Corfonavirus Blog

SPECTRUM NEWS 1 CORONAVIRUS BLOG

Anxiety is a growing issue for our kids

BY Erin Wilson

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — 2021 is a year filled with change. Changing years, changing grades, and for most children changing from a virtual to a traditional learning environment.

After being isolated from friends due to the coronavirus, students are making their return to the classroom for the first time in nearly a year but with change comes anxiety says Dr. Stephen Taylor with Peace Hospital.

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UK HealthCare requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for employees

BY Haeli Spears

LEXINGTON, Ky. — UK HealthCare announced Wednesday it will require a COVID-19 vaccination for all health care providers, staff, trainees, learners and those who work in its facilities.

The health care system said that employees will be "required to initiate a complete COVID-19 vaccination series" by Sept. 15. Exemptions are allowed for religious or medical reasons.

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With just over a week until the first day of classes, JCPS outlines safety plan

BY Haeli Spears

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) on Tuesday outlined steps it’s taking “to maintain a healthy learning environment for staff and students when they return to the classroom next week,” according to a release from the district.

As previously announced, all staff and students will be required to wear masks inside school buildings when classes start on Aug. 11, regardless of vaccination status. If a student doesn’t have a mask, one will be provided, JCPS said.

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NKU to require masks indoors regardless of vaccination status

BY Haeli Spears

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — Northern Kentucky University (NKU) announced it is requiring masks indoors on campus for everyone, regardless of vaccination status. The requirement will take effect Wednesday, Aug. 4.

In a letter to campus, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Matt Cecil said NKU had no choice but to require masks, "Given the high level of community spread of the delta variant and the relatively low level of fully vaccinated individuals in our region." NKU is located in Campbell County, which has a roughly 58% vaccination rate, according to state data.

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Universal masking to be required at all state-run health care facilities

BY Haeli Spears
UPDATED 11:40 AM ET Aug. 03, 2021

KENTUCKY — Universal masking will be required in all state-run health care facilities, including veterans nursing homes, effective Aug. 3. The announcement came during Gov. Andy Beshear's COVID-19 briefing Monday, where he was joined by Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander.

“We are back into a period of time where a whole lot of things are moving – in the public sector, at the federal level – and we are learning more about the delta variant,” said Beshear. “The delta variant is spreading like wildfire. This variant is spreading faster than anything we have seen. If you’re unvaccinated, you are at significant risk.”

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Fayette County Public Schools requiring masks this year

BY Haeli Spears

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Masks will be required for all employees, students, contractors and visitors at Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) this year, regardless of vaccination status. The district announced the requirement Tuesday morning.

“Our district believes students learn best when they can experience the joys and advantages of being together on campus with classmates and caring adults,” Superintendent Demetrus Liggins said in a statement posted on the district's website. “The past year has proven that our district can safely provide in-person instruction and minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 when proper precautions — including layers of prevention strategies — are implemented with fidelity.”

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Businesses, health leaders ask Kentuckians to mask up

BY David Guildford

KENTUCKY — Kevin Hall is having tough conversations with the people of Fayette County.

As COVID-19 cases quadrupled there from June to July, the health department spokesman said everyone above the age of two should wear masks inside businesses and in crowded areas for now.

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Louisville Zoo brings back mask requirement for indoor exhibits

BY Ashley N. Brown

Effective August 2, Louisville Zoo guests will be required to wear face masks inside all buildings including Gorilla Forest, The Island, Herpaquarium, Metazoo, Outpost, Wild Burger, and gift shops.

The change is in accordance with recent safety guideline adjustments set by Louisville Metro Government in light of the delta variant fueling a spike in cases.

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As the CDC strikes a somber tone, one Kentucky Congressman digs in against masking

BY David Guildford and Associated Press

KENTUCKY — In another dispiriting setback for the nation’s efforts to stamp out the coronavirus, scientists who studied a big COVID-19 outbreak in Massachusetts concluded that vaccinated people who got breakthrough infections carried about the same amount of the coronavirus as those who did not get the shots.

