Corfonavirus Blog

SPECTRUM NEWS 1 CORONAVIRUS BLOG

Who Can Sign Up for the COVID-19 Vaccine and Where

BY Haeli Spears
UPDATED 2:01 PM ET Jan. 19, 2021

KENTUCKY — With COVID-19 vaccinations well underway in Kentucky, the state has compiled a list of vaccination sites across Kentucky, some of which have posted links for qualified residents to register for or request their shot.

Here is a look at some of the areas scheduling vaccines appointments throughout Kentucky.

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Kentucky COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution FAQs: What You Need To Know

BY Brandon Roberts
UPDATED 12:40 PM ET Jan. 19, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. – COVID-19-related deaths currently rank third among causes of death in Kentucky and the Kentucky Department of Public Health (KDPH) has announced a plan for the equitable distribution of the recently developed COVID-19 vaccines.

QUESTION: Where can I register to get my vaccine?

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UofL Students Help Distribute Vaccines in Louisville

BY Erin Kelly

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Medical, nursing, and public health students at the University of Louisville are helping with efforts to vaccinate the public at the city's mass vaccination site.

The drive-thru site at Broadbent Arena provides hands-on experience that has been hard to come by because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. Whitney Nash, assistant vice president of Interprofessional Practice Partnerships at the University of Louisville School of Nursing.

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Louisville is Vaccinating the Next Tier Ahead of Schedule

BY Jonathon Gregg

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County residents in Tier 1B are now being vaccinated. Tier 1B includes non-medical first responders, including police officers, anyone 70 years old and older, and teachers.

Sarah Beth Hartlage is Louisville's director of public health and says thousands more will be vaccinated at the Kentucky Expo Center this week than three weeks ago when the mass-vaccination site first opened.

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Vaccinations Start Soon for Hard-Hit Food Supply Industry

BY Amber Smith

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Essential workers in Kentucky can start signing up for and potentially receiving COVID-19 vaccines starting Feb. 1. This signals the light at the end of the tunnel for the hard-hit food supply industry.



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Another COVID-19 Vaccine Is Only "Weeks" Away. Why That Matters

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Two weeks after Gov. Andy Beshear lamented the speed of COVID-19 vaccinations in Kentucky, the commonwealth has dramatically ramped up the number of shots going into arms. In the week between Jan. 8 and Jan. 15, nearly 83,000 doses, or 43% of the state’s total vaccinations, were administered. Now, the effort is poised to get a serious shot in the arm with the coming arrival of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

J&J could present final data for its stage 3 vaccine trial within weeks, Dr. Anthony Fauci said over the weekend. Next, will come an application for emergency use authorization, which the company expects to submit in February, followed by potential approval mid-month. The company confirmed this timeline in a statement to Spectrum News 1.

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Some Experiencing Persistent Headaches After Recovering From COVID-19

BY Michael Cadigan

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — We’ve all had that nasty headache from time to time, but for some who have recovered from COVID-19, they’re dealing with a constant headache that can linger for months.

“Imagine that 24/7 headache for a period of three months,” said Dr. Brian Plato, a headache neurologist with the Norton Neuroscience Institute, giving you a small taste for the plight that some are dealing with after being infected and sick with COVID-19.

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As Vaccines Ramp Up, Kentucky Teachers Next in Line

BY Amber Smith

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Vaccinations are ramping up in the Commonwealth. As Kentucky moves into Phase 1B, teachers will be among the next in line.

Kentucky Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Jason Glass said if any teacher hasn't heard when they can get their vaccine yet, they will soon.

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Lexington VA Hosts Walk-In COVID-19 Vaccine Event For Veterans Over 50

BY Crystal Sicard

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Lexington VA Health Care System is offering COVID-19 vaccines for the next three days to veterans ages 50 and up in their walk-up clinic.

Over 1,000 veterans got their first round of vaccines on Saturday at the Lexington Health Care System. Patrick Sinclair, a voluntary service officer, said it took a lot of work to put together but taking care of their veterans is what the VA does best.

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JCPS Teachers, First Responders Among Next Group to be Vaccinated

BY Erin Kelly

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Educators in grades K-12, adults over 70, and non-emergency first responders are part of the next group eligible for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Louisville.

