Coronavirus Blog

SPECTRUM NEWS 1 CORONAVIRUS BLOG

JCPS Launches Website To Help Families Return To Class

BY Haeli Spears

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) prepares to welcome students back for in-person classes, the district launched a new website to answer families' questions. The New Way Forward website includes information on everything from riding the school bus to classroom set-ups or what happens when a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19.

“We know parents and families have many questions about sending their child back to school,” said JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio. “This website will be a one-stop shop for them to find answers to many of those questions about how our schools will be operating beginning March 17.”

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KY Senate Passes Bill Requiring Some In-Person Learning

BY Joe Ragusa

FRANKFORT, Ky. — One of the loudest debates during the COVID-19 pandemic has been over whether or not students should be learning in-person.

The Kentucky Senate passed House Bill 208 Wednesday, a bill requiring schools to have a plan to resume in-person learning.

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Darrell Griffith, Other UofL Hoop Greats Receive Their COVID-19 Vaccine To Encourage Others

BY David Guildford

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — They brought University of Louisville basketball to new heights, and now they’re hoping to elevate their city’s fight against the pandemic.

Three members of the 1980 men’s national championship team and hall-of-fame trailblazer Valerie Owens Combs walked into the YMCA in West Louisville to receive their COVID-19 vaccines Wednesday.

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Beshear: KY Getting Nearly 100K Vaccine Doses This Week

BY Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky continued to record lower virus case numbers on Tuesday as the state readies to receive another large dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

There were 1,080 new cases of the virus reported on Tuesday, and 19 new deaths, Gov. Andy Beshear said. The positivity rate, a measure of the percentage of positive tests, was 4.7%, the governor said.

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Restaurant Owner Reacts To Governor's Plan To Ease Restrictions

BY Brennon Gurley

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear’s decision to increase capacity limits will continue to impact many Kentuckians, among them bars and restaurant owners.

"I can tell you right now, if we’re forced into another shutdown, I can’t afford to do it. I’ll have to shut down. I can’t afford to do just carryouts," Todd Zaborac, owner of Check’s BBQ & Blues in Louisville, told Spectrum News 1.

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Child Care Capacity Can Expand on March 15

BY Amber Smith
UPDATED 5:19 PM ET Mar. 02, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. — On Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that child care providers can go back to normal class sizes on March 15. This announcement comes as many daycares have been turning people away because of capacity limits.



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Louisville Plans For Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

BY Eileen Street

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — During a weekly press conference on COVID-19 in Jefferson County, Louisville’s public health department talked about plans for the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine, also called the Janssen vaccine.



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Restaurants, Other Businesses Allowed To Expand Capacity This Week

BY Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said fewer Kentuckians are going to hospitals with COVID-19, positivity rates are dropping and the state just recorded a seventh straight week of declining cases.

Beshear presented a burst of positive news on the virus front during his daily briefing Monday, and said restaurants, bars and other businesses will be able to slightly increase capacity on Friday.

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First Johnson & Johnson Vax Doses Shipped Through Louisville

BY David Guildford

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky is once again a major factor in the rollout of coronavirus vaccines.

At 12:10 pm, an otherwise unmarked brown UPS 18-wheeler left a distribution warehouse in Shepherdsville and made the short drive to the UPS Worldport at Louisville's airport. Its only discernable difference from the scores of other company big rigs that traverse Kentucky's interstates was a state police escort.

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Henderson Municipal Center To Reopen With Mask, Temperature Check Requirements

BY Haeli Spears

HENDERSON, Ky. — Residents of Henderson will soon be able to visit the Henderson Municipal Center in-person again. The building, after being closed to in-person traffic for nearly a year, will re-open to visitors on Monday, March 15.

Since March 16, 2020, the City of Henderson has operated under a state of emergency, and City offices have been closed to protect the essential services of police enforcement, fire protection, sanitation, and utility services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Widows and Widowers Navigate Grief and Loss From COVID-19

BY Khyati Patel

WHITE PLAINS, Ky. — The death toll of COVID-19 in Kentucky is more than 4,500 people since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

The virus has uprooted and changed lives across the Commonwealth. This includes families left grieving with the sudden loss of loved ones.

