A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky state leaders demonstrate bipartisan support for safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine

Secretary of State Michael Adams, Auditor Mike Harmon, Supreme Court Deputy Chief Justice Lisabeth T. Hughes and Justice Samuel T. Wright III received the vaccination against COVID-19 on Monday in the Capitol Rotunda, helping to ensure the continuity of state government and demonstrating bipartisan support for the safe, effective vaccine that is crucial to ending the pandemic and saving lives in Kentucky. Justice...

Smoking during pregnancy can cause long-term problems for babies; stop smoking now

By Maridith Yahl KyForward reporter Smoking during pregnancy affects how the baby takes in oxygen, how the baby develops and has negative effects which can present from birth into adulthood. “When a mother smokes while pregnant, the baby is absorbing carbon monoxide, nicotine, and other cancer-causing chemicals in cigarettes,” says Cady Cornell, Tobacco Health Educator, Northern Kentucky Health...

Leapfrog Group rates patient safety in Kentucky hospitals; most get Cs but 16 standouts get As

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News More Kentucky hospitals than the last time got a grade of A on a nonprofit group’s rating of patient safety in hospitals, but for the fifth grading period in a row, most of the 45 Kentucky hospitals got Cs. St. Elizabeth Healthcare got its fifth-consecutive A since 2015, the first year it was graded. “St. Elizabeth takes high quality care and safety...

Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky names six new members to Community Advisory Council

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has named six new members to its Community Advisory Council. The members serve three-year renewable terms as advisers to the Foundation Board of Directors and liaisons from their respective communities. The newly appointed members are: Carol Darwin Carol Darwin, MSN, APRN, of Louisville, is a dual board-certified nurse practitioner in both adult-gerontology acute...

Ky. shows little progress in latest health rankings; we’re getting less exercise, diabetes has increased

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Kentucky again ranks near the bottom in two big health measures: 48th for health behaviors and 46th for health outcomes, according to the America’s Health Rankings report from the United Health Foundation. Most of the reasons are familiar, such as a high percentage of Kentuckians with more than one chronic condition — such as diabetes, which has become...

Kentucky Equal Justice Center’s Rich Seckel wins 2020 Gil Friedell Memorial Health Policy Award

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has named Rich Seckel, director of the Kentucky Equal Justice Center (KEJC), the recipient of its 2020 Gil Friedell Memorial Health Policy Award. Seckel was chosen for his leadership to prevent more than 100,000 Kentuckians living on low incomes from losing their health insurance, which became especially critical this year during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Advocacy...

St. Jude psychologists: Tend to your mental health over the holidays; address isolation, loneliness, grief

With the holiday season in full swing and many Americans bracing for a long winter of increased isolation, loneliness and grief, the team of psychologists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital are asking Americans to take a few moments out of their busy schedules today to tend to mental health. Megan Wilkins The team of psychologists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have years of experience...

Santa ‘Zooms’ into Kentucky Children’s Hospital with Christmas message, virtual North Pole tour

Because of restrictions at Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH), two-year-old Mac-Mac doesn’t get many visitors. But an extra special visitor stopped by via Zoom to bring him some holiday cheer. It was the big man himself. Santa Claus, who stops by KCH every year to visit with patients and families, is doing his visits a little differently this year. Even though he is immune to COVID-19, Santa chooses...

Record-breaking day for COVID deaths, positivity down, 3,349 new cases, more vaccine on the way

Gov. Andy Beshear said while new cases continue to plateau and the state’s positivity rate declines, the Commonwealth set a record of newly reported deaths — 54 — a result of the state’s previous spike in cases. “Our death report today is by far the most people that we’ve lost, and remember, that’s a reflection of where this virus was about three weeks ago, where it was trending,”...

Public health officials, workers have become ‘a public punching bag’; one in 10 have quit during pandemic

Local public-health officials and workers “have found themselves at the center of a political storm as they combat the worst pandemic in a century,” and one in 10 in Kentucky have left their jobs for one reason or another, Kaiser Health News and The Associated Press report. “Amid a fractured federal response, the usually invisible army of workers charged with preventing the spread...

