Corfonavirus Blog

SPECTRUM NEWS 1 CORONAVIRUS BLOG

Families worried about holiday travel with new omicron COVID-19 variant spreading

BY Erin Wilson
UPDATED 5:15 PM ET Nov. 28, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — U.S. restrictions impacting travel from eight countries in Southern Africa go into effect on Monday.

The Biden administration announced the restrictions on Friday after the World Health Organization reported a new "omicron" variant of COVID-19 is spreading through parts of Southern Africa.

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Increased COVID-19 testing continues into the holiday season

BY Khyati Patel

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Cases of COVID-19 are slowly creeping back up after seeing weeks of a plateau.

Many COVID-19 testing sites remained closed for the Thanksgiving Day holiday, but a handful of them operated in limited hours to provide many Kentuckians a safe way to celebrate the holiday.

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University of Kentucky students make holiday plans, consider COVID-19 risk factors for gatherings

BY Diamond Palmer
UPDATED 8:30 AM ET Nov. 25, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. — We are less than 24 hours away from being at the dinner table and eating turkey, many college campuses including the University of Kentucky have already begun their Thanksgiving breaks.

University of Kentucky’s campus is practically deserted on the day before Thanksgiving, that is because they have started their Thanksgiving break on the busiest day to travel of the year. UK senior Reagan Smith is not traveling very far because he is from Lexington, he is considering how to safely gathering with his family to avoid contracting the virus.

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Woodford County woman's bell tolls in honor of COVID-19 victims

BY Khyati Patel

WOODFORD COUNTY, Ky. — It’s a tradition born at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a Woodford County woman is still carrying it on to this day

She lights her home green and rings a bell at 10 a.m. each day by a request made by Gov. Andy Beshear back in March 2020 when churches first closed.

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In counties with low vaccination rates, health officials are 'at a loss'

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As the weather cools and holidays arrive, COVID-19 cases in Kentucky are creeping back up, but vaccination rates in some counties remain alarmingly low, health officials told Spectrum News 1.

“Get vaccinated,” Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday in a press conference where he outlined an increase in cases and hospitalizations across the state. "Everybody at your Thanksgiving dinner should be vaccinated, as long as they're over five."

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Pass the boosters: Gov. Beshear urges COVID-19 vaccines ahead of Thanksgiving

BY Bryce Shreve and Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A week ahead of Thanksgiving, vaccinated Kentuckians should make sure to get a booster shot to help ward off another surge of coronavirus cases, Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday.

“We have more tools approaching Thanksgiving than ever before, and more people eligible,” the Democratic governor said at a virtual news briefing. “Make sure that when you sit down at that Thanksgiving table with the people you love, you have the highest level of immunity to protect them.”

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How to ease your kid's fear of needles ahead of their COVID-19 vaccine

BY David Williams

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Now that Kentucky children as young as 5 can get a COVID vaccine, more and more parents have signed their kids up to get the shot. But not every child is thrilled about the idea of that jab.

For some children, just the sight of one of these needles is downright scary. And Dr. Carly Sperzel understands that.

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Gov. Beshear authorizes COVID-19 booster shots for all Kentucky adults

BY Bryce Shreve

KENTUCKY — Booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine can now be taken by all Kentucky adults. Gov. Beshear on Wednesday signed an executive order qualifying more Kentuckians for the vaccine booster as statewide numbers show new cases are appearing to plateau.

The executive order qualifies those aged 18 and up to get a COVID-19 vaccination booster six months after their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, or two months after a single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

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Former Louisville Cardinal and COVID long hauler, Asia Durr cleared to play basketball

BY Deborah Harbsmeier

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Two and a half years after being the second overall pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft, former Louisville Cardinal Asia Durr has been cleared to once again play basketball.

Durr tested positive for COVID-19 in early 2020 and is classified as a long hauler. She has missed two full seasons with the New York Liberty but has finally been given the green light to play.

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Macy’s unveils 6 new floats for Thanksgiving Day Parade, including a 'floalloonicle'

BY Clodagh McGowan
UPDATED 5:16 PM ET Nov. 16, 2021

Moonachie, N.J. — A feast for your stomach — and for your eyes. That’s the theme of a festive creation, the Heinz Gravy Pirate boat, a completely new element for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route.