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J&J CEO Expects Vaccinations Will Begin "Within The Next 24 to 48 Hours"

BY Spectrum News Staff

Following Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions of doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are being shipped out to states nationwide.

"The trucks are literally rolling off the docks as we speak," the company's CEO Alex Gorsky told "Good Morning America" on Monday, "And we hope to be able to get shots in arms within literally the next 24 to 48 hours."

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CDC Panel Recommends Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Following FDA Authorization

BY Rachel Tillman

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory panel voted unanimously to recommend the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, allowing inoculations to begin after CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky accepted the panel's guidance.

The news comes one day after the Food and Drug Administration granted Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine Emergency Use Authorization for adults 18 and over.

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“It’s Really Been Quite a Year”: A Teacher, Pastor, and Doctor Reflect On The COVID-19 Pandemic

BY Eileen Street

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A teacher, a preacher, and a doctor: three professions that have have been on the frontlines to care for the community in very different ways.

“Well it’s really been quite a year,” said Rev. Dwain Lee, who leads Springdale Presbyterian Church in Louisville. Lee said the year was about trying to find new ways to be the church.

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As Vaccine Demand Increases, Need For Volunteers Grows

BY Khyati Patel

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Vaccinations for those in group 1C are already taking place in some parts of the state. As more sites expand to that group, officials with University of Kentucky are calling for more volunteers.

Group 1C includes anyone aged 60 and up, essential employees, and anyone 16 or older with the highest risk conditions, so you can imagine there’s a ballooning need for volunteers.

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"We're in This With You": Georgetown Church Provides Fuel Bags for Healthcare Workers

BY Spectrum News Staff

SCOTT COUNTY, Ky. — Hundreds of bags fill the office of the Georgetown Crossroads Church, each assembled by parishioners and volunteers to be delivered to nearby medical facilities and frontline healthcare workers.

"Fuel for the Fight" is a church initiative to provide support for those on the frontlines in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. Pastor Griff Ray said it's a way to thank them for their tireless work.

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Kentucky Senate Passes Bill Protecting Overpaid Unemployment Filers

BY Joe Ragusa

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Early on in the pandemic, Gov. Andy Beshear told people who quarantined voluntarily to file for unemployment, citing guidance from the federal government.

Some applied for and received benefits, but months later, they were told they didn’t actually qualify and had to pay those benefits back.

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Rural and Republican: The Anatomy of COVID-19 Vaccine Critics

BY Brandon Roberts

LEXINGTON, Ky. – There is no shortage of COVID-19 vaccine critics, from elected officials to private citizens to medical professionals.

A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found rural Republicans are among the most ardent anti-vaxxers, a population that comprises a majority of people in the state of Kentucky.

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During Visit With NAACP, Beshear Urges Black Community to Get Vaccinated

BY Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Gov. Andy Beshear visited Louisville Friday and urged Black Kentuckians to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Beshear joined NAACP leaders to speak about the hesitancy among some in the Black community with getting the shot. The governor visited the NAACP’s west Louisville office. Several residents received the vaccine at the office from Norton Healthcare, according to a release from the governor’s office.

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Grayson County Clinic Brings COVID-19 Vaccines to Vets

BY Evan Brooks

CLARKSON, Ky. — More than 250 veterans were vaccinated in Clarkson today at the Grayson County VA Healthcare center clinic.

Clinic Manager Ron Crump said those living in rural Kentucky have had a hard time getting vaccinated due to weather conditions and the location of other clinics.

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Kentucky Leads Trials, Research On Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 Vaccine

BY Crystal Sicard

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Doctors at the University of Kentucky (UK), Norton Healthcare, and Baptist Health Lexington have been conducting phase three clinical trials for the single dose Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

“It’s been very safe in our trial at least, there were zero cases of anaphylaxis only about 9% of folks got a fever with only a very low percentage of those getting severe fever. So it is a very very safe vaccine,” said Dr. David Dougherty, sub-investigator at Baptist Health Lexington.