Close to 6,000 people in Group 1A have received their first dose of the vaccine at the appointment-only drive-thru site at Broadbent Arena, according to Dr. SarahBeth Hartlage, the Associate Medical Director. Soon, the mass vaccination site will accept those in Group 1B.

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COVID-19 Outbreak Contained At Lexington Homeless Shelter

BY Khyati Patel

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A Fayette County homeless shelter has contained a small COVID-19 outbreak in its shelter.

Now, they’ve increased their safety precautions adding on more protocols, and ramped up efforts for their street outreach team

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Biden Lays Out Ambitious Vaccination Push: "I Am Convinced We Can Get it Done"

BY Rachel Tillman

President-elect Joe Biden on Friday laid out his detailed plan to ramp up the pace that Americans receive critical COVID-19 vaccinations, slamming the Trump administration's vaccine rollout plan as a "dismal failure."

Biden has long promised the ambitious goal of administering 100 million vaccine doses during his first 100 days in office, but until Friday had not specified what steps his incoming administration will take to do so. Biden on Thursday released plans for a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, legislation aimed at economic recovery and financial assistance for needy Americans.

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COVID-19 Variant Could Become Dominant US Strain by March, CDC Says

BY Erin Billups - National Health Reporter and Ryan Chatelain

The highly contagious coronavirus variant first detected in England could become the predominant strain in the United States by March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Friday.

As of Wednesday, 76 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant had been found in 10 states, the CDC said. But the agency said its modeling data show the variant spreading rapidly, which would place an even greater strain on hospitals, many already overwhelmed as case numbers continue to soar.

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Ky. Counties Without a 'Partner' Pharmacy Turn to Local Health Departments for COVID-19 Vaccine

BY Brandon Roberts

OWENTON, Ky. – A study by the Rural Policy Research Institute’s Center for Rural Health Policy and Analysis revealed nearly one-third of rural counties across the country, including 18 in Kentucky, do not have a pharmacy partnered with a chain or network participating in the federal government’s vaccination rollout plan.

Partner pharmacies include Walgreens, CVS, Kroger, Walmart, and Rite-Aid, which comprise 60% of the nation’s pharmacies; 750 of the 1,962 rural counties in America do not have one. The combined population of those counties is 5.6 million, roughly 13 percent of rural residents nationwide, according to the study. The 18 counties in Kentucky without a partner pharmacy are Livingston, Lyon, Todd, Cumberland, Clinton, Owsley, Trimble, Owen, Robertson, Lewis. Fleming, Bath, Menifee, Elliott, Breckenridge, Ballard, Carlisle, and Hickman. Those counties account for 130,000 people in Kentucky ranging from the largest rural county (Breckenridge) having just more than 20,000 people to the smallest (Robertson) with around 2,100 people.

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Ky. Enhanced Unemployment to Be Released Next Week

BY David Guildford
UPDATED 6:50 AM ET Jan. 15, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentuckians facing unemployment received some welcomed news on Thursday.

The Beshear administration announced the $300 in enhanced unemployment benefits passed by Congress will begin going out next week.

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Biden Unveils $1.9 Trillion Rescue Plan: "The Very Health of our Nation is at Stake"

BY Spectrum News Staff and Rachel Tillman
UPDATED 8:15 PM ET Jan. 14, 2021

"The crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight, and there's no time to waste,” President-elect Joe Biden said Thursday night, laying out in detail his plans to help Americans survive the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and restart the lagging economy.

Thursday’s address marks the first of Biden’s two-part plan to deal with the coronavirus crisis in the country, saying he will roll out the “Rescue” portion on his first day in office. The second part — which Biden referred to as the “Recovery” effort — will be implemented in February.

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New Kroger Regional Drive-Thru Vaccination Sites Opening Early February

BY Michael Cadigan

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Governor Andy Beshear, state health officials, and Kroger leadership announced a new partnership to increase the speed of COVID-19 vaccinations across the commonwealth.

The first Kroger regional, drive-through vaccination sites will open the week of Feb. 1 for Kentuckians in Phase 1A, 1B and 1C. The week before, Beshear said more details would be announced on site locations and the sign-up process.