The study was cited in a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Friday, further solidifying what health experts had feared – vaccinated people can still transmit the delta variant.

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Kroger 'strongly encourages' employees, customers to wear masks regardless of vaccination status

BY Bryce Shreve

OHIO — Citing the recent surge of COVID-19 cases nationwide due in large part to the delta variant, Kroger is now encouraging all customers and employees to wear masks in stores, regardless of vaccination status.

In a statement from a Kroger spokesperson, the company said its stance was informed by updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released this week.

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Louisville Metro Government revives mask mandate for employees, visitors

BY Bryce Shreve

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — If you're headed to any Louisville Metro Government buildings next week, you'll have to bring your mask with you. Effective Monday Aug. 2, Louisville Metro will require masks to be worn in city buildings and vehicles when another person is present, the city announced in a news release.

The new policy applies to every person regardless of vaccination status. The change comes amid a rapid increase in COVID-19 infections in the area, driven largely by the delta variant and low vaccination rates.

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Louisville's Ginger Schultz takes home Shot at a Million's second $1 million check

BY Bryce Shreve

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Ginger Schultz is the latest Kentuckian to win $1 million as part of the Shot at a Million lottery, Kentucky's vaccine incentive program aimed at encouraging residents to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

Gov. Andy Beshear congratulated Schultz and five Kentucky youth selected for full-ride scholarships Friday in Frankfort.

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Would Beshear have the legal authority to issue another mandate?

BY Amber Smith

FRANKFORT, Ky. — While Gov. Andy Beshear has not issued a statewide mask mandate amid rising COVID-19 cases in the Commonwealth, he said he is not ruling that possibility out in the future if he sees fit. However, some wonder if he is able to do so because of new state laws and a slew of pending lawsuits.

The answer as to whether or not Gov. Andy Beshear has the legal authority to issue COVID-19 mandates isn't 100% clear at this point. The previous executive orders Beshear issued earlier in the pandemic were met with lawsuits, some of which remain tied up in courts to this day.

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UofL Health: 97% Of COVID patients hospitalized since April are unvaccinated

BY David Guildford

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Numbers don't lie: 97% of all COVID-19 patients hospitalized within the UofL Health system since April have been unvaccinated, according to Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jason Smith.

Smith explained the conversations he and his medical staff often have with unvaccinated patients who come to the hospital for treatment. Some patients, he said, have asked for a vaccine after already being admitted to the hospital with COVID-19.

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Gov. Beshear urges Kentucky schools to require masks for everyone

BY Joe Ragusa

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Following a change in guidance from the CDC this week, Gov. Andy Beshear is urging all Kentucky school districts to implement a universal mask policy.

The change in guidance comes as the incidence rate of new COVID-19 cases in Kentucky is 6.5 times where it was a month ago. On June 28, there were no counties designated as a red zone – on July 28, there were 36.

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Kentucky Ford assembly plants shift back to mask wearing as cases surge

BY Bryce Shreve

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In the latest renewal of COVID-19 mitigation efforts, employees at Ford assembly plants in Louisville will have to wear masks at work starting on Saturday.

Ford Motor Company operates two assembly plants in the Louisville Metro area: the Kentucky Truck Plant and the Louisville Assembly plant. Around 13,000 Kentuckians are employed between the two plants.

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Most Kentuckians should be wearing masks indoors, per CDC guidance

BY Amber Smith

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Most Kentuckians should once again be wearing a mask inside, regardless of if they are vaccinated or not. That's the new recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week.

Despite previously saying vaccinated people could go without masks, the CDC is now urging universal indoor masking in areas with substantial and high transmission. That had many asking what exactly "high" or "substantial" transmission is and if it applies to their county.

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Masks are back at JCPS: Educators weigh in on school board’s decision

BY Eileen Street

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Masks are back at Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) after the Jefferson County Board of Education voted 6-0 Tuesday in approval that all staff and students must wear a mask this school year, regardless of one’s COVID-19 vaccination status.

