A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Reopening when not quite ready to thwart COVID-19 means managing risk; four types, health expert writes

No state “has met the metrics to safely reopen,” so the nation “needs to move to the public health strategy of harm reduction,” says former Baltimore health commissioner Leana Wen. “So what does that mean in terms of choices each of us makes — what’s safe to do and what’s not?” Wen, an emergency physician and visiting professor at George Washington University’s...

UK neurologist believes guidelines for multiple sclerosis diagnosis need updating, more research

By Hillary Smith University of Kentucky Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common demyelinating disorder in young adults but getting an accurate diagnosis can be tricky. The diagnosis is difficult as there is not one single test that can determine if someone has the disease. Doctors use several strategies to determine if a patient meets the long-established criteria for an MS diagnosis. They also...

What you should know about pediatric multi-symptom inflammatory syndrome and COVID-19

By Dr. Sean McTigue Kentucky Children’s Hospital There have been reports coming out of New York and other states that have been hit hard by the coronavirus about a complication experienced by children who have tested positive for COVID-19. Known as pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome (PMIS), doctors and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have made a connection between this...

Beshear announces new coronavirus cases in Kentucky are ‘in a decline’ during Friday briefing

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today “We now think we have not just plateaued, but we are in a decline,” Gov. Andy Beshear said on Friday during his daily press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic. “It doesn’t mean we are out of the woods, because we are changing our level of contacts, but it is really good news,” he said. “No one has actually seen what the decline looks like with this virus or...

Gov. Andy Beshear reports 135 new COVID cases, 10 deaths; talks more reopenings and food for kids

Gov. Andy Beshear reported in his daily briefing 135 new cases and 10 deaths, raising the state’s totals to 8,236 cases and 386 deaths. At least 3,008 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus. Healthy at Work The Governor also announced auctions could be held starting June 1. Horse shows can be held again starting on June 8. Bars, gatherings with 50 people or fewer and venues that hold 50 people...

Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services recognizes 24 EMS agencies for pediatric service

As part of EMS for Children Day May 20, which also falls during EMS Week May 17-23, the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services (KBEMS) and its Kentucky EMS for Children (KYEMSC) Pediatric Recognition program has recognized 24 EMS agencies who demonstrate their continued commitment to excellence in pediatric emergency care. “Children make up a small number of the patients we see in EMS. While...

Health commissioner worried that too many Kentuckians think COVID-19 doesn’t pose danger

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News Dr. Steven Stack, the state commissioner of public health, said in an interview recorded Friday and broadcast Monday night that he fears Kentuckians aren’t taking the coronavirus seriously enough. “I’m very worried that the public is becoming comfortable that this is not a danger,” and does not realize that only about 5 percent of Kentuckians...

Kentucky Employees’ Health Plan expands COVID-19 coverage; more than 260,000 members in state

The Kentucky Employees’ Health Plan (KEHP) has expanded COVID-19 related health care coverage for more than 260,000 members throughout the state. The KEHP will cover 100 percent of inpatient and outpatient services related to COVID-19 treatment for in and out-of-network providers. Members will have zero cost share when these services are billed with a COVID-19 diagnosis. This additional coverage...

Testing, contact tracing planned to thwart spread of virus as economy reopens in Kentucky

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News As Kentucky begins to reopen its economy, increased testing and contact tracing are the primary lines of defense to suppress a resurgence of the coronavirus and its covid-19 disease. Gov. Andy Beshear says the state is more than able to do the recommended 2 percent of testing that is called for in White House guidance to reopen the economy, which amounts to almost...

Trendline for new coronavirus cases remains up, but Beshear says two Louisville facilities skew numbers

Kentucky Health News chart shows trendline of new cases since May 3 (where there were 173) is up. By Al Cross Kentucky Health News As Kentucky prepares to allow all retail stores to open Monday, its two-week trend of new coronavirus cases is up, contrary to the federal guidelines that say such reopening shouldn’t begin unless cases have shown a downward trajectory for the previous two weeks. Gov....