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Kentuckians Face Desperation, "Left With No Answers" On Unemployment Status

BY Ashleigh Mills
UPDATED 9:48 AM ET Jan. 14, 2021

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Harding's payments ended in December. Her payments ended in November. The error has been corrected. (January 14, 2021)

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. — As more unemployment relief is promised to those Kentuckians forced out of work due to the pandemic, many people are still facing problems getting the payments they claim to be owed.

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Mayor Gorton Says Roughly 20,000 Lexington Residents Vaccinated So Far

BY Haeli Spears

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Roughly 20,000 people in Lexington have been vaccinated against COVID-19, Mayor Linda Gorton announced Wednesday. Gorton also predicts local vaccination numbers will increase over the next few weeks.

The local health department also planned to vaccinate another 2,000 healthcare workers Wednesday, according to the mayor.

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Smaller Ky. Counties See Steep Rises In COVID-19 Cases

BY Khyati Patel

RICHMOND, Ky. — Across the Commonwealth, COVID-19 incidence rates are climbing higher.

The Madison County COVID-19 incidence rate jumped 15 points in a matter of 24 hours, and health departments are pointing to the holiday surge.

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More Travelers Taking to the Skies During Pandemic

BY Jonathon Gregg

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The number of new COVID-19 cases and the number of people flying in the U.S. are no longer inversely proportional. New COVID-19 cases are near record levels and more Americans are flying each month.

“We’re definitely seeing an increase in air travel here locally in Louisville. We are very pleased with that. People are wanting to travel or are interested in traveling," Natalie Chaudoin a spokesperson for the Muhammad Ali International Airport said. Chaudoin says flying amid the pandemic is safer than it’s ever been. “Obviously masks and face coverings are required. The airlines are doing a really good job," Chaudoin said.

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Louisville's Drive-thru COVID-19 Vaccination Site Ramps Up Efforts

BY Brennon Gurley

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville’s first mass vaccination site is ramping up its distribution efforts as the capacity has doubled in size.

During a weekly COVID-19 briefing with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Dr. SarahBeth Hartlage, Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness' interim medical director, mentioned the drive-thru operation at the Kentucky Expo Center is on track to administer 4,000 shots during its second week in operation, doubling projected doses.

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Fayette County Students to Continue Remote Learning, Could Return In-person Week of Feb. 1

BY Haeli Spears

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) could return to in-person learning the week of Feb. 1, Acting Superintendent Marlene Helm said in a letter sent to families Tuesday.

"The data will determine whether we can begin a phased-in return – starting with grades K-2, and adding other grades in subsequent weeks – for students whose families chose in-person learning, or whether we will offer additional services for smaller groups of students," she said.

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Should Pregnant Women Receive the COVID-19 Vaccine?

BY Brennon Gurley

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines continues across the Commonwealth, some expectant moms are raising concerns and apprehension about being vaccinated.

Dr. Edward Miller, division director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of Louisville Health System, told Spectrum News 1, “For us in the field of obstetrics, we have two patients. We have the mom and her baby, so there’s double concern I think from moms and families about whether or not to take this vaccine during pregnancy and even after.”

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Troy Nurse Still Fighting Effects of COVID-19

BY Jaclyn Cangro

Lizze Buchanan, 25, says she was born to be a nurse. She spent much of the spring and fall on the front lines on the COVID-19 floor at Norton Audubon Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky.

A Troy native, Buchanan attended the University of Louisville after graduating from Catholic Central High School. She is currently working on her nursing doctorate.

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Pandemic Poses Increased Challenges for People Battling Alzheimer's, Dementia

BY Amber Smith

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A new survey found the coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted Americans living with Alzheimer's and dementia. The Greater Kentucky/Indiana chapter of the Alzheimer's Association said there are roughly 70,000 people living with Alzheimer's or dementia in the Commonwealth, with about 270,000 caretakers.

Community Outreach Coordinator April Stauffer said with COVID-19 restrictions at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, people with Alzheimer's and dementia are more isolated. Nonprofit UsAgainstAlzheimer's conducted the survey from Oct. 8-14, finding that 42% of caregivers have been unable to see their loved ones due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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Despite Potential Symptoms, Doctors Urge Importance of Receiving Second COVID-19 Vaccine Dose

BY Jonathon Gregg

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Doctors at Norton Healthcare and UofL Health say half of the patients receiving a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine may experience minor symptoms like a sore arm or temporary fever, but to refer to these as “side-effects” of the vaccine isn't accurate.