“I worry about the younger students because I mean they don’t even have an option right now,” said 4th grade Zachary Taylor Elementary School Teacher Michella James, referring to JCPS students under 12, since there is no approved COVID-19 vaccine for that age group.

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Gov. Beshear: Masks required for employees, visitors inside state buildings

BY Bryce Shreve

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Starting Thursday, all Kentucky state employees and visitors will have to wear a mask inside state buildings, Gov. Andy Beshear announced on Wednesday.

In a video message to state employees, Beshear said the rule will apply to all employees and visitors, regardless of their vaccination status.

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Frustrated doctor combats conspiracy theories with open conversations

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Dr. Mike Bittenbender has heard it all from his unvaccinated patients.

“There are all kinds of conspiracy theories,” the New Albany, Indiana family doctor told Spectrum News 1. “There’s metal in it. There’s a chip in it. They’re tracking us. I've seen some people that have just made me want to bang my head into the wall.”

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Pandemic still weighs heavy on Louisville's food insecure

BY Jonathon Gregg

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Food pantries saw a jump in the number of families needing help during the pandemic and the demand is still high.

For many residents near the Shelby Park and Smoketown neighborhoods of Louisville times were tough before the pandemic. This area of the city, south of downtown is considered a "food desert," as the nearest full-size grocery store is nearly 2 miles away for some residents.

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New COVID-19 testing program offered to Kentucky schools

BY Amber Smith

FRANKFORT, Ky. —The Kentucky Department for Public Health is offering a COVID-19 testing program for public and private K-12 schools this upcoming school year.

This new program is possible through a partnership between the Kentucky Department for Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It will be paid for entirely by the federal government, coming with no costs to participating school districts.

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JCPS students will be required to wear masks this fall

BY David Guildford

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The auditorium at Central High School in Louisville became a stage for ideas, emotion, and at many times, what doctors would classify as misinformation.

It was the latest chapter in a summer filled with public debates over mask requirements in Kentucky schools.

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JCPS superintendent pushes for universal mask policy

BY Joe Ragusa

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio wants every school in the district to require masks for all students, staff, and visitors.

“The past two years, obviously, we’ve had to miss school days as a result of COVID,” he said. “And there is nothing more important to me right now — well, safety and health is first — but outside of that, nothing more important than making sure our kids are in school every single day this year.”

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Parents, community members sound off on masks at Fayette Co. school board meeting

BY David Guildford

LEXINGTON, Ky. — With Gov. Andy Beshear releasing new guidelines, but not mandates, surrounding mask-wearing in schools, school district leaders in Kentucky have looming decisions to make as their fall semesters rapidly approach.

The Fayette County Board of Education held its first in-person meeting since Feb. 2020 in a new, sprawling, multilevel district facility Monday evening. The fresh office carpet was christened with public comment as the first day of classes arrive on Aug. 11.

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Gov. Beshear asks schools to require masks

BY Joe Ragusa

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear gave school districts new guidance for dealing with the coronavirus Monday as classrooms prepare to reopen.

He wants districts to require unvaccinated students to wear masks and consider mandating them for everyone.

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Boone County Schools not mandating masks for students

BY Sam Knef

UNION, Ky. — School districts across the Commonwealth are trying to get everything in order as the new school year quickly approaches.

While many things have begun to return to normal, lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still creating challenges for schools.

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States scale back virus reporting just as cases surge

BY Associated Press

Several states scaled back their reporting of COVID-19 statistics this month just as cases across the country started to skyrocket, depriving the public of real-time information on outbreaks, cases, hospitalizations and deaths in their communities.

The shift to weekly instead of daily reporting in Florida, Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota marked a notable shift during a pandemic in which coronavirus dashboards have become a staple for Americans closely tracking case counts and trends to navigate a crisis that has killed more than 600,000 people in the U.S.

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Kentucky rural health clinics getting a $6M+ boost

BY Haeli Spears

KENTUCKY — The Biden-Harris administration is sending $6,379,712 to Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) in Kentucky for COVID-19 vaccination efforts, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials said.