“It’s a 'floalloonicle.' So it's part float, part 'balloonicle,'” said Will Coss, the executive producer of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. "So it’s got an interior structure and sort of s stage for our talent on top. But it also has a balloon element, which is the actual pirate ship itself."

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Crowds to return for Times Square New Year's Eve celebration - but vaccination required

BY Elina Tarkazikis
UPDATED 1:29 PM ET Nov. 16, 2021

NEW YORK — New Year's Eve in Times Square will return with crowds this year - but attendees 5 and older must present proof that they are fully vaccinated and photo ID, Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed Tuesday.

Spectators under 5 must be accompanied by a vaccinated adult and wear a mask, city officials say.

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Homeschooling becoming more popular thanks to the pandemic

BY Amber Smith

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The COVID-19 pandemic pushed families to rethink their options on how to best educate their children. The U.S. Census Bureau found a sharp increase in families taking up home schooling since the start of the pandemic.

The Hackman's morning routine is different from most. Mom Angela Hackman home-schools all three of her kids.

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Poll: Americans still plan to cautiously celebrate the holidays amid COVID-19

BY Lydia Taylor

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The world is in its second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, and although much progress has been made with COVID-19 vaccines becoming more widely available, many U.S. families still plan to cautiously celebrate the holidays, according to a survey from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

The online survey by the Harris Poll on behalf of the Wexner Medical Center questioned 2,042 adults 18 and older between Oct. 29 and Nov. 1. Nearly half plan to require friends and family to wear masks during gatherings, which is down 67% compared to OSU's poll last year. Around three-fourths said they plan to celebrate with only members of their household.

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In memoriam: New art installation to honor over 10,000 Kentuckians lost to COVID-19

BY Bryce Shreve and Diamond Palmer

FRANKFORT, Ky. — As Kentucky eclipsed 10,200 COVID-19 deaths, Gov. Andy Beshear on Sunday held a memorial ceremony to honor those lost and announce details for the memorial art installation coming to the Capitol soon.

First Lady Britainy Beshear, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, religious leaders, health care workers and many more also took part in the service. You can watch the full memorial service here.

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Some Oldham County School parents disappointed with optional mask policy

BY Erin Wilson

LAGRANGE, Ky. — The Oldham County Board of Education made adjustments to their COVID-19 plan this week that has some parents turning heads.

For 4-year-old Cooper Reynolds, wearing a mask is not only an extra layer of protection but an accessory. But starting Nov. 29, Cooper may be the only one left wearing a mask in his classroom at Oldham County Preschool. That's because on Monday, the Oldham County Board of Education voted to make masks optional in all school buildings.

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Humana updates its vaccine guidelines to match Biden administration’s order

BY Ashley N. Brown

The order also states that unvaccinated workers must wear face masks indoors at their workplaces starting Dec. 5.

Although a federal appeals court ordered a temporary halt to the mandate, Humana, a health insurance company and one of Louisville’s largest employers, updated rules in its vaccination policy to match those of the order.

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How Kentucky's biggest colleges are approaching the federal vaccine mandates

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Dozens of public universities around the country have started requiring COVID-19 vaccines for employees following President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates for federal contractors and large employers, but most of Kentucky’s biggest schools have not.

While the University of Kentucky has said all staff will need to either get vaccinated or seek an exemption, the University of Louisville, Eastern Kentucky University, Northern Kentucky University, and Western Kentucky University say they are still evaluating the new rules relating to mandates.

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Ed Commons one of many in central Kentucky rolling sleeves up for COVID boosters

BY Diamond Palmer

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Dozens more people in Lexington rolled up their sleeves for COVID-19 booster shots on Friday, including Ed Commons, who some may recognize as the host of Red Barn Radio.

Commons is a New York native whose passion is inviting musicians from all over the Commonwealth to preserve the music of Kentucky. Commons rolled up his sleeves for the safety of his production team and future guests that he will host.

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Gov. Beshear, First Lady get their COVID-19 booster shot

BY Joe Ragusa

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear and his wife, First Lady Britainy Beshear, each received a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine during Thursday's Team Kentucky update.