“Symptoms, not side effects, and I think that is an important thing for people to understand. I hear...that this is a side effect of the vaccine and it’s really not. It’s the vaccine doing what it’s supposed to do,” Dr. Jason Smith, Chief Medical Officer for UofL Health, said.

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New COVID-19 Testing Site Opens in Northern Kentucky

BY Khyati Patel

COVINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky is ramping up the fight against COVID-19 with a new drive-thru testing site in Northern Kentucky. The free testing site opened Monday and will continue throughout the week.

Located at the former IRS facility in Covington, the location's massive parking lot can handle hundreds of tests as cars line up. City Manager David Johnston said the Kentucky National Guard is operating the site.

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UofL Provost Talks Changes for Spring Semester Amid COVID-19

BY Eileen Street

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Louisville (UofL) is welcoming back students Monday to kick off its spring semester.

Executive Vice President and University Provost Beth Boehm said starting the fall semester was like entering a tunnel, and the spring semester feels like being in the middle of one.

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Dippin' Dots Freezers Vetted by HHS, FEMA to Store COVID-19 Vaccines

BY Khyati Patel
UPDATED 1:52 PM ET Jan. 10, 2021

PADUCAH, Ky. — A Kentucky-based ice cream company is gaining a lot of attention as an unlikely hero in the fight against COVID-19.

Dippin’ Dots has been contacted by the Department of Health and Human Services and FEMA for information about their chest freezers. With storage temperatures ranging from -40 to -122 degrees Fahrenheit, the freezers could soon be used to store COVID-19 vaccines.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Forum Helps Black Community Make Informed Decision About Inoculation

BY Eileen Street

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A forum for the Black community on the COVID-19 vaccine was co-hosted Saturday by the NAACP Lexington-Fayette branch and the Lexington alumni chapter, Alpha Beta Lambda, of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

The organizations hosted three doctors, which included a psychologist, an OB-GYN, and a pharmacist to talk about the COVID-19 vaccine and answer questions for those who tuned in.

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FDA Warns New COVID Variant May Cause False Negative Results

BY Rachel Tillman

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that newly emerging variants of the coronavirus may impact the outcome of some molecular COVID-19 tests.

In a statement released on Friday, the FDA said it alerted clinical laboratory staff and healthcare workers that more contagious variants of the coronavirus may not be detectable in some tests, resulting in false negative results.

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"I Want to Do My Part." JCPS Nurses Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

BY David Guildford

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Bobbie Lester led a line of JCPS nurses who came to an arena inside the Kentucky Expo Center to receive Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine on Friday; a crucial step toward reopening Kentucky’s largest school district to in-person learning.

"This shot is safe," Lester said, hoping to convert any remaining doubters among her peers. "And, by me being a nurse for Jefferson County Public Schools, I want to do my part. I want to go back to work. I want the children back in the classroom. And this is why I’m doing it today."

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UK Study: Asymptomatic Students May Not Need To Quarantine For 14 Days

BY Crystal Sicard

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A study done at the University of Kentucky shows evidence that students who come into contact with COVID-19 can reduce their quarantine time in half.

Jill Kolesar, a pharmacy professor at the University of Kentucky conducted the study after learning less than 15% of people actually stay home the full time during their CDC-recommended 14-day quarantine.

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Travel Nurses at UofL Health Still Awaiting COVID-19 Vaccine

BY Ashleigh Mills

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Nurses have noticed the slow COVID-19 vaccine rollout across the country, including closer to home at UofL Health. Some travel nurses working in the ICU at UofL Health Jewish Hospital have yet to receive their first round of the vaccine.

The tough times nurses have endured throughout the pandemic can't be overstated. When many people were staying safe at home, nurses faced the frontlines to treat patients.

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Kentucky Senate Approves Limits to Executive Authority

BY Joe Ragusa

FRANKFORT, Ky. — On day three of the legislative session, the first day bills can be voted on in either the House or Senate, Republican lawmakers in the majority moved quickly to pass their top priorities.