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"Vaccine Chasers" Vie for Leftover and Expiring Doses

BY Brandon Roberts
UPDATED 12:00 PM ET Feb. 26, 2021

Editor's note: The name of the Walgreens' media spokesperson was removed to align with Walgreens' policy of not attributing corporate replies to one individual, but rather to the company as a whole.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – While the COVID-19 vaccine rollout moves ahead across the country, some people are opting to try and skip the long lines and phased signups by waiting around vaccine sites in attempts to get leftover doses.

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Jefferson County Parents Sound Off on District's In-Person Learning Plan

BY Ashleigh Mills

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Parents watched the Thursday night Jefferson County Board of Education meeting closely to see how members would vote on the superintendent's recommendation to return to in-person learning next month. The Board ultimately approved a plan to reopen classrooms beginning March 17. There were parents on both sides of the argument. Some felt kids should have already been back in class, while others wish for a return date in August.

Parent Alyson Cleyman is of the former mindset, while parent Carla Robinson is of the latter.

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JCPS School Board Votes To Reopen Classrooms Next Month

BY Michael Cadigan

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) will reopen to students next month, a year after schools first shuttered because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Jefferson County Board of Education approved an amended version of JCPS’s reopening proposal in a 4-3 vote during a virtual meeting Thursday. Board members James Craig, Sarah McIntosh, Linda Duncan, and Joe Marshall voted in favor of reopening. Board Chairwoman Diane Porter, Board Vice Chairman Chris Kolb, and board member Chris Shull voted against.

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101st Airborne Division Deployed to Florida to Support FEMA Vaccination Sites

BY Bryce Shreve and Associated Press

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Some soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division are heading to Florida to help with the vaccination effort there.

Kentucky's 101st Airborne Division has deployed around 130 soldiers to support an expansive mass vaccination effort, the division's public affairs staff announced in a press release.

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Disabled Kentuckians "Very Frustrated" at Lack of Vaccine Prioritization

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kyle Crews caught two colds in 2019 and each left him reeling. “They took me two or three times as long to get over than most people,” he said. “I don’t mess with any respiratory illness.”

So when COVID-19 arrived in the U.S. in early 2020, Crews quickly went into isolation with his brother, who is also his live-in caretaker. The 36-year-old has spinal muscular atrophy, a neuromuscular disorder that causes muscle loss and has severely compromised his lung capacity. "The only time I've ventured into public at all has been for doctor's appointments," he said.

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Beshear Issues Executive Order Recommending Schools Expand In-Person Learning

BY Haeli Spears

KENTUCKY — The light at the end of the tunnel is nearing for some Kentucky students. Gov. Andy Beshear issued a new executive order on Tuesday, recommending all school districts, including private schools, offer or expand some form of in-person learning beginning March 1.

The executive order recommends that if district personnel haven't finished their vaccine series by March 1, some form of in-person instruction can begin seven days after they have received the second dose.

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JCPS Board To Vote on Resuming In-Person Class Thursday

BY Ashleigh Mills

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Jefferson County Board of Education plans to vote on when students can return to learn in person this Thursday. The decision was set Tuesday night as members heard about the status of COVID-19 in Louisville from area doctors during their board work session meeting.

They'll give it 48 hours from that meeting until a vote is taken on when kids can return to face-to-face instruction. This comes as Gov. Andy Beshear announced an executive order Tuesday for all schools to begin some kind of in-person learning on March 1.

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Kentucky Expanding Vaccination Eligibility in March

BY Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky is expanding its vaccination eligibility to anyone over 60 beginning in March.

Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday the state’s regional vaccination sites will move to phase 1C on March 1, which expands the pool of eligible recipients to those over 60 and anyone over age 16 who has a high risk condition.

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Virtual vs. In-Person Learning: Kentucky Teachers Weigh In

BY Eileen Street

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As COVID-19 vaccines continue for Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) teachers and staff, the discussion of the district potentially returning to in-person classes continues.

“Soon as I can go back there, I would like to go back,” said Deberah Spaulding, a second-grade teacher at Schaffner Traditional Elementary School.

