Beshear says vaccines for Phase 1C could start soon; UK site already there, CJ says; new cases up but positive-test rate down

State Dept. for Public Health map, adapted by Kentucky Health News; to enlarge, click on it.

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

The state announced 1,993 new cases of the novel coronavirus Friday, bringing the state’s seven-day average to 1,204, up from 1,125 Thursday.

“Overall, our Covid-19 numbers are coming down, which is great news – but we can’t let our guard down when we’re this close to finishing the fight,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a news release.

The share of people testing positive for the virus in Kentucky over the past seven days is 6.89%, down from 7.07% Thursday.

The statewide infection rate for the last seven days was 23.1 cases per 100,000 people. Counties with rates more than twice that rate are Caldwell, at 56 cases per 100,000; and Russell, 52.6.

The daily Covid-19 report shows only 38 of the state’s 120 counties are in the most critical red zone for community spread that includes counties with 25 or more cases per 100,000. The state ranked 14th in the daily listing of statewide new-case rates by The New York Times.

Beshear attributed 28 more deaths to Covid-19, five of them probable and 23 confirmed. That brings the state’s death toll to 4,401.

A better measure of Covid-related deaths are the weekly averages, since many of the deaths are not reported by the state until after they go through a review process. The 14-day average dropped to 30.7 deaths per day, about where it was a month ago; the seven-day average is 21.1, the lowest since Jan. 1.
Hospital numbers remain stable, with 923 people hospitalized with Covid-19 ( down 12 from yesterday); 265 in intensive care (down two); and 131 of those on a ventilator (up 1).
Three of the 10 hospital readiness regions reported more than 80% of their intensive-care beds in use: Northeast, 81.25%; East, 91.18%; and Lake Cumberland, 91.11%.

The daily vaccine report shows 562,188 Kentuckians have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. Beshear announced Thursday that starting next week, the state will have 291 vaccination sites. Click here to learn when you can get vaccinated and here to learn more about where you can get a shot.

At this time, most sites are offering a vaccine only to people who are in the Phase 1A or 1B categories, which includes residents and staff in long-term-care and assisted-living facilities, health-care personnel, anyone 70 and older, first responders, K-12 school personnel, and as of this week, child-care workers.

The next group, 1C, includes anyone 60 and older, anyone 16 and older with certain health conditions and all essential workers.

Sarah Ladd of the Courier-Journal reports that during a visit to Louisville’s mass-vaccination site at Broadbent Arena, Mayor Greg Fisher said on Friday that the site may be able to vaccinate those in the 1C group in “late March or April.”

But Beshear was more optimistic Friday during a vaccination-site visit in Northern Kentucky, saying he believes the state will move to the 1C category the “first of March, if not a little bit before” and that some regional sites may be able to do so sooner. Ladd reports that the University of Kentucky site at Kroger Field in Lexington has already moved on to the 1C category.

“When we open it up to 1C, we’re going to need patience out there,” Beshear said. “We’re gonna have more and more appointments as we go, but when we open that up at large, it’s going to feel like it’s really hard to get one, but we’re going to get to everybody.”

Beshear said the state has the capacity to vaccinate about 300,000 people per week, but is only getting about 100,000 doses, Louisville’s WDRB reports. Beshear added that the federal government has said that a big supply boost will come in March.

Lexington Herald-Leader analysis of state data on long-term-care facilities shows that active cases of the coronavirus peaked in mid-December at more than 4,100, just as residents began receiving their coronavirus vaccine. Since, Daniel Desrocher reports, “the numbers have plummeted.”

On Friday, there were 399 active cases in the facilities, 228 of them among residents and 171 among employees. Five residents and 13 staff tested positive on Friday.

Lexington Herald-Leader graph

In other coronavirus news Friday:

  • The 28 fatalities were an Anderson County woman, 87; a Barren County woman, 88; a Barren County man, 82; a Breckinridge County man, 87; a Clinton County man, 65; a Fayette County woman, 78; three Fayette County men, 52, 63, 80; a Floyd County man, 62; a Garrard County man, 74; a Harlan County man, 74; a Jefferson County woman, 63; three Jefferson County men, 46, 68 and 76; two Laurel County men, 63 and 91; a Monroe County man, 72; an Owen County woman, 96; a Pulaski County woman, 74; a Pulaski County man, 67; a Russell County woman, 82; a Shelby County woman, 92; a Taylor County woman, 91; a Washington County man, 94; and two Wayne County women, 85 and 89.
  • Counties with 10 or more new cases of the virus on Friday were Jefferson, 466; Fayette, 116; Kenton, 93; Boone, 81; Daviess, 57; Madison, 54; Warren, 46; Campbell and Laurel, 44; Hardin, 40; Pulaski, 38; Scott, 35; Russell, 34; Barren, Caldwell, Oldham and Shelby, 32; Montgomery and Taylor, 25; Bullitt, 23; McCracken and McCreary, 22; Nelson, 21; Jessamine and Rowan, 20; Franklin and Knox, 18; Marion, Perry and Pike, 17; Grayson, 16; Clark, 15; Mercer, 14; Grant, 13; Henry and Johnson, 12; and Allen, Letcher, Morgan, Muhlenberg, Spencer and Woodford, 10.


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