Senate Bill 1 specifically targets the governor’s emergency powers, limiting them to 30 days, unless he asks the legislature for an extension.

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Shelbyville Hospital Improves Turnaround Time for COVID-19 Test Results

BY Chelsea Washington

SHELBYVILLE, Ky. — Shelbyville Hospital is reducing the wait time for receiving COVID-19 results thanks to new lab equipment. Starting next week, patients will know in less than a hour instead of several days.

Jason Niceley, lab director at UofL Health said the change will be invaluable.

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Why Kentucky's Vaccine Rollout Is Behind Schedule

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Governor Andy Beshear is not pleased with the pace of Kentucky’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

“We have too many people out there that are rightfully anxious and we need to see the whole country pick up the pace,” he said in his Monday press briefing. “We’re certainly going to do it here in Kentucky.”

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Oldham County Schools Delays Return to In-person Learning

BY Haeli Spears

OLDHAM COUNTY, Ky. — Oldham County Schools students won't be returning to the classroom next week due to COVID-19.

In a letter published to the district's website, Superintendent Greg Schultz said a "successful return to in-person instruction is unlikely on January 11," when students were originally slated to return. The decision was made after consulting with the Oldham County Health Department (OCHD).

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Louisville VA Medical Center Vaccinates Highest Risk Veterans Against COVID-19 at New Drive-Thru Site

BY Eileen Street

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — On Wednesday, the Robley Rex Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Louisville opened a COVID-19 vaccine drive-thru site to start vaccinating high-risk veterans.

First in line was Louisville resident Floyd Foreman, who said he served in the army just over two years. The 94-year-old said it felt just like getting a flu shot.

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Fort Knox Military Personnel Receive COVID-19 Vaccines

BY Brennon Gurley

FORT KNOX, Ky. — Fort Knox began issuing COVID-19 vaccines to soldiers and first responders on Wednesday.

The first batches of Moderna’s long-awaited vaccine arrived at Fort Knox with soldiers and essential personnel receiving the first doses.

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"We Are Fighting": Louisville Dojo That Mentors Kids Struggles to Keep the Lights on Amid Pandemic

BY Eileen Street

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Teaching kids self-discipline, self-respect, confidence, and self-defense in an effort to keep them off the streets is what The Arabian Federation Martial Arts Academy is about. However, the pandemic is making that increasingly difficult, according to its founder Grandmaster Khalid Raheem.

“We are fighting, you know, because I know the need of what we do in this community is vast. It’s very important, and the absence, the absence of us, our team in this community, it’s a void. It would be a deep void, and they couldn’t fill it because we reach people that nobody else gets,” Raheem said.

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Republicans Take Aim at Gubernatorial Powers as New Session Kicks Off

BY Joe Ragusa

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A new legislative session means a new chance for the Republican majority to have more control over the state's handling of COVID-19.

Senate Bill 1, the Senate’s top priority, would require the governor to call lawmakers in for a special session if he wants to extend emergency orders beyond 30 days.

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How Do Students Feel About a Return to In-person Learning?

BY Amber Smith

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The new year brings about big decisions for school districts all across the Commonwealth. Many are tackling the question of when to return to in-person instruction and how to do so safely.

Somerset Independent Schools, Estill County Schools, Taylor County Public Schools, Trimble County Schools, Henry County Schools, and Spencer County Schools all returned to in-person instruction this week. This comes despite Gov. Andy Beshear's recommendation to delay in-person classes until at least Jan. 11. Following that recommendation, several other districts in the state plan on starting in-person instruction Jan. 11. Other districts like Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) and Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) have yet to decide on an in-person return date.

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Kentucky Grocery Workers Demand More Hazard Pay

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For seven years, Mason Sims’ job at Kroger was relatively free of hazards. That changed in his eighth year.

This spring, COVID-19 turned Sims into a frontline essential worker. As much of the country shut down, and many people began working from home, or not at all, Sims reported to his store in Lexington to work the checkout lane or staff the customer service desk. He calls himself a “jack of all trades.” And for a couple of months, he was rewarded for it, earning a $2-per-hour pay bump that Kroger paid to its employees and called a “Hero Bonus.”