The funds, which come from the American Rescue Plan, will go to 130 RHCs "who will use these resources to combat COVID-19 misinformation by developing and implementing additional vaccine confidence and outreach efforts," said a release from HHS. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), through the Rural Health Clinic Vaccine Confidence (RHCVC) program, will administer the funds.

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Lambda COVID-19 variant not yet found in Kentucky, doctors say

BY Brennon Gurley

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As the COVID 19’s Delta variant continues to uptick across Kentucky, health experts are now closely monitoring a new emerging variant.

There’s the Delta, Alpha, Gamma – but now there’s yet another coronavirus variant.

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Kentucky's positivity rate tripled since the start of the month

BY Amber Smith

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky hadn't seen above 1,000 new coronavirus cases in months, but this week, the Commonwealth reached that as the more contagious Delta variant spreads.

Tuesday, the Commonwealth reported had 1,054 new cases. That's the first time there were more than 1,000 cases since April 7. It was also the highest single-day case number since March 11.

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Mitch McConnell urges Americans: ‘Get vaccinated’ as cases spike

BY Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell implored unvaccinated Americans Tuesday to take the COVID-19 shot, issuing a stark and grave warning of a repeat of last year’s rising caseloads and shutdowns if people refuse to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

McConnell urged Americans to ignore the “demonstrably bad advice” coming from pundits and others against the vaccines. As cases skyrocket, he noted that nearly all the new virus hospitalizations in the U.S. are among people who have not been vaccinated.

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WHO leader says virus risk is inevitable at Tokyo Olympics

BY Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — The Tokyo Olympics should not be judged by the tally of COVID-19 cases that arise because eliminating risk is impossible, the head of the World Health Organization told sports officials Wednesday as events began in Japan.

How infections are handled is what matters most, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a speech to an International Olympic Committee meeting.

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To mask or not to mask? Kentucky school districts weigh back-to-school plans

BY Amber Smith

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Will your kids be required to wear a mask when they return to school? That's a question many school districts across the Commonwealth will be deciding on in the coming weeks as cases rise across Kentucky.

A national pediatric group was the latest group to weigh in on this topic, contradicting guidance set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends universal masking for students over the age of 2, whether they are vaccinated or not.

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Man on a mission: Pike County resident promoting vaccines

BY Brandon Roberts

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The number of new cases of COVID-19 is increasing as the Delta variant of the virus makes its way through communities, experts said.

Primarily affecting those that have not received a COVID-19 vaccine, the new strain has created localized hot spots, health experts explained. They believe those hot spots include pockets of dangerously low-vaccination rates among local populations.

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Fauci, Paul clash on virus origins, trade charges of lying

BY Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, angrily confronted Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul on Tuesday in testimony on Capitol Hill, rejecting Paul’s insinuation that the U.S. helped fund research at a Chinese lab that could have sparked the COVID-19 outbreak.



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COVID-19 cases more than doubled the last 3 weeks in Kentucky

BY Amber Smith

FRANKFORT, Ky. — COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Kentucky, more than doubling in the last three weeks. The 7-day positivity rate is now at 5.48%. For perspective, the 7-day positivity rate at the beginning of the month was below 2%.

During Gov. Andy Beshear's coronavirus briefing Monday, he asked Kentuckians to take additional precautions including:

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COVID-19 Relief Funds will help utility customers

BY Deborah Harbsmeier

LOUISVILLE. Ky. — Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced the city is adding $2.5 million to its COVID-19 Utility Relief Program to help residents who have fallen behind on Louisville Gas and Electric Company (LG&E) bills because of COVID-19.



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The state of essential workers in Kentucky

BY Adam K. Raymond
UPDATED 2:07 PM ET Jul. 19, 2021

At the start of the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians learned that their jobs made them essential. As the months go by and the pandemic continues, many now say they don't feel so essenial any more. While employees are feeling the stress and strain, some of Kentucky's largest employers are benefiting from their front line workers. In a special series of reports Adam K. Raymond talks to essential workers about what the last year has been like and where these positions and companies are heading into the future as the pandemic continues.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It was around mid-March of 2020 that Mason Sims was first called “essential,” a label the pharmacy technician and cashier wore with pride.