“I am convinced that if we have another spike and the severity of what it will be will depend on how many of our people we have gotten boosted,” Gov. Beshear said. “We have seen in recent weeks that waning immunity is real.”

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Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron leads lawsuit to block vaccine mandate for federal contractors

BY Bryce Shreve and Associated Press

KENTUCKY — Just hours after it was announced, President Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors is seeing a legal challenge spearheaded by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

Cameron on Thursday filed a lawsuit, joined by Ohio and Tennessee, challenging the Biden Administration’s mandate aimed at federal contractors. The suit, filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, alleges that the mandatory vaccination requirement is unlawful and unconstitutional.

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Consolidated Baptist Church offers Moderna booster shot, worshipper back first time since pandemic started

BY Diamond Palmer

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Consolidated Baptist Church is helping people get booster shots, thanks to a partnership with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department. LFCHD is offering their first round of boosters for people immunocompromised, over 65, or a front line worker which is among other qualifications.

Mary Linn received her COVID-19 moderna booster shot Wednesday afternoon in Consolidated Baptist Church, a place of worship she has been going for years. Wednesday was the first time she returned in-person since the beginning of the pandemic. She has been utilizing virtual worship services from the church in order to prevent any potential COVID-19 exposure outside of her home. Linn’s mouth is not visible but from her excitement, it is smiles ear to ear for the Lexington resident and former Fayette County Public School teacher.

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More COVID shot appointments for young kids to go online by Friday

BY Austin Landis

One day after the nation’s top public health agency gave a final green light to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine for young kids, federal health officials on Wednesday called the next phase of vaccinations ‘monumental’ and detailed the rollout of children’s vaccines expected over the coming days and weeks.

That includes adding shot appointments for kids 5 to 11 years-old on Vaccines.gov, the federal website where people around the country can find a coronavirus vaccine near them.

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Kids and the COVID vaccine: 10 things to know

BY Charles Duncan

Children as young as 5 can now get a COVID-19 vaccine.

This week, Pfizer passed the final hurdles to give its coronavirus vaccine to 5 to 11-year-olds. Kids 12 and up were already able to get vaccinated.

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Metro Council preps premium pay, but some workers feel slighted

BY Adam K. Raymond
UPDATED 9:08 AM ET Nov. 03, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — On June 1, 2020, nearly three months after COVID shut down Louisville’s libraries, they reopened for curbside pickup. Jo Smiley and other library clerks were an essential part of that process.

“We were the ones delivering people's books, DVDs and library materials,” Smiley said. “We were wearing masks, but a lot of the people in their cars were not.”

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After dealing with long COVID, LaGrange family looks forward to getting their kids vaccinated

BY Erin Wilson

LAGRANGE, Ky. — After battling COVID-19 and still dealing with the long-term effects nearly ten months later, one LaGrange man is hoping to get his youngest children vaccinated to prevent the same outcome he has dealt with.

When the news of the FDA endorsing the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 was released, the Queen family could not hide their excitement.

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JCPS high schoolers get their jabs at COVID-19 vaccine drive

BY Joe Ragusa

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Seneca High School sophomore Zachary Koerner has been planning to get the COVID-19 vaccine with his mom, but they just haven’t had the time to do it.

“My mom’s been busy with work. I’ve been busy with work and school,” he said. “So we’ve just kind of had conflicting schedules.”

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'I don't have 33 cents': The eviction moratorium is over, but the crisis isn't

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Mary Perales sat on a bench outside of South Louisville Community Ministries last Thursday with several pressing needs, including a lighter, a ride to her apartment half of a mile away, and $1,000.

“My landlord called me this morning and said he was going to evict me if I don’t pay $1,000,” Perales said. “I don’t have 33 cents.”

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CVS rolls out Moderna, Pfizer booster shots in 80 locations across Kentucky

BY Diamond Palmer

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Getting back to normalcy is a goal of many families with the holiday season coming up. With that goal in mind, CVS Pharmacy is rolling out Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots at 9,800 locations across the country, including 80 here in the Commonwealth.

“We know of course, science thus far has proven that the safest, most effective way to prevent against not only COVID-19 but those serious complications like hospitalizations, death is through is vaccination," said Ashlee Slocum, a CVS Health district leader. "So the approval of the booster dose ensures we got optimal protection for those specific populations against COVID-19 and those complications."

