A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Uptick in state’s coronavirus cases accelerates over weekend; 65 percent of new cases in Jefferson Co.

Kentucky Health News chart shows cases reported each day for the last month. (Click on it to enlarge.)> By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Gov. Andy Beshear announced 319 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, one of the highest numbers the state has seen in weeks. “The virus is still out there. I know we’re tired. I know we all just want to have a normal summer,” Beshear said in a news...

COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Kentucky; Beshear talks testing, politics, schools, health

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The number of new, daily coronavirus cases in Kentucky continues to creep up, hitting a seven-day high of 295 on Thursday. Gov. Andy Beshear called the number “pretty high… elevated from where we were going for more than a week,” but said it is “a little too early” to say the trend has reversed and is on an upward trajectory. “Again,...

As COVID-induced mental health issues emerge, this expert says ‘send your brain on a summer vacation’

By Maridith Yahl Special to KyForward It’s summer and that usually means lots of fun. But, the quarantine from COVID-19 has caused fear, anxiety, and loneliness. It can seem overwhelming as if there is no hope, but Dr. Annette Nunez says it is possible to achieve a positive summer mindset and improve our mental health. She suggests sending your brain on a summer vacation. Dr. Nunez, a licensed psychotherapist,...

UK HealthCare’s eCAT Intensive Care Unit provides extra eyes during critical times around the clock

By Hilary Brown University of Kentucky A team of critical care nurses work around the clock to monitor patients’ vital signs, review lab results and assist care teams with urgent assessments, all from an unassuming office building in the University of Kentucky’s Coldstream Research Park, miles from UK Chandler Hospital. This is the home of UK HealthCare’s Enhanced Care through Advanced Technology...

Baptist Health offers employers online COVID-19 tools aimed at getting Kentuckians back to work

Baptist Health is sharing a page from its COVID-19 playbook with area employers anxious about safely reopening. The health system has a web-based solution to the state requirement to screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms before they report for work. “Baptist Health is helping to get Kentucky and Southern Indiana back to work by offering customized COVID-19 testing solutions and digital tools...

Coronavirus trend line continues to rise; protestors asked to wear masks to help control spread of virus

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Coronavirus cases showed a big drop on Sunday, but jumped again on Monday to a number similar to the elevated numbers seen near the end of last week. Prior to the elevation in numbers late last week, the state had seen a downward trend for almost two weeks. “Kentucky has had 131 new positive cases with zero new deaths on Sunday and 214 new cases with eight...

Plans in works to open schools in fall, despite some concerns that guidelines make it impossible

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Some Kentucky school superintendents say they wouldn’t be able to reopen schools under suggested state guidelines that require social distancing on school buses, rely on children to wear masks and will disrupt the normal class structure of upper grades. They voiced their concerns to public-health officials and the state education commissioner in an online...

Coronavirus cases remain elevated over weekend; pattern attributed to heavy testing at nursing homes

Coronavirus cases remained elevated over the weekend, but Gov. Andy Beshear said the number was driven by long-term care facilities, where the state is in the process of testing all residents and employees. Anonymous cell-phone tracking gauges mobility as the economy reopens. Selected counties’ numbers are shown; all are available on an interactive map from The Washington Post, with a story;...

Kentucky announces five healthcare companies to serve as Medicaid Managed Care providers

Gov. Andy Beshear and Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander announced the Commonwealth of Kentucky has awarded the state’s Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO) contract to five health care companies that will manage benefits for the state’s Medicaid enrollees. The five companies are Aetna, Humana, Molina Healthcare, UnitedHealthcare and WellCare. Aetna will also...

Baptist Health spearheads breakthrough COVID-19 plasma treatment in study led by Mayo Clinic

COVID-19 patients at Baptist Health Lexington now have access to a treatment program in a study led by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The breakthrough convalescent plasma treatment allows current patients with severe COVID-19 to receive plasma from recovered patients. The Mayo Clinic study is being spearheaded locally by Dr. Firas Badin, Dr. David Dougherty and Dr. Mark Dougherty through the Baptist...

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....