Three hospitals, including Baptist Health, administer first COVID vaccines in Kentucky, a ‘historic day’

Gov. Andy Beshear and UofL Health officials marked a historic moment in the fight against the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) as the first vaccines shipped to Kentucky were administered Monday morning at UofL Hospital. Three Kentucky hospitals, UofL Hospital, Baptist Health Lexington and the Medical Center at Bowling Green, each received 975 doses Monday and began their vaccination plans. Seven Kentucky...

Humbaugh to step down as Commissioner of Health of Lexington-Fayette County Health Department

Commissioner of Health Dr. Kraig Humbaugh has announced his plans to step down from his position as leader of the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department next summer. Dr. Kraig Humbaugh announced his plans to step down from his position as leader of the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department. “It’s been an honor to be working with a world-class team of public health professionals who continue...

UK Extension Service volunteers fulfill need of region’s health care workers during pandemic

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky As COVID-19 cases escalated across the state, a group of University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service volunteers in Northeast Kentucky stepped up to make sure local health care workers had proper protection to administer COVID-19 tests. The Lewis County Extension office was contacted by Primary Plus, which operates 10 clinics across the region. The health...

Hospitals urge use of free COVID-19 testing sites; reserve ER visits for urgent medical issues

With the surge of COVID-19 cases, many people are arriving at hospital emergency departments for testing. But unless you have severe symptoms, Lexington area doctors say that the ER is not the place to go for community testing. Emergency departments are open as always for those experiencing severe symptoms or with urgent medical issues. But some people arrive with no or mild symptoms asking for a COVID-19...

Murray State School of Nursing and Health Professions develops new simulation center

The Murray State University School of Nursing and Health Professions has recently formed a consortium with Murray-Calloway County Hospital (MCCH) and the Purchase Area Health Education Center (Purchase AHEC) to develop a simulation center and recruitment program to meet an identified, demonstrable need for more qualified registered nurses and other healthcare providers in Murray State’s 18 county...

Understanding the creation of vaccines, and how they will change the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic

By Mallory Olson University of Kentucky It has been nearly one year since SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19) changed the world. With millions of people infected and over a quarter-million dead in the United States (U.S.), the novel coronavirus continues its pervasive hold on our health and well-being. After months of stress, frustration and uncertainty, people are itching to travel and visit loved ones during the...

Kentucky’s contact-tracing program lacks specific data sought by Republican leaders in Frankfort

When Gov. Andy Beshear shut down indoor dining in restaurants and bars to slow the increasing spread of the coronavirus, “criticism from Republican leaders in Frankfort was both swift and predictable,” Joe Sonka of the Louisville Courier-Journal notes in a story about the effort to trace past contacts of those with the virus. Republican legislative leaders reiterated their complaint about...

DHS, drug makers provide tips to avoid scams as distribution of coronavirus vaccines begins

As several coronavirus vaccines move toward approval, not only is the general public anxious for them to be widely distributed in hopes of getting back to a normal life, but so are the scammers, who are “ready to use that desperation to their advantage,” federal investigators told The Associated Press. (Image from WHSV-TV, via Kentucky Health News) Department of Homeland Security investigators...

Only 145 cases of flu confirmed in Kentucky, but experts say it’s too early to call the season mild

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Kentucky has confirmed one-sixth as many flu cases this season as at this time last season, but the state’s top doctor says it’s too soon to read much into that. “It is too early to celebrate a mild influenza season in Kentucky,” Health Commissioner Steven Stack in an e-mail. “The onset of peak influenza season varies from year to year, and...

National story on nursing homes and pandemic highlights case of Ky. staffer who died of covid

A Kentucky example figures prominently in a national story about nursing homes, their staffs, their residents and families dealing with the pandemic. “Burnout is stalking the country’s nursing homes,” Will England’s story begins. “Even as the coronavirus peaks yet again, remaining staffers are worn out, often fed up with the companies they work for, and yet many say they are...