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Gov. Beshear Reports First Hospital Vaccinations, New Guidelines On K-12 In-Person Learning

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Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced in a media briefing Monday three Kentucky hospitals have begun the vaccination process. He also announced new guidelines on restarting in-person learning for “red zone” counties.

The first shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine were sent to the University of Louisville Hospital, Baptist Health in Lexington, and The Medical Center at Bowling Green. University of Louisville Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jason Smith was the first Kentuckian to receive the vaccination. Beshear said Monday marked “the beginning of the end” for the battle against COVID-19.

“Now we know the end is in sight. Now we know victory is in sight,” he said. “We ought to recommit to do everything we can to protect one another until everybody can get vaccinated.”

This news follows the first decline in week-to-week coronavirus cases since mid-October. As of Monday, there were 1,802 new cases, increasing the statewide total to 224,890. The state test positivity rate is at 8.58%

There were also 1,712 current hospitalizations, including 441 people in the ICU and 243 on ventilators.

There were 17 additional reported deaths, marking the total at 2,224 deaths. Beshear urged Kentuckians to continue to follow preventative guidelines to plateau the number of cases.

Beshear also announced new guidelines for “red zone” counties to reintroduce in-person learning starting Jan. 4. Beshear said “red zone” counties, with “critical” COVID-19 spread averaging more than 25 daily cases per 100,000 people, may continue remote learning or “aggressively implement” a hybrid learning model in order to decrease COVID-19 cases.

The new guidelines state every school must provide a virtual option. Courses provided cannot negatively impact a student’s progress on aspects including GPA, class rank, or the ability to take AP courses. The guidelines also require daily reports on coronavirus spread. Beshear said the guidelines will become mandatory on Jan. 4, 2021.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health recommends “red zone” counties do not return to in-person learning sooner than Jan. 11, 2021.

The Calloway County Health Department reported 29 new cases over the weekend, with 28 of those cases reported on Saturday. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county is 2,044. 128 people in the county are isolated at home with 14 people currently hospitalized.

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