FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – All Kentuckians 16 and older will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine April 5 at Pfizer vaccine locations.
The Moderna vaccine is only approved for those 18 and above.
“This is a good day. This news means that we will beat the president’s goal by a month to have COVID-19 vaccinations opened up to everyone,” said Gov. Andy Beshear said during his afternoon briefing Wednesday. “We are seeing in a number of states an increase in cases and hospitalizations, and it’s happening among younger people. We want to get ahead of the more aggressive COVID-19 variants and make sure that we fill every available appointment. Make a plan to get your shot of hope.”
The governor said he would provide COVID-19 updates on his social media channels the rest of the week; due to Easter weekend, there will be limited COVID-19 reports Friday and Saturday and no COVID-19 report Sunday.
The governor shared a video from University of Louisville President Dr. Neeli Bendapudi celebrating the opening of Kentucky’s largest vaccination site, at Cardinal Stadium – 2800 S. Floyd St., Louisville, KY 40209 – on April 12.
UofL Health professionals will be able to vaccinate up to 4,000 Kentuckians per day at the Cardinal Stadium site. Over its seven-week run, the site will have the capacity to vaccinate nearly 200,000 Kentuckians from across the commonwealth.
The Governor highlighted four vaccination locations that have the highest number of available appointments: Norton Healthcare (register here), Northern Kentucky Convention Center (register here), Kentucky Dam Village Convention Center (register here) and Baptist Health Madisonville (register here or call 270-825-7330). To see a list of vaccination sites that have openings this week, visit vaccinemap.ky.gov.
The Governor announced Pfizer and BioNTech reported their COVID-19 vaccine was 100% effective in protecting kids 12 and older against symptomatic disease in a study that included more than 2,200 children. The researchers who conducted the study said they had no safety concerns about the vaccine for this age group.
It’s unclear when Pfizer might apply for approval for use of its vaccine on those ages.
But Beshear said it would be another step toward full normalcy.
Think if we could get 12 through 15 year olds vaccinated, that’s middle school and high school…if we could get all those who want it vaccinated by the start of school it would be another major step,” Beshear said.
Last week, Pfizer started testing their vaccine in children ages 6 months to 11 years.
Meanwhile, the Kentucky Department of Corrections is now scheduled to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by April 5. There will be enough vaccine doses for all interested inmates housed in state prisons.
COVID-19 vaccinations at all state prisons are expected to be completed next week with the exception of the Kentucky State Penitentiary and Western Kentucky Correctional Complex since those facilities are recovering from COVID-19 outbreaks.
COVID-19 vaccines will be administered in those facilities as soon as it is safe to do so.
As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:
New cases today: 815
New deaths today: 22
New audit deaths: 3
Positivity rate: 2.96%
Total deaths: 6,090
Currently hospitalized: 413
Currently in ICU: 110
Currently on ventilator: 48
The governor noted the 815 cases was higher than last Wednesday but below two weeks ago. The number of people in the hospital, ICU and on ventilators also were up slightly.
All that points to signs the state may have reached a plateau of cases rather than another week of declines from the previous week.
While that is not bad, it is also reason to be careful.
“These are reasons to be watchful, to remember we are not done, the fight is not over,” Beshear said.
Top counties with the most positive cases today are: Jefferson, Fayette, Warren and Scott. Each county reported at least 31 new cases.
To see a list of those reported lost to the virus today, click here.
Eviction Moratorium Extended
Beshear also signed an executive order that applies the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s order extending the nationwide moratorium on evictions from residential premises for nonpayment of rent through June 30, 2021.
The Governor has designated $264 million to the Team Kentucky Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund that can assist Kentucky renters in 118 counties with rent or utility payments. For more information and to apply, click here.
To apply for eviction relief in Lexington-Fayette County, visit covid19renterhelp.org. To apply for eviction relief in Louisville-Jefferson County, visit stopmyeviction.org. Homeowners at risk of foreclosure should visit the Kentucky Homeownership Protection Center website. Homeowners in need of utility assistance should contact their local Community Action Agency.
Unemployment Insurance Update
Amy Cubbage, Gov. Beshear’s general counsel, updated Kentuckians on unemployment insurance (UI).
Updated Language on Account Summary Pages
The Office of Unemployment Insurance (OUI) has updated the language on claimants’ account summary pages, changing the status “under investigation” to “fact finding.” The change in language does not represent a change on an individual’s claim. The status name was changed because the term “under investigation” had a negative connotation and implied claimants had done something wrong or were suspected of fraud, when in most cases this status just means more information is needed.
House Bill 192 is the Executive Branch budget bill. Gov. Beshear asked for general funds for 90 new OUI employee positions, who would be cross-trained to assist citizens with both UI and employment services. The legislature instead appropriated federal funds that OUI was already receiving from the U.S. Department of Labor.
House Bill 382 was amended and passed with $575 million of federal funds to repay the UI trust fund loan received from the federal government.
Senate Bill 146 confirmed already announced plans that the Labor Cabinet will reopen select Kentucky Career Centers for in-person services by April 15.
Kentucky Career Centers Opening by April 15
Thirteen Kentucky Career Centers (KCC) are opening by mid-April to in person UI services. The locations are in Ashland, Bowling Green, Covington, Elizabethtown, Hazard, Hopkinsville, Lexington, Louisville, Morehead, Owensboro, Paducah, Prestonsburg and Somerset.
Kentuckians will soon be able to make appointments at the KCC website. Claimants can receive assistance with UI, and in addition, they will have access to other resources such as: assistance with finding a job; assistance with job training and apprenticeship opportunities; vocational rehabilitation services; and adult education services, such as the free GED program that is being offered for first-time test takers.
To see all vaccination sites and free transportation options to and from vaccination appointments, visit vaccine.ky.gov. To see a list of vaccination sites that have openings this week, visit vaccinemap.ky.gov. If Kentuckians have questions, they should call the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline, 855-598-2246 or TTY 855-326-4654 (for deaf or hard-of-hearing Kentuckians).
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.