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'It's not worth it to me:' How the pandemic is changing the jobs of essential workers

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Each day after she clocks in at a Central Kentucky clothing warehouse, and again before leaving, Caren Lamblin sanitizes her workstation. Even as safety protocols are relaxed — now that she’s fully vaccinated, Lamblin is allowed to work without a mask — it’s a ritual that lives on.

“It used to be, if you got a chance to wipe off your counter, great,” Lamblin said. “Now it’s the first thing you do and the last thing you do. It’s normal now.”

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COVID-19 on the rise inside Louisville Metro Corrections

BY Joe Ragusa

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — From the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, jails were a problem area of community transmission.

“Jails were not designed for a pandemic,” said Steve Durham, assistant director for the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections.

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After local case bump, UK doctors talk vaccine importance, Delta variant

BY David Guildford

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Doctors within the University of Kentucky's hospital system hosted a discussion Wednesday to explain the Delta variant and the continued importance for Kentuckians to get vaccinated.

Speaking over Zoom, Dr. Becky Dutch, chair of UK's molecular and cellular biochemistry department, said the medical world expected variants early on in the pandemic.

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'It's not right': Essential workers got 'thank you' pay as CEOs got millions

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE Ky. — Financial struggles have defined the past 18 months for the Americans hit hardest by the pandemic, from those who couldn’t afford to bury their loved ones to those who saw their businesses crumble. But many companies deemed “essential” early in the pandemic have a different story to tell.

Not only did the biggest essential businesses in Kentucky survive during the pandemic, but they also thrived. In the second part of a three-part series on life as an essential worker in Kentucky, Spectrum News 1 looks at how the pandemic benefited three major Kentucky employers — Amazon, Kroger and UPS — and how those benefits flowed mostly to executives at the top.

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Two Louisville church leaders talk about the COVID-19 vaccine, their congregation

BY Eileen Street

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Two recent church gatherings with unvaccinated people in attendance, one in southern Ohio and the other in central Kentucky, have been linked to COVID-19 outbreaks, which have led to some positive cases for Kentuckians. Spectrum News 1 spoke to two churches in Louisville, not affiliated with the recent gatherings or outbreaks mentioned, about the COVID-19 vaccine amongst their congregation.

Anyone walking into Lynnhurst United Church of Christ in Louisville on Tuesday could have received a COVID-19 vaccine shot.

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Ky. receiving $12M+ in federal funds for rural COVID response

BY Haeli Spears

KENTUCKY — Kentucky is set to receive $12,143,672 to support COVID-19 response efforts in rural areas, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The funding through the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP) will go to 47 small rural hospitals, which have fewer than 50 beds, in Kentucky for COVID-19 testing and mitigation, said the release.

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‘Essential’ no more: Kentucky front-line workers on life in the pandemic

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It was around mid-March of 2020 that Mason Sims was first called “essential,” a label the pharmacy technician and cashier wore with pride.

“A lot of employees recognized how essential our jobs were, but it was good to know the public was starting to realize it,” said Sims, who worked at a Lexington Kroger when COVID-19 hit Kentucky.

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COVID-19 outbreak after Baptist church retreat in Ohio

BY Pete Grieve
UPDATED 1:00 PM ET Jul. 13, 2021

COLUMBUS, Ohio — At least 30 people contracted COVID-19, and more infections are feared, following a Baptist retreat attended by 800 people in Miamisburg, Ohio, local health officials announced Monday.

Camp Chautauqua became the site of the outbreak during a June 27 to July 3 retreat, according to Public Health–Dayton & Montgomery County.