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JCPS Prepares for In-Person Learning, but Return Date Is Undecided

BY Brennon Gurley

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After nearly a year of NTI and still no reopening date, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) are gearing up to welcome students back to the classroom pending a school board decision.

Since the start of the school year, administrators like Gutermuth Elementary Principal Laura Mullaney have been preparing for the day when students would be able to return to in-person learning.

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The Wait Is Over: FCPS Welcomes Hundreds of Students Back Into the Classroom

BY Khyati Patel

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The wait is already over for some students. Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) opened its doors for those in Kindergarten through Second grade.

“I'm really happy today because I'm going back to school,” said Lily Glass. She loves reading and since March 2020 she hasn’t seen her best friend in school. “When we were not in school, we had to get out of school I was very sad because I didn't get to see my friends and I actually got out of school when I was in first grade.”

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Kentucky Community Provides 'Fuel for the Fight' To Frontline Healthcare Workers

BY Crystal Sicard

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A church in Lexington is supporting healthcare workers and frontline workers by creating "fuel bags" that include notes of encouragement and healthy snacks.

“We just recognized that this battle, our medical workers have been against this virus, has not been short, hasn't been easy and that it's not over yet. And so we just want to offer hope and a shot of encouragement, be a blessing to these medical workers in our community,” Crossroads Church Community Pastor John Gillispie said.

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Louisville Vaccination Site Gives 1,000 Second Doses Saturday For Rescheduled Appointments Due To Weather

BY Eileen Street

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Broadbent Arena in Louisville opened its drive-thru vaccination site on Saturday after this past week’s winter weather forced it to shut its doors twice. As a result, 1,000 second doses of the Moderna vaccine were given for rescheduled appointments.

“Others will be rescheduled and have already been scheduled for next week. We’re just trying to stay on that vaccine timeline,” said Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness’s (LMPHW) Deputy Director Connie Mendel.

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Beshear's COVID-19 Briefings Raise Awareness of Sign Language Thanks to Virginia Moore

BY Khyati Patel

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted life, but there’s some glimmer of hope. Kentucky’s sign language interpreter Virginia Moore said daily and weekly press conferences have shed more awareness on signing interpreters.

“When I interpret for the governor, he brings it in English, I put it out on ASL,” Moore said. She is an Executive Director with the Kentucky Commission On The Deaf and Hard of Hearing. “This is the first time that this governor has or any governor has opened the door to having an interpreter there with him.”

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Gov. Beshear Voices Optimism During Kroger Regional Vaccine Site Visit

BY Evan Brooks

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear visited Greewood Mall Friday not only to tour the facility, but to provide updates on vaccinations in Kentucky. His message was one of optimism, as he's proud of the work that is being done and looks forward to continuing to vaccinate Kentuckians.

“I want to thank Kroger for their continued support throughout this pandemic to assist and protect Kentuckians throughout our state,” Beshear said. “The COVID-19 vaccines are a medical miracle. The regional vaccination sites are just the latest example of how Kroger has stepped up, along with local officials and leaders in Western Kentucky, to make sure we get through this together.”

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Louisville Church, Hospital Team Up To Help Vaccinate Minority Communities

BY Brennon Gurley

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — UofL Health and Kingdom Fellowship Christian Life Center are joining forces to make sure everyone has equal access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

There was no sermon at the Kingdom Fellowship Christian Life Center on Friday — instead, they offered a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

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Kentucky Relaxing COVID-19 Rules at Some Long-Term Care Centers

BY Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky is relaxing coronavirus-related restrictions at some of its long-term care facilities.

Indoor visitation will resume at non-Medicare-certified facilities that have been through the COVID-19 vaccination process, Gov. Andy Beshear said. Group activities, communal dining and visitations among vaccinated residents will resume, he said.

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JCPS Discusses Return to In-Person Learning During Virtual Town Hall

BY Michael Cadigan

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — JCPS held a virtual town hall Thursday to discuss their reopening plan, and JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio said there was a lot of work done in order to maximize safety.

“We can’t wait to see our faculty, staff and students. All the educators got into this profession so we can work on a daily basis with our students and see them face to face,” Pollio said.

