also announced Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray was tapped as Director of Vaccine Distribution, serving as project manager.
Meggen Brown of Kroger Health said, “We are proud to partner with the state of Kentucky in efforts to make sure all Kentuckians have access to the COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible.”
Beshear said 172,537 vaccinations have been administered in Kentucky. He said last week the commonwealth administered nearly twice the number of vaccines as had been administered the week before. He said Kentucky is on track to meeting the goal of 90% of all doses to be administered within seven days of receiving them.
Adam Mather of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services said last week saw significant progress in administering vaccinations. He reported Walgreens completed 72 clinics at individually licensed facilities, including 3,512 residents and 2,059 staff and have only 23 facilities left to administer the first dose of the vaccine. CVS had 75 clinics last week with 42 left to go and were able to vaccinate 2,973 residents and 2,432 staff members.
As part of the daily update, Beshear reported 4,084 new positive cases of COVID-19 with a positivity rate of 12.34%. There are currently 1,661 Kentuckians being hospitalized for COVID-19, 409 in the ICU, and 196 on a ventilator.
He warned Kentuckians that other states are experiencing capacity limits for their intensive care units, and with numbers rising past the four hundreds, Kentucky hospitals could be at risk while cases continue to increase.
Beshear reported Kentucky has now reached 3,042 deaths attributable to COVID-19. There are currently 1,642 active cases in long-term care facilities and 2,026 total deaths.
The three highest number of cases by county are in Jefferson County with 642, Kenton County with 235, and Boone County with 176.
Beshear said, “If you are a business, enforce that mask rule right now, if you don’t, the likelihood that someone with COVID is spreading it in your facility is higher now than it has ever been and if we have a mutated virus that is spreading 50% or more more aggressively right now, the risk is much higher than it's ever been.”
The first round of vaccinations for K-12 personnel will start the week of Feb. 1. Kentuckians older than 60, those with health conditions defined by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be especially dangerous, and all essential workers are eligible now.
Beshear also announced another economic development project: Hitachi Automotive Electric Motor Systems is establishing a new 200-job operation in Berea and Madison County offering jobs with an average hourly wage of $27 including benefits.
“We can fight for our future even while we’re fighting this virus,” Beshear added.
In other business, Beshear said Kentucky will send approximately 270 National Guardsmen to the U.S. Capitol in response to a request for more security following the Jan. 6 insurgence.
“Peaceful transfer of power is one of the bedrocks of our democracy,” he added.