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Long lines one day, empty rooms the next at Louisville mobile vax clinic

BY David Guildford

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As hospitals and the city of Louisville closed down their large-scale vaccine operations this spring, the health department rolled out mobile clinics to try and reach pockets of the city with low vaccine numbers. Ciara Warren is the mobile missions director for the department.

“This is just what was needed to get more into the community and get those hard-to-reach folks and bring it to them,” she said during a Monday virtual interview. “Most of them don’t have transportation or access, so, we are trying to make it as easy as possible to bring them the vaccine.”

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JCPS updates its mask mandate for summer programs following new CDC guidance

BY Eileen Street

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — There are new mask mandates at Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) for its summer programs to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

JCPS changed its mask mandates starting on Monday, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance for school districts across the U.S., which came out on Friday last week.

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JCPS requiring masks for unvaccinated staff, students

BY Haeli Spears

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) students and staff who aren't fully vaccinated must wear a mask inside district property beginning Monday, July 12, following new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control.

In addition, all students and staff on buses for summer programming must wear masks, despite vaccination status, according to an email from JCPS.

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Louisville Zoo waiting for COVID-19 vaccine for animals

BY Deborah Harbsmeier and Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Louisville Zoo has joined dozens of other zoos across the country in requesting a vaccine to prevent animals from getting coronavirus. Veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis, in New Jersey, produces the vaccine.



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Lexington woman wins $1M prize during first round of 'Shot at a Million'

BY Erin Kelly and Haeli Spears
UPDATED 4:00 PM ET Jul. 02, 2021

KENTUCKY — Gov. Andy Beshear announced the first round of winners in Kentucky's Shot at a Million drawings Friday. Patricia Short from Lexington won the $1 million prize.

“Congratulations to the winners! Their prizes are life-changing, and that’s on top of the COVID-19 vaccines, which we know are lifesaving,” said Beshear. “Please, get your vaccination as quickly as possible. If there are people in your life who might need some encouragement, tell them about your experience and then encourage them to sign up for their Shot at a Million.”

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Kentucky and U.S. likely to fall short of Biden's 4th of July vaccination goal

BY Amber Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C. — It’s safe to celebrate the Fourth of July if you’re vaccinated. That's the message the White House is sending for the holiday weekend, despite the U.S. falling short of President Joe Biden’s vaccination goals.

In early May, President Biden set a goal to have 70% of all U.S. adults vaccinated by the 4th of July. It’s a goal the U.S. is unlikely to achieve in time.

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Kentucky's first drive-thru COVID-19 testing site closes

BY Jonathon Gregg

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It's the end of a foundational chapter in the fight against COVID-19 in Kentucky. UofL Health closed its Liberty Street drive-thru testing site, the first to open in Kentucky, on Wednesday.

On March 18, 2020, UofL Health opened the Commonwealth's first drive-through COVID-19 testing site. It is now closed.

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Kentucky saw short spike in vaccinations after Shot at a Million announcement

BY Amber Smith

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky saw a short-term spike in vaccinations for two weeks following Gov. Andy Beshear announcing the state's Shot at a Million sweepstakes.

The Shot at a Million was created as an incentive to encourage Kentuckians to get vaccinated. Beshear said it seems to have worked, and CDC data appears to agree.

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Beshear: Child care centers to receive $763 million in federal funding

BY Bryce Shreve

FRANKFORT, Ky. — More federal relief is headed to an industry heavily impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic: child care. Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday that Kentucky has been awarded more than $763 million in federal funds to provide relief for child care providers in the Commonwealth, in turn helping families with young children.

In a press release, Beshear said the funding supports more than just child care.

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UK begins recruiting children for Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trials

BY Adam K. Raymond
UPDATED 5:17 PM ET Jun. 16, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The University of Kentucky has begun recruiting children between the ages of six months and 11 years old to participate in KidCOVE, a national trial for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.

“We are privileged for UK to be selected as a site for this important trial,” said Dr. George J. Fuchs III, chief of pediatric gastroenterology and vice chair of clinical affairs in the Department of Pediatrics at UK HealthCare’s Kentucky Children’s Hospital.

