A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Victory in sight over ‘evil virus’ as vaccinations begin; Beshear reports 1,802 cases, 17 deaths

Gov. Andy Beshear celebrated that COVID-19 vaccinations have begun in the Commonwealth, as three hospitals started vaccinating front-line workers Monday.

“This was the most exciting day that I’ve had, I think that we as a Commonwealth have had, since March 6, when we had our first diagnosed COVID case,” said Gov. Beshear. “It marks the beginning of the end of COVID-19. We are going to defeat this virus in 2021. This is a moment that we have hoped for and prayed for. The effectiveness of this Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine that’s going to follow is nothing short of a modern medical miracle.

“We are so proud of our corporate citizen UPS that is going to supply much of the eastern United States with this vaccine.

Vaccines have begun. (Photos by Scotty Perry/Bloomberg)

“This evil virus has taken over 2,000 Kentuckians, but now we know that victory is in sight. If we are smart and we work hard between now and when we can get everyone vaccinated and we don’t do rash things like eliminate protections that we have in place, we can save so many lives.”

Seven Kentucky hospitals are expected to receive vaccine shipments Tuesday: Baptist Health Corbin, Baptist Health Louisville, Baptist Health Madisonville, Norton Hospital, Pikeville Medical Center, St. Elizabeth Healthcare Edgewood and University of Kentucky Medical Center.

“We know the vaccine is vitally important to getting back to normal, and we are thankful to be a part of this effort to eradicate COVID-19,” said Baptist Health Corbin President Anthony Powers. “We stand ready to play a key role in this crucial initiative as we begin vaccinating our front-line health workers and our community as more supplies of vaccine become available over the next several months.”

The Governor also announced that the state’s $15 million Eviction Relief Fund has spent $12.3 million since the application opened Sept. 8 to help 3,254 households stay healthy in their homes.

“We’ve also spent over $1 million of Team Kentucky Fund dollars to pay for rent in 2021 – that helps 1,752 households,” said Gov. Beshear.

He said that applications have been reopened for the Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund and will stay open until all funds are exhausted, which could be between 24 and 48 hours. This reopening will be for past due rent for March through December 2020 only. About $1.4 million will be available.

When CARES Act funding is exhausted, the applications will again close. Kentuckians can apply here.

Finally, the Governor announced new public health guidance for Kentucky schools (see below). He said there would be no change in the way the incidence rate will be calculated for each county; instead, the recommendations and requirements for each color-coded zone from the Kentucky Department for Public Health are changing in the following ways:

1 Adjustments of red/orange county recommendations.
2 Every school must provide a meaningful virtual option that cannot negatively impact virtual students’ GPA, class rank or any other educational opportunity or recognition.
3 Schools must accommodate all educators and employees who fall into a high-risk category with a virtual option.
4 Healthy at School guidelines will be mandatory starting on Jan. 4, 2021.
5 KDPH recommends returning to in-person learning no sooner than Jan. 11, 2021.
6 Continue daily reporting.

Case Information

Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:

• New cases today: 1,802
• New deaths today: 17
• Positivity rate: 8.58%
• Total deaths: 2,224
• Currently hospitalized: 1,712
• Currently in ICU: 441
• Currently on ventilator: 243

Top counties with the most positive cases today are: Jefferson, Fayette, Boone and Warren. Each of these counties reported 50 or more new cases; Jefferson County alone reported 346.

Fayette County reported 146 cases.

Those reported lost to the virus today include a 74-year-old man from Bath County; a 92-year-old woman from Calloway County; a 92-year-old woman and an 81-year-old man from Fayette County; a 61-year-old woman and two men, ages 69 and 83, from Hopkins County; two women, ages 37 and 74, and a 77-year-old man from Jefferson County; a 77-year-old woman from Jessamine County; a 67-year-old man from Lawrence County; two men, ages 55 and 59, from Oldham County; and three women, ages 66, 83 and 84, from Washington County.

The Governor said different Kentucky regions have between 53% and 73% of hospital beds already in use; in addition, Kentucky regions have between 51% and 94% of ICU beds already filled.

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