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Dayton is offering free bus rides for residents to get their COVID-19 vaccine

BY Sam Knef

DAYTON, Ky.-- One local government in Northern Kentucky is trying to make it easier for people to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

The city of Dayton had success with its own COVID-19 vaccine clinic earlier this year, but that clinic is no longer in Dayton, so recently, city officials like City Administrator Jake Fossett have been talking to the Northern Kentucky Health district about coming back.

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School mental health experts report spike in anxiety, suicidal thoughts since start of pandemic

BY Erin Kelly

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Mental health professionals have seen a spike in anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts among Kentucky students since the start of the pandemic, according to testimony before a joint committee of lawmakers Tuesday.

“The number of suicide threats in my own school has skyrocketed since COVID," said Amy Riley, a school counselor at Mercer County Intermediate School. "There were weeks this past spring, shortly after returning from virtual learning, that we would assess two to three students a day for viable suicidal threats ... Just this morning, I had to do a suicide risk assessment on a 9 year old in my school before I came to this hearing today."

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Essential workers say bonus would show appreciation for their sacrifice

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday unveiled a plan to use $400 million in federal funding to reward essential workers who have remained in the field throughout the pandemic.

“From health care heroes to first responders to grocery store workers and educators, the bravery and dedication of these essential workers has remained strong,” he said.

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JCPS Board to consider test-to-stay, $200 incentives for vaccinated employees

BY Amber Smith

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A growing number of Kentucky school districts are switching to test-to-stay policies. Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) could be the next to implement that new quarantine policy.

At Tuesday's meeting, JCPS superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said he will recommend the board approve a new test-to-stay policy in the district. Under that plan, students who were in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 would not have to quarantine if they are not displaying symptoms and they continue to test negative for COVID-19.

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Report shows nearly a third of inmates released in pandemic later charged with felony

BY Erin Kelly

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A new report shows nearly a third of Kentucky inmates who were released by order of the governor due to the pandemic have been charged with a felony since getting out of prison.

With COVID-19 spreading quickly through Kentucky’s prisons last year, Gov. Andy Beshear ordered the release of more than 1,700 inmates.

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'Definitely want to make sure that you're protected.' UofL Health, local church partner to offer vaccines, boosters

BY Khyati Patel

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Health officials brought COVID-19 vaccines to Kentuckians. The University of Louisville Health and St. Stephen Church partnered to offer more doses.

"I wanted to make sure that I have a fresh start, and with going in someplace new. You definitely want to make sure that you're protected," said Stallydia Mucker, who received a COVID-19 booster shot.

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Kentucky’s COVID-19 positivity rate drops into single digits for first time in months

BY Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s COVID-19 test positivity rate dropped into single digits for the first time in nearly two months Friday, but the virus continues to exact a heavy toll on the state.

Gov. Andy Beshear reported 4,118 new coronavirus cases and 34 more virus-related deaths, pushing the statewide virus death toll past 8,800. The newest reported deaths included two Kentuckians as young as 36, the governor said. Younger people have been hit hard by the fast-spreading delta variant.

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WCPS launching 'Test-to-Stay' program to keep kids in school

BY Crystal Sicard

VERSAILIES, Ky. — Schools are working to find safer ways to keep students in the classroom. That's why Woodford County is initiating a Test-To-Stay program.

One of Woodford County Public Schools' biggest priorities, along with safety, has been keeping classes in-person, and one way the district believes will help is a test-to-stay program.

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Officials optimistic for October as COVID-related hospitalizations trend down

BY Bryce Shreve and Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Coronavirus-related hospitalizations in Kentucky have dropped in recent days, leaving state officials hopeful the new month will be much better than September, when the delta variant ravaged the Commonwealth.

Statewide hospitalizations and patients in intensive care units due to COVID-19 decreased in the past seven days based on a “rolling average,” Gov. Andy Beshear said.

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CDC study: Side effects from 3rd booster dose similar to those from 2nd dose

BY Spectrum News Staff

People who received a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine experienced side effects after the shot at similar rates to those who received two doses, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a promising sign about vaccine safety as booster doses roll out nationwide for millions of Americans.