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Shelbyville restaurant faces staffing shortage as COVID restrictions lift

BY Brennon Gurley

SHELBYVILLE, Ky. — After more than a year of shutdowns and capacity limitations, Kentucky restaurant owners are now able to reopen fully.

Mitzi Tinsley is a waitress at Claudia Sander's Dinner House in Shelbyville. She tells Spectrum News 1, "It’s just hard to stay afloat. Its really hard to stay afloat. I’m behind on everything I have."

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'We are no longer in crisis.' Gov. Beshear signs order ending most COVID-19 restrictions

BY Bryce Shreve and Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear on Friday declared his state’s deadly fight against COVID-19 a “success story” as he prepared to end most pandemic restrictions, and said his state lessened the crisis because Kentuckians ultimately put science ahead of politics.

The Democratic governor lifted the statewide mask mandate for most settings and ended capacity limits for restaurants, bars and other pubic venues. The mask mandate for vaccinated Kentuckians has been lifted since May 13.

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Kentucky restaurants prep for return to full capacity, mask-free patrons

BY Brennon Gurley

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For the first time in a long time, bars and restaurants across Kentucky will return to seating guests at 100% capacity following lifting restrictions on Friday.

Chris Mike, owner of Goose Creek Diner and Gander in Louisville, said Friday has been a long time coming.

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COVID-19 vaccines in Kentucky: Where are we now?

BY Haeli Spears

KENTUCKY — Only a matter of months ago, COVID-19 vaccines were reserved for a small group of eligible Kentuckians. Now, 2,087,829 residents have been vaccinated as of June 7, according to state data. That's 47% of Kentucky's population.

At the start of Kentucky's vaccine rollout, supply struggled to keep up with demand. The opposite problem has taken over in recent months, causing vaccination sites both big and small to close up shop. However, a myriad of options remains for Kentuckians still waiting to be vaccinated. The state hosts an online map that lists over 500 COVID-19 vaccination locations in Kentucky, searchable by county. As well, vaccines.gov/search gives Americans a tool to find any one of the three FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines near them.

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Volunteers knock on doors to spread COVID-19 vaccine awareness

BY Crystal Sicard

LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the last two weeks, volunteers with the city of Lexington have gone door-to-door in different communities to spread the word about pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics in the area.

Laurent Vesely, a volunteer, has been knocking on doors for the past two weekends, encouraging Lexington residents to get their vaccine.

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Some criticize Kentucky's vaccine incentives as 'game show gimmicks'

BY Erin Wilson

KENTUCKY — Who wants to be a millionaire? Now, Kentuckians who received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will have the chance to strike it rich with a shot at $1 million through a new vaccine incentive program.

Through Kentucky's "Shot at a Million" program announced by Gov. Andy Beshear Friday, three Kentuckians aged 18 or older will win a million dollar prize, while vaccinated 12 to 17-year-olds have a shot at getting one of 15 full-ride scholarships.

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COVID-19 took his breath. A double lung transplant gave it back

BY Brandon Roberts

LEXINGTON, Ky. — It was late January, and Dave Hoover thought he had a sinus infection. When his health kept getting worse, he went to an urgent care clinic and tested positive for COVID-19.

A week later, with his health not improving, the Stanford resident was admitted to Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center in Danville with bilateral COVID pneumonia. The former bodybuilder had always followed a strict diet and exercised regularly, which made his situation an anomaly, especially after spending weeks in the hospital, his health continued declining.

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Gov. Beshear hints at vaccine incentives. Here’s what other states are doing

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Ohio has a weekly $1 million drawing. Maryland is giving out 40 prizes of $40,000. West Virginia plans to raffle off Ford F-150s. All of these incentives are designed to boost the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19 and the early returns suggest they’re working.

Tuesday, Gov. Beshear hinted that something similar may be coming to the Bluegrass.

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Safety at the forefront as kids prepare for summer camp return

BY Evan Brooks

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Summer is here, and kids are returning to summer camps this year with COVID-19 protocols still in place.

