A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

A Kentucky example shows how CDC’s slow, cautious approach to pandemic contributed to spread

A bombshell USA Today package details how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention failed to effectively respond to the growing pandemic, adding to its spread across the United States — especially in small towns and rural areas. “Reporters reviewed 42,000 pages of emails and memos obtained from health departments and interviewed more than 100 community leaders and public health experts,...

Dr. Ty Sullivan: Don’t let COVID-19 prevent your child’s annual doctor visit; check immunizations

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the way of life in Kentucky, our country and across the world. In recent months, stay-at-home orders, mask-wearing and social distancing measures have created a “new normal,” and all of us have put activities on hold to reduce the spread of the virus. But one activity that you should not put on hold is a child’s annual doctor visit. With schools back in session...

Kentucky’s childhood immunization rates have plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service There’s been a sharp decline in vaccination rates among Kentucky children since the onset of the coronavirus. And health experts say they are concerned about the confluence of COVID-19, flu season and the potential for other infectious-disease outbreaks. The state’s Department of Medicaid Services reports among Medicaid recipients, from March through...

Many of America’s faithful say it is time to return to church, but some governors continue to disagree

By Lindsey Van Ness Pew Charitable Trusts Gathering to pray feels more important than ever for many Americans of faith, as COVID-19 cases top 2 million in the United States and communities roil with anger about police brutality and systemic racism. Yet many governors and city leaders still prohibit large religious gatherings, angering some clergy — even those who backed pandemic-related restrictions...

KDE releases guidance on alternative learning strategies for reopening schools this fall

The Kentucky Department of Education released guidance Monday on ways to safely structure instruction and learning when schools reopen in the fall. The document, “COVID-19 Considerations for Reopening Schools: Alternative Learning Design Strategies,” explores a variety of learning and instruction models for districts to consider that prioritize safety during the pandemic, along with learning progression....

With interest in backyard chickens on the rise, experts warn of dangers of bacterial infections

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky When school is out and the weather turns warmer, people become more interested in raising backyard chickens. Since human interactions with poultry can raise the risk of bacterial infections, University of Kentucky poultry specialists are urging new and experienced backyard flock enthusiasts to remember safe handling principles. “We’re seeing an even higher...

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...

Ky. American Water to conduct system flushing; temporary changes to drinking water disinfection

Kentucky American Water will soon conduct its annual water system flushing program, which involves crews opening selected fire hydrants throughout the water distribution system and letting them flow for several minutes. This is an essential maintenance activity that assists in providing excellent quality water to customers because it helps remove natural sediment that can build up in water pipes over...

Constance Alexander: ‘Joy is always imperiled’ the fictional doctor said, but Gov. Beshear delivers hope

On December 30, a Chinese physician, Dr. Li Wenliang, 34, tried to alert fellow medics about the coronavirus outbreak in China’s Wuhan Province. His message to fellow doctors in a chat group warned them about the disease and advised that they wear protective clothing to avoid infection. Three days later police paid him a visit and told him to stop, as if it were a crime to inform the public of impending...

Why has coronavirus had a heavier impact on African Americans? Answers are in economics, sociology

The coronavirus is having a heavier effect on African Americans, putting new attention on the disparities in their health and the socioeconomic factors that influence health. Preliminary figures show that 12 percent of the Kentucky deaths attributed to COVID-19 were among African Americans, who comprise 8.3 percent of the state’s population. Even greater disparities have been found in other states,...

Governor vows crackdown if guidelines ignored as Kentucky records 45th coronavirus-related death

Staff report Gov. Andy Beshear reported 38 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing Kentucky’s total cases to 955. Of those at least 306 have recovered. There were five new deaths reported, bringing the total deaths to 45. Click image for CDC information on masks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated their guidance on the wearing of masks by the general public. According...

Gov. Beshear announces more actions aimed at protecting Kentucky families in COVID-19 pandemic

Gov. Andy Beshear Wednesday announced more actions he is taking to help combat the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and protect Kentuckians. “This is our duty. This is the challenge that we face in our lifetimes,” Gov. Beshear said of people doing their part to stop the coronavirus. “None of us have seen anything like this before, but I believe we are up to it. I believe we can do this,...

Gov. Beshear acts to limit spread of COVID-19; includes guidance for closure of government offices

Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced additional steps to contain and limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). “It’s my job to protect my family and friends, but I believe it’s all of our civic duty to protect our communities,” Beshear said. “I will use every resource in this state, every dollar at my disposal, every personnel that we have, to do everything we can to protect everyone’s...

New influenza cases in Kentucky dropped slightly in last week of February; vaccine remains best defense

In the last week of February, Kentucky reported fewer new cases of influenza and fewer deaths from it than it did the week before. The latest weekly report from the state Department for Public Health shows that in the week ending Feb. 29, Kentucky counted 1,591 new cases, down from 1,943 new cases the previous week. Five flu deaths were reported in the state, down from 14 the previous week and 16...

First case of 2019 novel coronavirus in Kentucky reported, Gov. Beshear declares state of emergency

KyForward staff The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is reporting Kentucky’s first case of COVID-19 (2019 novel coronavirus). While the risk to the general public is low, health officials are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) to identify and contact all those who may have come in contact with the person. Gov....

Number of new flu cases in Kentucky drops slightly; 66 adults have died from flu complications this year

The number of new cases of influenza dropped slightly in Kentucky during the second week of February, but 16 more adults in the state were reported to have died from the flu. So far, 66 Kentuckians have died from it this season, four under the age of 18, according to the state Department for Public Health. The latest weekly report shows that in the week ending Feb. 15, Kentucky counted 1,854 new cases,...

KHIP survey reveals vast majority of Kentucky adults favor medical marijuana legalization

Marijuana remains the most widely used illicit drug in the United States, with more than 22 million users each month nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Marijuana policies are being debated throughout the U.S. and in Kentucky. To help understand attitudes about marijuana in the commonwealth, the 2019 Kentucky Health Issues Poll asked Kentucky adults whether they...

Constance Alexander: Exploring the power of Alzheimer’s through metaphor and medicine

The official description is bleak: Alzheimer’s is a progressive disorder that causes brain cells to waste away and die. But Eugenia Zuckerman, who has been diagnosed with the disorder, sees it another way. In her memoir about coping with the dreaded condition, she compares the experience to falling through a cloud. Internationally known as a flutist and a writer, Ms. Zuckerman is also known to...

FDA finalizes enforcement of unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes that appeal to children

Amid the epidemic levels of youth use of e-cigarettes and the popularity of certain products among children, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Thursday issued a policy prioritizing enforcement against certain unauthorized flavored e-cigarette products that appeal to kids, including fruit and mint flavors. Under this policy, companies that do not cease manufacture, distribution and sale of unauthorized...

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides recap of 2019 health threats and responses (Part 2)

From an outbreak of mysterious lung-injury deaths to America’s near loss of measles elimination status, the beginning of the end of the U.S. HIV epidemic to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), CDC worked around the clock – and around the globe – to protect Americans from domestic and global health threats in 2019. Here’s a closer look at some of the biggest health...