"The frequency and type of side effects were similar to those seen after the second vaccine doses and were mostly mild or moderate and short-lived," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing on Tuesday.

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How the end of federal unemployment benefits has effected hiring in Kentucky

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Glaser’s Collision Centers struggled all summer to fill a handful of jobs in its four local auto body shops.

Sales and Marketing Manager Liz DeHart believed the federal government’s pandemic unemployment benefits, which provided unemployed workers an additional $300 a week, was a big part of the problem. “People didn't want to come off of the unemployment benefits and extra money they were making,” she told Spectrum News 1 this week.

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Federal judge upholds St. Elizabeth Healthcare's vaccine mandate

BY Bryce Shreve and Sam Knef
UPDATED 9:52 AM ET Sep. 28, 2021

EDGEWOOD, Ky. — A federal judge ruled in favor of St. Elizabeth Healthcare on Friday, saying that the northern Kentucky hospital system is allowed to require the COVID-19 vaccine for its over 10,000 employees.

St. Elizabeth employees are required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1, unless they get a medical or religious exemption approved.

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FCPS board members approve new vaccine incentive program

BY Crystal Sicard

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) board met Monday evening to discuss vaccine incentives for vaccinated FCPS employees and solutions for the bus driver shortage.

The school board and community members discussed different issues within the district. One of the items up for discussion was a new vaccine incentive for employees.

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'A kind, thoughtful young man:' Fayette County schools mourn loss of 1st student to COVID

BY Crystal Sicard
UPDATED 4:45 PM ET Sep. 24, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) announced its first student to die of COVID-19 Thursday. Christopher "CJ" Gordon Jr., a 15-year-old sophomore at The Learning Center, died Thursday morning.

“We were heartbroken to learn that [CJ] died this morning,” FCPS superintendent Demetrus Liggins said. “He was a kind, thoughtful young man with a bright future ahead of him, and we join his family in mourning his tragic death.”

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Louisville Zoo begins administering COVID vaccine for animals



LOUISVILLE, Ky. — While it isn't Pfizer or Moderna, some animals at the Louisville Zoo have now received their version of a COVID-19 vaccine. The Zoo announced it received doses of a “uniquely formulated” vaccine developed for animal species from animal health care company Zoetis. The doses are going to species that have shown to be most susceptible to the virus, the Zoo said.

The Zoo said it will administer the vaccine to 29 apes and cats over the coming weeks. The process will be similar to administering the annual flu shots that apes already receive.

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Customs seizes thousands of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards in Northern Kentucky

BY Sam Knef

ERLANGER, Ky. — Federal officers in Northern Kentucky seized thousands of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.

With the amount of cargo that’s constantly flying in and out of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is always on the lookout for items that aren’t supposed to be there.

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Few health care workers have left Kentucky hospitals over vaccine mandate

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Hospitals that require employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine have not seen a significant number of worker departures, Kentucky Hospital Association president Nancy Galvagni told lawmakers Wednesday.

“In talking with our members, they report the overwhelming majority of staff are receiving the vaccine,” she said. “And there has been no operational impact from adding this requirement.”

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National Guard support expanding to more Kentucky hospitals, Beshear says

BY Bryce Shreve

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear said he's now deployed over 500 Kentucky National Guard members to 29 hospitals throughout the state as Kentucky grapples with the highest COVID-19 hospitalization rate per capita in the nation.

Beshear said 505 Guard members have been deployed so far, expanding the Guard’s presence by 94 members and to four more hospitals this week.

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Open letter sent to University of Kentucky requests vaccine mandate on campus

BY Crystal Sicard

LEXINGTON, Ky. — An open letter in Lexington has collected more than 2,000 signatures asking the University of Kentucky administration to consider creating a vaccine mandate on campus.

This month, Jerry Woodward, a professor at UK, along with other faculty members, presented an open letter to the president of the university, asking for the school to require everyone who attends or works at the school to be fully vaccinated.

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Kentucky leads the nation in most COVID-19 hospitalizations

BY Khyati Patel

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky leads the nation in the most hospitalizations per 100,000 population according to data from the COVID-19 Forecast Hub website.

Researchers predict that if the current rate of hospitalizations continues, in the next two weeks hospitalizations could jump up by more than 11%.