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Kentucky's First Vaccine Recipients Get Second Doses

BY David Guildford

LOUISVILLE, Ky - Five UofL Health employees - three doctors and two nurses - stood proudly in front of the gathered press, having achieved something groundbreaking for the second time in less than one month.



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UK PM Boris Johnson Imposes New National Lockdown: "The Weeks Ahead Will Be the Hardest Yet"

BY Associated Press and Spectrum News Staff
UPDATED 4:04 PM ET Jan. 04, 2021

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new national lockdown for England on Monday until at least mid-February to combat a fast-spreading new version of the coronavirus.

"That means the government is once again instructing you to stay at home," Johnson said, urging people to hunker down in order to "protect the NHS and save lives"

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Lexington Woman Struggles With COVID-19 Symptoms For Over A Month

BY Crystal Sicard

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A woman in Lexington has been dealing with COVID-19 symptoms for over a month. She has been in the hospital three times and experiences new symptoms every day.

On Dec. 2, Kathryn Cody tested positive for COVID-19 and said since then she hasn’t felt any relief.

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Simply Ramen in Bowling Green Reflects on First Year of Business During COVID-19

BY Jamilah Muhammad

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Simply Ramen opened its doors over the summer, while restaurants across the country were just struggling to stay afloat.

It's located just down the street from Western Kentucky University, but co-owner Rob Sparkman expected to see a lot more business from students. He was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the customers came from the community.

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Year in Review: Stories That Defined 2020 in Kentucky

BY Haeli Spears

KENTUCKY — It’s been an unusual year, to say the least.

While it began like any normal year, it soon became anything but. Between a global pandemic that has claimed the lives of millions, protests that birthed a national reckoning on racial justice, and a presidential election conducted unlike any other, there is an endless number of stories to tell.

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How Much Is Kentucky Getting From the New Coronavirus Relief Bill?

BY Joe Ragusa

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentuckians could lose out on an extra $5 billion if Congress doesn’t approve $2,000 direct payments.

Gov. Andy Beshear criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for blocking an immediate vote on the payments Tuesday while running down how much Kentucky will get from the new coronavirus relief package.

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Ky. Woman Launches Local Bath Bomb Business During Pandemic

BY Crystal Sicard

LEXINGTON, Ky. — One woman in Lexington took one of her hobbies and turned it into a small business after losing her job during the pandemic.

Makala Jones is now creating and selling bath bombs from her house. She hopes to eventually turn this into her full-time career.

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Kentucky Restaurant Owner Awaits Next Round of COVID-19 Relief Loans

BY Brennon Gurley

KENTUCKY — Some Kentucky small businesses are hopeful they will get more financial assistance after the approval of a new round of COVID-19 relief loans.

Hundreds of businesses across the Commonwealth have their eyes set on the $900 billion COVID-19 assistance package.

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PPP Was a Lifeline in the Spring, Now One Business Wants Others to Benefit

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For nine long weeks this year, C&R Beauty Bar on Bardstown Road was closed to customers. Like tens of thousands of small business owners in Kentucky, co-owners Ricka O'Bannon and Chenica Racine kept their company afloat with a loan from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

“We used it for payroll and utilities, things like that,” O’Bannon told Spectrum News 1. “The PPP loan helped when we were shut down so we could pay for all the obligations that come with being a business owner.” When the salon opened back up, the loan provided funds to buy personal protective equipment so it could be operated safely.

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More State Leaders Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

BY Haeli Spears

FRANKFORT, Ky. — More of Kentucky's state leaders received their COVID-19 vaccination Monday in the Capitol Rotunda. Secretary of State Michael Adams, Auditor Mike Harmon, Supreme Court Deputy Chief Justice Lisabeth T. Hughes, and Justice Samuel T. Wright III were among those vaccinated.

Last week, Justice Laurance B. VanMeter received his vaccination while Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. received his shot along with Gov. Andy Beshear. A majority of the Kentucky Supreme Court has now received the initial dose of the vaccination.

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Med Center Health ER Doctor Don Miller Loses Life to COVID-19

BY Jamilah Muhammad

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — An ER Doctor for 17 years, Dr. Don Miller had been treating COVID-19 patients for months. He was was diagnosed with the virus in the beginning of December, and passed away Monday after battling the deadly virus for weeks.