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Kentucky Vaccination Network Continues to Expand

BY Bryce Shreve and Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Multiple COVID-19 vaccination sites will open across Kentucky as the inoculation network grows in preparation for increased vaccine shipments, Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday.

More than 555,000 Kentuckians have received at least their first dose of vaccine, but the state’s ability to provide shots still far outpaces available supplies, Beshear said.

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Court To Rule On Lawsuit Challenging Power Limits On Beshear By Early March

BY Joe Ragusa

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Under Senate Bill 1, Gov. Andy Beshear’s COVID-19 orders would expire in early March, unless the legislature decides to extend them.

It’s one of three bills at the center of a legal challenge Beshear filed in Franklin Circuit Court. Judge Phillip Shepherd heard arguments over Zoom Thursday, promising to make a decision before the orders expire.

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UofL Health to Vaccinate Nearly 800 People Friday At Louisville Church

BY Eileen Street

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — This Friday, close to 800 people will be vaccinated at Kingdom Fellowship Christian Life Center church in Louisville. It’s part of UofL Health’s ongoing effort to vaccinate communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 by bringing the vaccine to them via pop-up sites at local organizations, like churches.

Senior Pastor Timothy Findley, Jr. of Kingdom Fellowship said in 2020, he did triple the number of funerals he’s ever done in his 13 years as a pastor.

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Vaccines Continue in Louisville Despite Weather Causing Delays

BY Chelsea Washington

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — During Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer's weekly virtual town hall, Dr. Sarah Moyer, the city’s chief health strategist, provided an encouraging update regarding the COVID-19 crisis.

According to Moyer, there is a significant downtrend in COVID-19 cases. The city recently recorded the lowest weekly case count since October at 2,130 cases.

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UofL Researchers Develop Washable, Reusable N95-Style Masks

BY Amber Smith

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — University of Louisville (UofL) researchers developed N95-style face masks that are washable and reusable. It's something that could change the game as medical-grade single-use N95 masks are in short supply during the pandemic.

UofL Speed School of Engineering student, Luke Loughran, is helping with production of this product.

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Louisville Church, UofL Health Open Pop-Up COVID-19 Vaccination Site

BY Joe Ragusa

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Just a couple months ago, Otis Mitchell’s oldest son came down with COVID-19. He has recovered, but it’s still one of the reasons why Mitchell got a coronavirus vaccine on Friday.

“My eyes are already open,” Mitchell said. “But to know that your child has experienced the virus, contracted the virus, I had to go out and do it.”

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Lexington Kicks Off 'Lex Do This' COVID-19 Vaccine Awareness Campaign

BY Khyati Patel

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Officials in central Kentucky kicked off a public awareness campaign Friday to educate and encourage citizens to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

It took place at the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s vaccination clinic at Consolidated Baptist Church.

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International Community Leaders Vaccinated in Louisville

BY Erin Kelly

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Four leaders of Louisville’s international community received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Friday at the Kentucky Expo Center, as state and local officials discussed the importance of equity in vaccine distribution.



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First-Year Nurse Reflects on Beginning Her Job During COVID-19 Pandemic

BY Brandon Roberts

LEXINGTON – Registered nurse Alexis Harbsmeier has worked her entire career with COVID-19 patients.

She graduated from the University of Louisville in December of 2019 and went to work in July of 2020 in the throes of what was then a four-month-old and rapidly worsening global pandemic.

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Grocery Stores, Pharmacies, and New Mobile Clinics: Vaccines Are Ramping Up in Kentucky

BY Bryce Shreve and Associated Press
UPDATED 7:17 PM ET Feb. 11, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday announced over 150 vaccination clinics will open across the commonwealth. The announcement comes after recent increases in vaccine supplies, a development that Beshear said had allowed the state to expand the Bluegrass State’s vaccination program.

Six new regional vaccine sites were announced in Beshear's 4 p.m. press briefing. The governor also said COVID-19 vaccines will be available at new mobile clinics, 10 Kroger stores, 15 Walmart stores and 125 pharmacies, including Walgreens and Good Neighbor independent pharmacies. The full list of new locations can be found here.