Faculty and staff at the Barren County Family YMCA and Bowling Green Parks and Recreation (BGPR) will be required to wear masks at all times, but campers will still have plenty of activities to choose from.

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A yearbook like no other: Capturing the school year during a pandemic

BY Khyati Patel

SHELBYVILLE, Ky. — A high school in Shelbyville is putting together a yearbook. Like many schools, the endeavor presents some challenges after a pandemic school year.

The reason? Much of the school year took place online, forcing the cancellation of several popular events.

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Kentucky lifts curfew, other limits for bars and restaurants

BY Joe Ragusa

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — People are eating out more, and Bearno’s co-owner George Timmering is reaping the rewards.

“We’re getting very close to being back where we were, from a sales perspective, before COVID,” Timmering said. “But I think once everything is in place and the staffing is there, we might be doing better.”

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UofL Health closes the book on Cardinal Stadium mass vaccination site

BY Erin Wilson

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The seven-week mass vaccination site at Cardinal Stadium has officially come to an end, but not before UofL Health could administer nearly 30,000 COVID-19 vaccines.

“It has been a great seven weeks, it's been an exciting time for us because every person that comes through here and gets a vaccine is definitely one more person vaccinated in our community which is what we really have wanted,” said Hugh Shoff, associate chief medical doctor at University of Louisville Hospital.

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Kentucky parent hesitant to get children vaccinated against COVID-19

BY Brennon Gurley

LEWISBURG, Ky. — With children aged 12-15 now cleared to get the COVID-19 vaccine, some Kentuckians are not convinced of its safety.

Jennifer Hayes said she's not an anti-vaxxer. Like several parents, all of her kids are up to date on all their other vaccines. But now, she doesn’t want anyone in her household to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Stands full of fans planned for games at Cardinal Stadium this fall

BY Bryce Shreve

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Louisville will return to full capacity this fall in Cardinal Stadium, where the Cards will play seven home football games. In a statement to Spectrum News 1, UofL Athletics said advancements in state and national health guidelines will allow a return to full capacity, including popular pregame tailgating in accompanying parking lots, when UofL opens the home portion of its 2021 schedule against Eastern Kentucky on September 11.

“This is the news our fans have been waiting for,” said Vince Tyra, UofL Vice President/Director of Athletics. “We are back, my friends. We couldn’t be more excited to fill our house and welcome Card Nation back home. Get your tickets. Plan your tailgate. Bring your voice. Our football team and staff are so excited to see you. So am I. Let’s bring our Louisville Football life back to Floyd Street.”

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After more than a year, Kentucky will resume in-person prison visitation

BY Joe Ragusa

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Families of prison inmates haven’t been able to see their loved ones since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“I want to see him but I understand why I can’t see him because they don’t want me bringing it in or them giving it to anybody, but it was hard,” said Lottie, the wife of an inmate.

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Wildcats expect return to 'traditional game day environment' at Kroger Field this season

BY Bryce Shreve

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The University of Kentucky Athletics Department plans to open Kroger Field to full capacity for football games this fall, beginning with UK’s season opener against ULM on September 4.

Wildcats fans should also expect other popular activities and traditions to return this fall. Based on updated guidance from local and national authorities and current information available, UK intends to return to its traditional gameday environment for the 2021 season.

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UofL Health to require COVID-19 vaccines beginning Sept. 1

BY Haeli Spears
UPDATED 3:55 PM ET May. 26, 2021

Erin Wilson contributed the video portion of this story.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — All team members and providers at UofL Health — including residents, fellows and rotating students — will be required to be fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine beginning Sept. 1, 2021. This includes all doses of a vaccine plus the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommended waiting time from the final dose.

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Mask mandates are ending, but some Kentuckians are hanging on to theirs

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Nearly two weeks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said vaccinated people should feel comfortable without a mask, not all Kentuckians are ready to leave their face coverings behind.

“I think I'm going to probably wear one until they say we've reached herd immunity in our state,” said Patty Haertel of Versailles.

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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)