Facility Medical Director of the Emergency Room, Dr. William Moss, worked closely with Miller and says his death has hit home for many at the hospital.“Its been a very difficult time for a lot of our staff, myself and just a shock to lose someone to disease thats so unpredictable. You know the sadness we have here is muted by the fact that we don’t have to go through what the Miller’s are going through at this point. It’s very sad, we’re all trying to get through and push through, but we’re all human though,” Moss said.

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What’s at Stake in Congress Next Week: Defense Bill, Federal Funding, Stimulus Checks

BY Spectrum News Staff & Associated Press and Rachel Tillman
UPDATED 4:40 PM ET Dec. 24, 2020

As 2020 draws to a close, the final week of the year may be a decisive one for the American people, as Congress will take up a series of measures intended to fund the government, the military, and provide COVID aid to working families.

The penultimate week of the year was no less chaotic. Lawmakers on Monday night finally agreed to an omnibus coronavirus relief and stimulus package, which came after months of fighting between parties.

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Lives Lost to COVID-19 Remembered at UofL Health Rock Cleansing Ceremony

BY Ashleigh Mills

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In an emotional ceremony, nurses honored the lives of 29 patients lost to COVID-19 at UofL Health Jewish Hospital 7 Towers. The small group of hospital staff braved a windy rooftop terrace to remember the lives lost, and say words and prayers to bring comfort and peace to each other.

On the blustery gray day Wednesday, through tears, the Rock Cleansing Ceremony was held. Patients' names and initials were written onto stones and dropped into a vase of water, which was then sprinkled onto a hospital garden. This particular floor, serving as a COVID-19 ward currently, marked its 29th patient death Wednesday.

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Mayor Fischer, Louisville Frontline Health Workers Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

BY Jonathon Gregg

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness received its first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday and Mayor Greg Fischer received the shot hours later.

Three-thousand doses arrived Wednesday morning, and the city arranged to have a cross-section of frontline workers vaccinated the same afternoon.

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With Vaccines Coming, JCPS Teachers Weigh Returning to School

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Erica Grossberg, a Spanish teacher at Ballard High School, recently had to shush three students having an amusing but off-topic conversation in the chatbox of their virtual classroom.

“It was hilarious," she told Spectrum News 1. "They were going on and on and on, but I didn’t mind it that much.”

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Kentucky vs. South Carolina Matchup Postponed due to COVID-19

BY Haeli Spears

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Another Kentucky men's basketball game has been postponed.

The Cats won't play South Carolina on Dec. 29 in Rupp Arena due to a combination of positive tests, contact tracing, and subsequent quarantining of people within the South Carolina men's basketball program, according to a press release from UK Athletics. This game was set to be Kentucky's SEC opener.

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AG Cameron Warns of Potential COVID-19 Vaccine Scams

BY Haeli Spears

KENTUCKY — Attorney General Daniel Cameron is warning Kentuckians about potential COVID-19 vaccine-related scams.

Cameron issued a consumer protection alert Wednesday, saying fraudsters may impersonate distributors, medical providers, or local health departments and claim they need personal information or payment in exchange for a vaccine.

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State Rep. Thomas Huff Says He's in ICU With COVID-19

BY Associated Press

SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky lawmaker is in a hospital intensive care unit with COVID-19, according to his social media posts.

State Rep. Thomas Huff, a Republican from Bullitt County, said Tuesday marked his sixth day in isolation in an intensive care unit, The Courier Journal reported.

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Lt. Gov. Coleman, More State Leaders Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

BY Haeli Spears

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Several more Kentucky leaders, including Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, received their COVID-19 vaccines Wednesday.

In addition to Coleman, Chief Judge Denise G. Clayton of the Kentucky Court of Appeals; acting Kentucky State Police Commissioner Phillip Burnett Jr., Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett; Gov. Andy Beshear’s chief of staff, La Tasha Buckner, and his senior advisor, Rocky Adkins; and Virginia Moore, executive director of the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing also received the shot.