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How Are Some Rural Eastern Kentucky Counties Handling Vaccine Distribution?

BY Brandon Roberts

LEXINGTON – As the country continues its massive vaccine rollout, health departments across the country are scrambling to plan and adjust, often while simultaneously managing a slew of new COVID-19 cases.

Residents in Kentucky’s rural counties tend to be older, and clinics face unique challenges getting the highly perishable vaccines and pertinent information to the more at-risk populations, many of whom often live miles away. In the face of those challenges, however, many of Kentucky’s rural counties have been very successful in administering vaccines thanks, in part, to partner pharmacies, local hospitals, and plans carefully implemented by health departments.

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What Does Kentucky Need to Reach Herd Immunity?

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Last Friday, Kentucky passed a milestone in its effort to defeat COVID-19, with more than 10% of the commonwealth’s population vaccinated against the illness. Notable as that was, it is still a long way away from the number required to reach herd immunity, which government scientists and medical experts have said requires vaccination of between 70% and 90% of the population.



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Race, Vaccines, and Life Expectancy: West Louisville Neighbors Concerned Over Rollout

BY Ashleigh Mills

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — While the COVID-19 vaccine is now available to people aged 70 and older, the average person in Louisville’s West End doesn't even live that long. That's according to 2017 data from Louisville Metro Health, showing the average life expectancy is just over 69 years old.

That's a problem, for neighbors like State Representative Attica Scott (D-Louisville), who's written a letter of complaint to the state's health department secretary. Others agree that there should be better, more equitable access to the vaccine.

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Norton Healthcare to Vaccinate at West Louisville Churches

BY Ashleigh Mills

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Spectrum News 1 is learning more about the vaccine distribution to Louisville's West End. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Steven Hester says Norton Healthcare will soon begin administering the vaccine in West Louisville churches.



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New Report Details Mismanaged Benefits, Unread Emails In Ky. Unemployment Office

BY Joe Ragusa

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky State Auditor issued a scathing report of Kentucky’s unemployment office Tuesday, detailing several issues where the office either broke federal law or failed to account for benefits.

“I just think, overall, there was a systemic failure in leadership,” State Auditor Mike Harmon said.

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What To Do if You Lose Your COVID-19 Vaccine Card

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Nearly half a million Kentuckians have now received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Many of them went home with a hand-written vaccination card, which includes the type of vaccine they received, the day it was administered, and a reminder to return for a second dose. Naturally, some of them have lost the card. They shouldn't worry.

“To think that you couldn’t get your second dose, it would be awful,” said Melinda Joyce, Vice President of Corporate Support Services at Bowling Green’s Med Center Health.

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Kentucky Among Handful of States Not Vaccinating Child Care Workers With K-12 Teachers

BY Amber Smith

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — While Kentucky leaders have been touting the Commonwealth's progress on vaccinating educators, vaccination tier 1B here only applies to people who work in K-12 schools. It's something Bradley Stevenson, the executive director of the Child Care Council of Kentucky, had hoped would change.

“Child care teachers are educators too. We have been encouraging anyone who will listen to us to prioritize these educators with the K-12 educators in this round of vaccine prioritization,” Stevenson said.

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Vaccinations To Continue at Kroger Field Despite Anticipated Bad Weather

BY Deborah Harbsmeier

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Bad weather is heading towards Kentucky but that isn't stopping the mass vaccination site the Kroger Field on the campus of the University of Kentucky.

The clinic is open from 9 each morning until 7 at night Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays.

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Kroger Offering $100 Bonus to Employees Who Get Vaccinated

BY Craig Huber

NATIONWIDE – In an effort to encourage its employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19, Kroger has announced a $100 bonus for each employee who gets the full recommended doses.

In addition, the company said, it is providing a $100 store credit and 1,000 fuel points for hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy, and call center associates.

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Beshear: More Than 10% of Kentuckians Vaccinated

BY Erin Kelly

FRANKFORT, Ky. — More than 10% of Kentuckians have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but the number of vaccines distributed to members of Kentucky's Black, African American, and Hispanic populations is too low, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday.

