State COVID cases lowest since Oct. 12, child care workers now vaccine eligible

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ)Child care workers now will be included in phase 1B of the COVID vaccine protocol, moving them up on the list of eligible groups.

They can sign up anywhere in the commonwealth currently offering vaccinations.

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During his daily briefing, Gov. Andy Beshear also was critical of proposed legislation that would require him to appoint a republican U.S. senator if a vacancy were to come open because the two current senators are Republicans.

“It’s the first time it’s ever been proposed…we should believe more in the constitutional separation of powers, the institution, rather than our political party,” Beshear said when asked about the bill which has been filed in the state Senate. “It’s really concerning when we start changing the rules in the middle of the game just because of the party of a person in office.”

The governor said the state has had five weeks of declining cases for the first time since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Kentucky, on March 6, 2020, and Monday’s new case numbers were the lowest since Oct. 12, although the governor admitted last week’s icy weather could have played a role.

“We are seeing some of the best COVID-19 news that’s been out there since we began this fight. These positive COVID-19 trends may be from the cold weather keeping people from going places that they would otherwise, but I think it’s more than that. I think we’ve reached a point in the pandemic where we all know multiple people that we’ve lost, and we realize how effective wearing a mask is, we see the light at the end of the tunnel and we want to protect one another as we get there,” said Gov. Andy Beshear.

Adam Mather, Cabinet for Health and Family Services inspector general, also updated Kentuckians on COVID-19 vaccinations in long-term care facilities.

“We are seeing really positive trends, not only in Kentucky as a whole, but specifically in long-term care which was hit very hard by COVID-19,” Mather said. “We’re seeing decreasing numbers of positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Today is the first day that we’ve reported no facility in the state of Kentucky has 15 or more active cases. We are expanding the federal vaccination program for long-term care into other residential spaces, including low-income, elderly congregate housing, Supports for Community Living residences and more.”

Finally, the governor emphasized the importance of continuing to improve vaccine equity, as some racial and ethnic groups remain underrepresented among vaccine recipients.

As of 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15, Gov. Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:

New cases today: 723
New deaths today: 9
Positivity rate: 6.57%
Total deaths: 4,291
Currently hospitalized: 969
Currently in ICU: 268
Currently on ventilator: 132

The hospitalization and positivity rate numbers continue to fall to some of their lowest levels in months.

Top counties with the most positive cases today are: Jefferson, Fayette, Madison, Boone and Pike. Each county reported at least 25 new cases.

To see a list of those reported lost to the virus today, click here.

The governor also encouraged residents to stay off the roads in the midst of the latest winter storm.

For snow and ice updates and resources, visit snowky.ky.gov. For updates on roadway conditions, visit goky.ky.gov.

If Kentuckians lose power, they should call their utility company.

If a household uses a generator, charcoal grill or another appliance to heat their home, they should never pull it inside the home because carbon monoxide poisoning could hurt or kill them. They should keep those heating devices at least 20 feet away from the home at all times.

Applications for $264 Million Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund Open Monday
Last week, in partnership with the Kentucky Housing Corporation, Gov. Beshear relaunched the Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund with an additional $264 million to keep Kentuckians safe and housed throughout the pandemic.

Starting today, tenants who qualify can apply here for rent and utility assistance to cover their past-due and future bills. If approved, lump sum, direct payments will be made to landlords and utility providers.

On the child care workers, Beshear said their lobbying and a change by the CDC that moved the group up contributed to the state’s decision.

“We’ve been listening to them, understanding where they come from,” Beshear said of the decision.

In addition, as the supply of vaccines increases, the governor said the state is looking forward to opening up the 1C classification, which includes about one million people, including more older adults, essential workers, and others. He said he expects that to happen “soon” at at least regional centers.

More Information
To view the full daily reportincidence rate map, information on testing locationsvaccinescontact tracingschool reports and guidanceguidance for health care providers and the White House Coronavirus Task Force reports for Kentucky and more, visit kycovid19.ky.gov.