County Health Rankings show largest shifts in middle rankings; familiar names at top, bottom

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The latest County Health Rankings report for Kentucky shows little change in the top and bottom quarters of the standings, with most of the bigger shifts among counties in the middle. The rankings measure health outcomes, gauged by life expectancy and measures of quality of life; and health factors, such as access to physicians and areas to exercise, tobacco...

UK HEALing Communities strategy fast-tracked due to COVID-19; study organized into six phases

By Allison Perry University of Kentucky Since the $87 million HEALing Communities Study was announced just more than a year ago, the University of Kentucky and its community and state partners have been working diligently to lay the groundwork to get the project up and running. The ambitious study is organized into six phases, beginning with the basic preparations and leading into actual implementation...

University of Kentucky researchers launch antibody testing to help understand immunity to COVID-19

By Elizabeth Chapin University of Kentucky University of Kentucky researchers have launched antibody testing that will help to understand what immunity to COVID-19 really means. Several research labs and core facilities within UK’s Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy will be testing the antibodies of recovered COVID-19 patients for a study to see how long they protect against reinfection. The research...

Louisville researcher studying link between personality, following coronavirus guidelines

By Baylee Pulliam University of Louisville Do extroverts have a harder time with social distancing? Are conscientious people more likely to wear face masks? University of Louisville researcher Michael Cunningham is investigating what factors, including personality, influence individual decisions on whether to take preventative measures that could help stymie the spread of coronavirus. Michael Cunningham “We...

Coronavirus expert says more inmates will become infected, die at state prison in Central City

The most commonly seen map of coronavirus cases in Kentucky shows the number confirmed in each county, but the more instructive map is the one that shows the rate: the number of cases per 100,000 population. That map shows the top counties are Butler, which has had a major outbreak in its nursing home; Muhlenberg, site of a state prison where all inmates and employees were tested after an outbreak;...

Three-time cancer survivor, Morehead State alum McKenzie Hicks now helps patients battle COVID-19

By Matt Schabert Morehead State University Morehead State soccer alum McKenzie Hicks is used to battles. On the field and off. The Ft. Thomas native and Highlands High School soccer standout came to campus in 2009 and has survived cancer not once, not twice, but three times. She also helped the Eagles battle their way to the 2010 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament title. Now she is helping patients...

Sale of Hardin Memorial Health to Baptist Health accelerated; will be finalized by Sept. 1

The sale of Hardin Memorial Health (HMH) to Baptist Health has been accelerated, and will now be finalized by Sept. 1, 2020. The prior plan called for closing on or before Dec. 1, 2020. “We are pleased to share the news that HMH can begin reaping the benefits of joining Kentucky’s largest not-for-profit healthcare system sooner than expected,” said Harry L. Berry, Hardin County Judge/Executive....

Janelle Schnake: Tips to avoid weight gain while stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic

For most of us, COVID-19 has disrupted our routines, and changes such as working from home or losing a job may lead to increased stress. Stress and boredom are the top two causes of mindless eating – and being cooped up at home with easy access to food can also lead to overeating. Healthy eating and physical activity are the two main pillars of a healthy lifestyle. This helps maintain our current...

University of Kentucky launches clinical trial to evaluate experimental treatments for coronavirus

Clinical leaders from the University of Kentucky’s Markey Cancer Center, College of Medicine and College of Pharmacy have launched a clinical trial for experimental therapies to treat patients infected with COVID-19. The trial will investigate the effectiveness of azithromycin, ivermectin and camostat mesylate—drugs that could inhibit replication of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease....

Beshear discusses how to deal with ‘very scary virus’ as businesses reopen; says there are enough tests

By Melissa Patrick and Al Cross Kentucky Health News As a shortlist of Kentucky businesses plan to reopen next Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear spoke at length Monday about how he would proceed with a slow, gradual restart, noting that some states were seeing a spike in coronavirus cases and COVID-19 deaths as they relaxed restrictions. Such increases have been projected by the Trump administration, according...