127,110 Kentuckians vaccinated in week; stimulus an ‘opportunity’
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – A record 127,110 Kentuckians were vaccinated during the past week, breaking the previous record of 112,428 vaccinations set the week before.
“We are really ramping up to meet the moment and we are going to achieve this goal the President set of having a vaccine available for any Kentucky adult who wants one by the end of May,” said Gov. Andy Beshear during Tuesday’s briefing.
The Governor also said the state’s positivity rate has dropped to 3.94%, the lowest rate since Sept. 21.
And building on comments he made Monday, the governor said details in the latest federal stimulus package expected to be approved Wednesday is a “real opportunity” for the state. And finally, Beshear said a counter lawsuit filed in Scott County Circuit Court challenging another circuit judge’s ruling in Beshear’s favor this week is “just wrong.”
“This is a potential transformational moment for our state,” Beshear said of the $2.6 billion coming to the state and another $1.5 billion coming to state and local governments from the stimulus package.
“It’s a chance for us to make investments for the good of our people, but also for our economy,” he continued, saying his staff is having discussions with the Republican-controlled Legislature about spending ideas.Those range from extending broadband service to virtually every home in the state within five years and providing incentives for companies to provide service to helping local governments upgrade water and sewer systems to provide “clean water” to every household.
“You don’t get many opportunities like this,” he continued, calling it a “chance to be bold.”
The state is expected to get $185 million for infrastructure and $2.441 billion for specified uses, including health care, education and business assistance.
Cities will get $307 million and counties $866 million with metropolitan areas getting a separate amount.
Beshear also confirmed the state’s hopes of vaccinating more than 800,000 people this month and in April as the availability of the vaccine continues to expand.
When asked about the legal challenge filed in Scott County to the ruling last week by a Franklin County Circuit judge granting a statewide injunction against three bills approved by the Legislature restricting the governor’s powers, Beshear said.
“Judge Shepherd’s (Franklin County Judge Phillip Shepherd) ruling was statewide and they know it,” Beshear said. “It they are unhappy, they can join in the appeal…
“But it’s just cruel to get this close” to beating the virus “and give up now. That leaves some people behind. That’s just really wrong,” Beshear continued.
The governor noted the state is close to further easing restrictions on some additional businesses, including gatherings and even more importantly, day care centers which likely will be able to reopen at full capacity on March 15.
Also Tuesday, First Lady Britainy Beshear announced Ford Motor Co. has donated one million masks to Kentucky schools, with a commitment to donate an additional 500,000 masks in the coming weeks.
“We are so close to beating this virus and continuing our path forward to becoming a stronger Kentucky,” said First Lady Beshear. “While declining case numbers and three effective vaccines are great news as more students return to in-person classes, we must remain vigilant in our fight against this virus, with safety as a top priority. Thank you to Ford for thinking of our schools and for being such a great partner to Team Kentucky.”
Kentucky’s Department for Public Health and Department of Education will distribute these 1.5 million masks to school districts.
In August, First Lady Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman launched the Coverings for Kids donation program to help supply Kentucky’s schools with masks for students, teachers and support staff.
Ford’s gift adds to the 320,000 masks already donated to Coverings for Kids by Kentuckians, community groups, local businesses and more.
The gift also adds to Ford’s notable history of generosity to Kentuckians: In September, Ford donated 2 million face masks to Kentucky’s PPE stockpile, one of the largest gifts of PPE ever received in the commonwealth.
“Ford is honored to provide Kentucky with child-sized face masks during this critical point as children transition back to school,” said Matt Godlewski, vice president of U.S. government relations, Ford Motor Co. “We value our partnership with the commonwealth and are grateful to play a role in its commitment to protect Kentuckians against COVID-19.”
As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 9, Gov. Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:
New cases today: 880
New deaths today: 21
Positivity rate: 3.94%
Total deaths: 4,850
Currently hospitalized: 551
Currently in ICU: 147
Currently on ventilator: 81
Top counties with the most positive cases today are: Jefferson, Fayette, Laurel and Kenton. Each county reported at least 30 new cases.
To see a list of those reported lost to the virus today, click here.
Kentucky’s COVID-19 Vaccine Website, vaccine.ky.gov, shows Kentuckians which phase they are in specifically. Individuals can sign up for notifications so state officials can communicate with them when doses become available at new and existing sites. Vaccine.ky.gov also lists regional vaccination partners statewide, so Kentuckians can search their county or region and see how to schedule an appointment.
Kentucky’s COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline, 855-598-2246, has the same features as the website. Kentuckians can get assistance completing the vaccine eligibility questionnaire and scheduling an appointment when doses are available.
Free or reduced-cost transportation to and from vaccine appointments is offered by public transit agencies across the commonwealth. These services are already operating in over 90 counties, covering 75% of all counties across Kentucky. Kentuckians can find transportation services near them by heading to kycovid19.ky.gov for a full list of participating public transit agencies and their phone numbers, or by calling the Kentucky COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline.
To view the full daily report, incidence rate map, information on testing locations, vaccines, contact tracing, school reports and guidance, guidance for health care providers and the White House Coronavirus Task Force reports for Kentucky and more, visit kycovid19.ky.gov.