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COVID patient's son throws pizza party for entire ICU unit

BY Ashley N. Brown

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Some people know exactly what they will eat or what they will do on their lunch break before they even finish with breakfast.

For nurses responding to the second wave of COVID-19, breaks can seem more of a luxury.

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How Kentucky's colleges are handling COVID-19

BY Adam K. Raymond
UPDATED 11:27 AM ET Sep. 22, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — One month into the fall semester, Kentucky’s major public universities have avoided large outbreaks of COVID-19 and helped their campuses reach vaccination rates that far exceed the rest of the state. But some critics think there’s still more to do to keep students, staff, faculty and their families safe.

Data reported on public dashboards shows that the University of Louisville has conducted 3,155 COVID-19 tests since mid-August and has seen a 4.7% positivity rate. The University of Kentucky has conducted nearly three times as many tests — 11,604 — and has seen a 2.7% positivity rate. Both of those are far lower than the state’s 12% positivity rate.

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HHS secretary urges Kentuckians to get vaccine

BY Erin Kelly

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Saying Kentucky hospitals have been “pushed to the brink,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra called on Kentuckians to get vaccinated Tuesday.

"Kentuckians can help us save lives," he said. "Kentuckians can help end this pandemic. What we have to do isn’t rocket science: get vaccinated, take steps like mask wearing indoors and encourage family and friends to do the same."

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JCPS: 10% of students tested weekly for COVID-19

BY Jonathon Gregg

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Ten percent of Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) students are being tested weekly for the coronavirus.

For Jefferson County Public Schools, the fight against the coronavirus includes weekly testing of students. These tests are voluntary and require parent or guardian approval.

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Vax FAQ: Updates on vaccines for kids, booster shots and other developments

BY Charles Duncan

As state leaders continue to push to get more people vaccinated, there’s still a lot of confusion for those who have already gotten the shots and for parents of young children who can’t get vaccinated.

News on the coronavirus vaccines has been moving quickly. Federal regulators have been debating when people should get booster shots. New data recently showed the Pfizer vaccine to be safe and effective in children as young as 5.

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'They’re just coming to work fighting back tears,' doctor says amidst hospital staffing shortages

BY Amber Smith

FRANKFORT, Ky. — With the latest surge of COVID-19, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said more than two-thirds of hospitals in Kentucky are reporting critical staffing shortages.

State Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, told Spectrum News 1 last week that Beshear could call a special session soon to address staff shortages at Kentucky hospitals and nursing homes. Republican lawmakers are urging Beshear to spend up to $150 million on hospitals and nursing homes to help with COVID-19.

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Pfizer vaccine closer to emergency use for young kids

BY Jonathon Gregg

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Pfizer announced its vaccine is safe for young children and that they plan to seek emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Kentucky medical professionals are reacting positively to Pfizer's announcement.

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Here is what's happening this week in Kentucky

BY Amber Smith

KENTUCKY — This week marks the start of changes to disciplinary measures for not following COVID-19 protocols at the University of Kentucky, lane closures in Lexington and a music festival returns after a year off. That's a look at some of the things happening this week in Kentucky.

Monday marks the start of new disciplinary measures for students, staff and faculty at the University of Kentucky who do not follow COVID-19 safety measures. Unvaccinated students and staff are required to get tested for COVID-19 weekly.

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Bridging the vax gap: Church helping Hispanic community get vaccinated with bilingual translator

BY Diamond Palmer

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Centro de San Juan Diego in Lexington held a vaccination clinic helping members of the Hispanic community get their shots of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Catholic diocese offered support, privacy and efficiency during their Sunday clinic.

Centro has been serving the needs of the Hispanic community in Lexington since November 2020, but founders Dot, Jim Bennett have dedicated 22 years to working in Hispanic ministry in the Catholic Diocese of Lexington. Centro is located in the Cardinal Valley neighborhood, which is home to 10,000 Hispanic immigrants.

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Lawmakers could be called back to Frankfort to address health care worker shortage

BY Bryce Shreve

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky lawmakers could be called for another special session soon. This time, it would be aimed at quelling the state's health care worker shortage.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer (R-Grant) said this weekend that Gov. Andy Beshear (D) could call lawmakers back to Frankfort soon to address staff shortages at nursing homes and hospitals. The session would be limited in scope, likely lasting just one day.

