First six vaccine lottery winners are announced; rate of new virus cases in Kentucky falls, but positive-test rate keeps going up

Winners of Kentucky’s first “Shot at a Million” lottery in Capitol rotunda (Governor’s office photo)

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Gov. Andy Beshear announced the first winners of Kentucky’s vaccine lottery on Friday, giving $1 million to one recipient and full-ride postsecondary education scholarships to five Kentucky youth.

Patricia Short, of the Lexington-Winchester area, won the first of three $1 million prizes that will be awarded to vaccinated Kentuckians.

After expressing her gratitude, Short encouraged everyone to go get vaccinated and to register online to be eligible for future drawings. “Get vaccinated, that’s the important thing,” she said. “Then you can register and you can win this too.”

Patricia Short shakes hands with Gov. Andy Beshear
after winning $1 million in the lottery. (WDRB photo)

Short was in the news in January when she told WLEX-TV that she and her husband were sleeping on the floor at a friend’s place because they could no longer afford one of their own, having not received the unemployment benefits for which she had applied six months earlier. That wasn’t mentioned in their visit with Beshear Friday, but it was noted by the station and Chris Otts of Louisville’s WDRB.

Winners of the scholarships were Jalen Crudup of Elizabethtown, Crystal Frost of Crestwood, Tyler Henson of Mt. Sterling, Adison Sullenger of Princeton and Alex VonderHaar, of Louisville.

Several of the recipients and their families encouraged Kentuckians to get vaccinated after expressing their gratitude for the scholarships, including Crudup, who said: “I would like to encourage everyone to get vaccinated.”

The remaining “Shot at a Million” drawings are set for July 29 and Aug. 26, with one millionaire and five scholarship recipients announced the day following each drawing. Those who did not win in the first drawing remain eligible for the other two. To learn more or to register, go to
Beshear said that since the 11:59 p.m. Wednesday deadline for entering the first drawing, more than 35,000 Kentuckians had entered for the next two. The lottery aims to spur vaccinations, which have lagged since mid-April, when they averaged about 40,000 per day.

In the two weeks after the lottery was announced, vaccinations approximately doubled, from about 9,000 to about 18,000 a day, but have generally fallen since. The seven-day average is just under 10,000 per day.

Pandemic numbers: After increasing for three straight days, the state’s seven-day average of new coronavirus cases fell by six Friday, to 183 per day. It had fallen to 163 per day, the lowest in a year, before the increases began.

The state reported 172 new cases of the virus Friday and 215 on Thursday; the Thursday report was delayed until Friday morning by problems in the federal reporting system, state officials said.

While new-case numbers and averages fell, the share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the last seven days jumped 0.1 percentage point, to 2.09%. It was below 2% for 11 days, but has increased for seven days in a row.

Hospitalizations have also increased lately. Kentucky hospitals reported 201 patients with Covid-19, 10 more than Thursday and 21 more than Wednesday. As usual, a little over a fourth of the state’s Covid-19 patients are in intensive care, and just under half of those are on ventilators.

The state’s seven-day rate of daily new cases per 100,000 residents, which rose to 3.47 on Wednesday, fell to 3.44 Thursday and 3.35 Friday.

Counties with rates more than double that rate are LaRue, 15.9; Webster, 15.5; Owen, 11.8; Leslie, 11.6; Hopkins, 11.2; Logan, 11.1; Graves, 10.7; Lyon, 10.4; Powell, 10.4; Grant, 10.3; Union, 9.9; Pike, 9.6; Estill, 8.1; Gallatin, 8.1; Perry, 7.8; Simpson, 7.7; Martin, 7.7; and Knott, 6.8.

Three Covid-19 deaths were reported on Thursday and six on Friday, bringing the death toll of the pandemic in Kentucky to 7,229. The state has had no day of double-digit deaths since June 10, when 17 were reported.

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