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Hospital Staff Surprised by Unexpected COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery

BY Jonathon Gregg

BARDSTOWN, Ky. — Hospital administrators were delighted Tuesday when a shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrived unexpectedly.

Vaccine doses were anticipated, but Flaget Memorial Hospital President Jennifer Nolan said she received no advance notice about the impending arrival.

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Frontline Workers Receive COVID-19 Vaccine at Robley Rex VA Medical Center

BY Brennon Gurley

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Robley Rex Veterans Affairs Medical Center has received its first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

After months of fighting on the front lines, healthcare workers like Michael Haaker, health tech in the emergency department at The Robley Rex Veterans Affairs Medical Center, received a shot of hope.

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Two COVID-19 Vaccines Are Here. More Are Coming

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In the last two weeks, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized two COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use. The vaccine-a-week trend isn't going to continue, but the shots from Pfizer and Moderna won’t be the only ones available for long.

The past year has seen more than 100 COVID-19 vaccines developed, with 40 reaching clinical testing so far, according to an analysis from the Washington Post. By February, the FDA is expected to receive requests to authorize two more vaccines for emergency use, with more to follow.

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Mayor Greg Fischer Talks COVID-19, More in Year-end Interview

BY David Guildford

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer sat down for his annual year-in-review interviews with the press on Monday.

True to 2020, the usually in-person discussion was instead held via Webex. Communication hurdles aside, there was much to discuss.

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Gov. Beshear, State Leaders Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

BY Haeli Spears
UPDATED 11:23 AM ET Dec. 22, 2020

KENTUCKY — Gov. Andy Beshear (D) received his first dose of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday morning alongside his wife, Britainy, and several other state leaders.

Others who received the vaccine include Kentucky Department for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack, Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton, Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown, Senate President Robert Stivers (R), and Speaker of the House David Osborne (R).

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Timeline for Inmate Vaccinations in Kentucky is Unknown

BY Brandon Roberts

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Phase 1 of COVID-19 vaccines are now being administered to people the most at-risk, such as front-line health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. While others wait to receive the vaccine, experts are recommending to continue wearing a mask and social distancing. But what about people in close quarters who can’t social distance, such as inmates and staff at Kentucky’s jails and prisons?

Inmates in Kentucky may not be included in Phase 2 of the vaccination rollout, either, but there is a push to have “essential workers,” which includes jail and prison employees, included in Phase 2. When inmates in Kentucky will be vaccinated remains unknown, and there seems to be some controversy surrounding that issue in many states as groups such as The Marshall Project and the Covid Prison Project push for prison and jail populations to be considered critical. Six states have included incarcerated people in the first phase of their vaccine rollout plans.

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First COVID-19 Vaccines Administered to Long-term Care Residents, Staff

BY Haeli Spears
UPDATED 6:10 PM ET Dec. 21, 2020

KENTUCKY — Long-term care facilities across Kentucky administered their first COVID-19 vaccines Monday. This comes just one week after the very first vaccines were administered to frontline healthcare workers in the Commonwealth last week.

The facilities fall under Phase 1 of the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan.

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COVID-19 Relief "Too Little and Too Late" For Some Kentuckians

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Congress on Monday passed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package that will send much needed federal dollars to ailing Americans as the pandemic continues to rage.

"As the American people continue battling the coronavirus this holiday season, they will not be on their own," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted late Sunday. "Congress has just reached an agreement. We will pass another rescue package ASAP. More help is on the way."

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Ky. Psychologist Shares Tips for Battling Winter Blues During COVID-19

BY Crystal Sicard

LEXINGTON, Ky. — An uptick in depression is typical during this time of year, especially around the holidays. According to the American’s Health Rankings, since 2011, Kentucky has always been above the United States average when it comes to mental distress, based on poor mental health days.

One psychologist in Lexington, Dr. Katherine L. Stone, says Kentuckians should expect to see numbers escalate even more this year because of the isolation caused by COVID-19.

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Louisville's UPS Worldport Receives Initial Shipments of Moderna's COVID-19 Vaccine

BY Bryce Shreve and Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — UPS Worldport received initial shipments of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine Sunday morning, one week after approval and distribution of Pfizer's vaccine.

The Moderna vaccine was approved for emergency use in individuals 18 and older by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday.

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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)