The severe weather is expected to cause unsafe conditions, such as slick, snow-covered roads, prompting the closure of more COVID-19 vaccination sites early this week. But Gov. Andy Beshear said he is not concerned about the long-term consequences of rescheduled appointments.
Snowfall began in Kentucky overnight and is expected to continue — and pick up — through Monday.
In Louisville, officials said the LouVax mass vaccination site and Broadbent Arena would be closed Monday. And Beshear said the new Kroger vaccination site in Franklin County will be closed Tuesday. The rest of the regional vaccination sites operate Thursday through Saturday, so their status will depend on conditions later in the week.
Beshear said there will be too much snow to ensure safe roads in Frankfort on Tuesday.
“We need to make that safe for those coming to vaccinate others,” he said. “Everybody who has an appointment scheduled for tomorrow at the Frankfort Kroger vaccination site will be moved to next Tuesday.”
Kroger is prepared to scale up in order to accommodate both scheduled and rescheduled vaccination appointments without further delay, Beshear said.
Vaccination sites were first closed last Thursday due to the ice storm that hit the state.
Beshear said anyone expecting to get vaccinated through a hospital or other provider should check on the status of their appointment directly.
The governor called the need to delay vaccinations by a week “unfortunate,” but said he was not concerned about how that would affect the long-term trajectory of widespread immunity in Kentucky. That’s because he expects much more vaccine supply in the future.
“We’re hoping what we’re getting right now is a trickle compared to what we will get late spring and moving into the summer,” Beshear said.
The level of supply will determine how quickly Kentucky moves from rushing to vaccinate as many people per week as possible to widespread immunity, he said.
Kentucky officials said precipitation will increase Monday afternoon before rush hour, and urged anyone who doesn’t need to be out to stay home and off the roads.
Beshear said some parts of the state could see a total of 6-8” of snow. He said officials are also monitoring another storm system that could move into the area Wednesday night.
Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett said this has been an “extremely unusual dynamic for severe weather” in the state, starting with last week’s ice storm. He warned of significant snowfall and other weather impacts starting at 1 p.m. Monday.
“This storm will impact most of our counties and should be considered a very dangerous system,” he said. “Again, you can expect sleet and freezing rain, ice, very heavy snowfall with accumulation rates of one to two inches per hour.”
At that rate, road crews may not be able to keep up.
Transportation secretary Jim Gray said there was a crash in Carter County this morning, in which one person is believed to have been killed. Beshear said two Kentuckians died last week due to the inclement weather.
Beshear said the state of emergency he declared last week is still in effect. Also, the National Guard is on standby to assist, and will be going door-to-door to check on residents in Ashland, where some have lost power.