FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – As the state prepares to open its first four regional vaccination centers, including the Kentucky Horse Park and Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center in Danville, the state’s COVID positivity rate and other key numbers continue a slow decline, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday.
The numbers included three straight weeks of lower weekly numbers, only the third time that has happened since the outbreak began in March 2020.
Beshear said as much as the state would like to be able to get all university, college and child care workers vaccinated now, it can’t as long as supplies remain at current levels.
“We are trying to get all K-12 staff who want them done with their first dose this week. We are the first state in the country to do that and we know it is critical to getting our schools open fully. The University staff and child care are in 1C, the next group, we hope to get them in as soon as supplies increase,” Beshear said, noting as many as one million people are in the 1C category which includes essential workers, more older adults and others.
“Remember, we are vaccinating people faster than we get doses from the federal government, and if you’re having a hard time signing up, it’s because there just aren’t enough doses. But we are working hard and everybody is going to get their turn,” said Beshear, who also extended the state’s mask mandate for another 30 days.
For the past four weeks, Kentucky has administered more initial doses than it received from the federal government. The Governor reminded Kentuckians that the state can vaccinate up to 250,000 people per week: the only limiting factor for vaccine distribution is supply.
Transportation Secretary and Vaccine Distribution Project Director Jim Gray updated Kentuckians on the commonwealth’s vaccine progress and the Lexington regional vaccination site at Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Arena, which the state will open Tuesday in partnership with Kroger.
“The goal is that no one will have to drive more than one county away to get a vaccine. We’re not there yet, but that is the goal,” said Gray. “At the Kentucky Horse Park site, set up is underway as we speak today. I’m very optimistic about where things are. Each site is part of a strategic approach to getting these important vaccines into the arms of all Kentuckians who want them.”
Lexington-area residents in Phase 1A and 1B can sign up for vaccine appointments at Alltech Arena here. New appointments are posted every morning at 6 a.m. EST.
The goal is to gradually open regional centers across the state as more vaccine doses become available. The state hopes to have centers within easy reach of every corner of the state.
“More importantly what we are talking about in terms of drive time is that the goal is that no will have to drive more than one county away to get a vaccine,” Gray explained. “And these are all part of a strategic approach to getting this important vaccine into the arms of all Kentuckians who want them. Now, as the governor said, the three most important words in this project today are actually constraints — ‘supply, supply, supply’.”
In total, 422,500 initial vaccine doses have been sent to Kentucky and 362,271 have been administered: 341,575 initial doses have been sent to the state’s distribution program and 305,757 have been administered through that program; 80,925 initial doses have been sent to Kentucky through the federal long-term care vaccination program that contracts with CVS and Walgreens and 56,514 have been administered through that program.
As of 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1, Gov. Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:
New cases today: 1,623
New deaths today: 35
Positivity rate: 8.85%
Total deaths: 3,780
Currently hospitalized: 1,314
Currently in ICU: 337
Currently on ventilator: 178
Top counties with the most positive cases today are: Jefferson, Fayette, Madison, Daviess, Kenton and Warren. Each of these counties reported 50 or more new cases; Jefferson County alone reported 284.
To see a list of those reported lost to the virus today, click here.
Beshear announced an extension of a special program that grants Kentuckians access to renew or replace a driving or identity credential through their Circuit Court Clerk’s preferred mail-in or drop method. The order applies to Kentucky driver’s licenses, permits and state-issued identification cards that expired or will expire by June 30, 2021. Applicants who require driver testing performed by Kentucky State Police must successfully complete that step before renewing a credential. To learn more, see the full release.
Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman provided an update on the state’s broadband speed test. The crowd-sourcing project will gather data from Kentuckians needed to expand internet home access for distance learning, telework and telehealth. Individuals can take the free, 30-second, anonymous speed test from Jan. 19 to Feb. 18 here.
“Our administration is committed to bringing broadband internet connectivity to every home in Kentucky,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “Two weeks into our speed test, I’m happy to report that 44,000 households have participated so far. In these first two weeks, we have outpaced states that have had their speed tests going on for longer than six months. But we need to keep pressing forward and get as many folks involved as we can.”
The counties with the highest participation rates so far are Scott, Harlan, Caldwell and Lyon. Lt. Gov. Coleman asked Kentuckians to spread the word about the test in McCreary, Meade, Elliott and Owsley counties, where the fewest households have completed the test up to this point.
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.