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Amid surging COVID-19 cases, five Kentucky school districts make masks optional

BY Brennon Gurley

MERCER COUNTY, Ky. — After the statewide mask mandate for Kentucky schools expired Friday, individual school districts were left with the decision on how to proceed.

As schools across the Commonwealth are working to navigate the pandemic, a Mercer County parent expressed support for the optional mask requirement.

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96% of Kentucky school districts continuing mask requirements

BY Bryce Shreve and Associated Press
UPDATED 9:44 AM ET Sep. 17, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. — School boards in 96% of Kentucky’s school districts have extended mask requirements as Senate Bill 1, which eliminates the statewide mask mandate in public schools, takes effect.

As of Friday morning, at least 165 of the state’s 171 public school districts had opted to continue requiring masks in schools, according to the Kentucky School Boards Association.

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Baptist Health Richmond opens two COVID-19 overflow wings as cases soar

BY Khyati Patel

RICHMOND, Ky. — Hospitals across the state are feeling the strain of the coronavirus with resources depleting quickly.

Baptist Health Richmond in Madison County is among the many hospitals managing as COVID-19 cases soar, shifting medical units into more COVID-19 and intensive care units.

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Gov. Beshear slams school leaders implementing optional mask policies

BY Bryce Shreve and Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday didn't mince words he had for local school leaders who refuse to extend mask requirements, accusing them of endangering children at a time the coronavirus is raging.

While more than 80% of Kentucky school districts have decided to continue requiring mask in schools, at least two school systems chose to make facial coverings optional in schools.

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Kentucky School for the Deaf provides clear masks for students

BY Erin Kelly

DANVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD) has been working to ensure COVID-19 doesn’t change how students communicate, by providing clear masks.

Principal Toyah Robey said students returned to campus in August, after a year of adjusting to the pandemic.

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Kentucky school district mourns the loss of 'beloved' faculty member due to COVID



HORSE CAVE, Ky. — The Caverna Independent School District, located in south-central Kentucky, is mourning the loss of a "beloved" faculty member. Caverna High School announced on Facebook Wednesday that Amanda Nutt died as a result of COVID-19 complications.

"We have spoken with Ms. Nutt's family and have passed along the love and support from all the staff and students in our school's district," the school wrote.

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Doctors fear monoclonal antibody shortages could lead to more dire outcomes

BY Amber Smith

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear announced a national shortage of a COVID-19 treatment will have an impact on availability in Kentucky.

Gov. Andy Beshear said the federal government announced a change in the way monoclonal antibody treatments will be distributed to states due to supply shortages amid growing demand across the country. Health care providers will not be able to order the treatments directly anymore. Now, state governments will receive a capped number of treatments each week. Beshear said state officials will do their best to allocate the treatments fairly to the 139 providers across the state currently using monoclonal antibodies.

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Warren Co. Public Schools implements new quarantine policy

BY Evan Brooks

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) is implementing new quarantine guidelines for students as it looks to keep kids in the classroom as much as possible.

With many ups and downs last school year, the goal this year for WCPS is simply to keep kids in school.

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JCPS will require COVID vaccination or regular testing for employees

BY Amber Smith

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ky. — Regular COVID-19 testing will soon be required for unvaccinated employees in Kentucky's largest school district.

Tuesday night, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) board members approved a plan that will require employees to either be vaccinated or get tested weekly for COVID-19 as a condition for employment. There is leeway on the weekly testing in the situation that an employee is sick, out of town or cannot come in for testing for other reasons that week.

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Baptist Health Hospital receiving help from National Guard, AmeriCorps members

BY Evan Brooks

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. — Baptist Health Hardin is getting a little help from the National Guard and AmeriCorps as the hospital continues to fight the COVID-19 virus.

The overall 24 members will be helping out for the next two weeks with tasks suck as sanitation and foodservice. Assistant Vice President of Operations Steve White said the relief helps everyone involved.

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LOCAL RESOURCES
Symptoms

The 2019 novel coronavirus may cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms like:

  • cough
  • fever
  • trouble breathing and
  • pneumonia

The CDC believes symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus.

(Source: NYS DOH)