State getting antibody injection teams, case numbers easing
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Following the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s amended authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday his administration recommends the following Kentuckians who received a Pfizer vaccine series get a booster six months after their second shot:
- Individuals 65 and older;
- Those living in a long-term care facility;
- People 18 to 64 who have a medical condition that increases their risk of severe COVID-19 infection – examples of these include diabetes, heart, kidney or lung disease, or a BMI greater than 25; or
- People 18 to 64 who are likely to get exposed at their place of work – examples of high-risk work environments include health care and education.
“What I want to do is clear up any confusion that’s out there and let you know who can get the boosters,” said Beshear. “If you are eligible, go get them. There are plenty of vaccine doses out there.”
In addition, the governor said for immunocompromised individuals – for example, people who are undergoing cancer treatment or who are taking a high dose of an immunosuppressant – a third shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is recommended at least 28 days after the second shot.
For those who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, no booster dose is recommended at this time.
“It appears that because of these vaccines, new cases may not only be plateauing, but we may be seeing a decrease in cases, hospitalizations and the positivity rate,” he said.
“With that said, we are still seeing far too many deaths, and this strain is killing more and more younger Kentuckians, primarily those who are unvaccinated. On Saturday, our report included a 39-year-old woman from Bell County. If you’re in your teens, 20s, 30s or 40s – don’t wait. Get vaccinated as quickly as possible.”
Beshear also said the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services has confirmed five monoclonal antibody injection teams will arrive this week to provide treatment courses for Kentuckians with severe COVID-19.
“The teams are trained folks from the federal government that are going to come in and take over doing the monoclonal antibody treatments, which frees up other people in the hospital to tend to patients. Thursday, we are going to have our website up showing the 50-plus locations that you can get monoclonal antibodies, which will be in each area development district,” he explained. “We have been aggressive and we have argued our cause, which allowed us to receive more than the original ration, but over time that probably will not be the case. With our current rates of infection, there will not be enough for everyone.”
The injections will be administered subcutaneously (under the skin). Monday, a team arrived at Baptist Health Corbin; on Sept. 29, teams will arrive at Highlands ARH Regional Medical Center in Floyd County and Primary Care Centers of Eastern Kentucky; and on Oct 1, teams will arrive at Taylor Regional Hospital in Campbellsville and ARH Middlesboro.
Each team will include two to four nurses and/or paramedics to assist with injections.
While the teams offer and immediate boost for hospitals, Beshear said he and legislators agree the state must take steps to fill the long-term void in nurses and rlated workers in the state.
Even before the pandemic, Eastern Kentucky faced a 6,000-nurse shortage the governor said.
“We’ve got to make significant changes to be able to recruit and fill” those jobs and to make sure the hospitals get the assistance they need,” he said.
Those steps will include everything from college recruiting and financial assistance for students, incentives for retirees to return to work and programs to bring nurses and staff from other states and countries to Kentucky.
Kentucky National Guard, Nursing Student and Testing Support for Hospitals
Currently, more than 500 Kentucky National Guard members are deployed at hospitals across the commonwealth to assist health care heroes as they fight COVID-19. In addition, 27 hospitals are receiving nursing student support from Galen College of Nursing, Eastern Kentucky University, Western Kentucky University, Jefferson Community and Technical College System campuses and regional Kentucky Community and Technical College System campuses.
The state is also sponsoring six community testing sites across Kentucky, in partnership with Gravity Diagnostics, the University of Kentucky and Wild Health.
“With the recent spike of the delta variant, we have been providing the community with quick testing so we can stay on top of this,” said Jordan Kelsey, clinical specialist at Gravity Diagnostics. “If we don’t have testing, people are going to spread this even worse than it currently is. We are able to provide a safe environment besides the emergency room (ER). Here, we can get people in and out quickly and help relieve the ER. We get results back in 24 hours, while other clinics can take up to two or three days.”
Number of people who have received at least one vaccine dose in Kentucky: 2,688,829
Number of people who received at least one vaccine dose since Friday: 16,537
From March 1 to Sept. 22, 86.7% of COVID-19 cases, 92.1% of COVID-19 hospitalizations and 84.6% of COVID-19 deaths in Kentucky have been among those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
The Governor reported that 60% of all Kentuckians, including those that are too young to be eligible, have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose; 71% of Kentuckians 12 or older, or 71%, of all eligible Kentuckians, have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose; and 73% of Kentucky adults have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose.
The numbers are not surprising by age groups with 92% of those 65 and up having at least one vaccine, 80 percent of those 50 t0 65, 70% of those 40 to 49, 64% of those 30 to 39, 51% of those 18 to 29 and 47% of those 12 to 17 with a majority of the new cases in the state coming in the youngest groups.
Eleven Kentucky counties have reached the milestone of at least 60% of residents receiving at least their first dose: Anderson, Boone, Boyle, Campbell, Fayette, Franklin, Jefferson, Kenton, Perry, Scott and Woodford.
Sept. 25, Cases: 3,171
Sept. 25, Deaths: 37
Sept. 26, Cases: 1,563
Sept. 26, Deaths: 31
New Cases Monday: 1,729
New Deaths: 19
Monday’s Positivity Rate: 10.55%
Current Hospitalizations: 2,045
Current Intensive Care Admittances: 617
Currently on Ventilators: 399