"We’re using everything we’ve got, and we’re using it within seven days," he said in a briefing. "We just need more supply."

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Two COVID-19 Vaccines Are Here. More Are Coming

BY Adam K. Raymond
UPDATED 4:46 PM ET Feb. 08, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Nearly two months into the U.S. vaccination effort against COVID-19, Pfizer and Moderna remain the only two companies with approved vaccines. That should change soon.

The past year has seen more than 100 COVID-19 vaccines developed, with 54 reaching clinical testing so far, according to an analysis from the Washington Post. Seventeen are in the final stage of testing — known as phase 3 — and could be considered for emergency approval in the coming months.

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UofL Researchers Studying Antibody Treatment To Reduce COVID-19 Transmission in Long-Term Care Facilities

BY Haeli Spears

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — University of Louisville researchers are looking at a treatment that could reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in long-term care facilities. The researchers are working with Eli Lilly and Company in a clinical trial examining its monoclonal antibody treatment, bamlanivimab.

The Phase 3 trial includes residents and staff who live or work at facilities that have recently had a diagnosed case of COVID-19 and who are now at a high risk of exposure.

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Amazon Hopes to Administer Vaccines at New Health Clinics

BY Ashleigh Mills

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — One of the largest employers in the greater Louisville area, retail giant Amazon, is providing a new perk for its employees. Some 28,000 people and their dependents in the area, more across the country, get the benefit of Neighborhood Health Center Clinics made convenient especially for them. This comes as Amazon's CEO has urged the Biden Administration to allow the company's assistance in COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Amazon's Workplace Health & Safety Coordinator Derek Rubino tells Spectrum News 1 staff are trying to get the new clinics licensed to provide vaccines to employees as soon as possible.

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UofL Head Coach Chris Mack Tests Positive for COVID-19; Wednesday's Game Postponed

BY Haeli Spears

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville's head coach Chris Mack has tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing "mild symptoms," according to a release. The Cards won't play against Pittsburgh this Wednesday, Feb. 10, at the KFC Yum! Center, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced.

The postponement comes after additional positive tests, subsequent quarantining, and contact tracing within the Louisville men's basketball program, with Mack among those who tested positive.

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Less Than Half of Kentucky Long-Term Care Staff Have Been Vaccinated

BY Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Less than half of staff members at Kentucky long-term care facilities have been vaccinated for COVID-19, in part because many refused vaccination, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. Now some of those people are changing their minds, leading to complications in the vaccine distribution.

Doses first became available for long-term care facility staff and residents two months ago. Since then an estimated 73% of residents have received the vaccine, but only about 45% of staff have been vaccinated.

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Shelby County Public Schools, Walmart Partner To Vaccinate Staff

BY Brennon Gurley

SHELBY COUNTY, Ky.— Shelby County Public Schools are teaming up with Walmart to provide hundreds of COVID-19 vaccines for their teachers and staff.

The end of the work week feels like a new chapter for Shelby County Public Schools teachers and staff. On Friday, around 200 staff members received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine including Wright Elementary teacher Tracy Gayle.

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Parents Worry Pandemic is Taking a Toll on Their Child's Mental Health

BY Amber Smith

OLDHAM COUNTY, Ky. — Some parents are worried about the toll non-traditional instruction (NTI) is taking on their kids' mental health. Even for kids who are back in the classroom, students are missing out on clubs, dances and other social events they used to look forward to.

Oldham County parent Lauren Evans said she didn't realize her 15-year-old daughter, who never struggled with mental health concerns before the pandemic, hasn't been doing well.

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Neurologist Discusses Long-Term Cognitive Side Effects from COVID-19

BY Michael Cadigan

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As scientists continue to discover more about COVID-19, neurologists like Dr. Greg Cooper have seen COVID-related cognitive impairment in some patients that have come to Norton Hospitals in Louisville. He noted a wide range in the severity.

“Some of the common things we see are confusion. About 1.5% of people may have a seizure nearly 2% of people may have a stroke. Those are the people with fairly severe forms of the illness,” said Cooper, the medical director of Norton Neuroscience Institute Memory Care.

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State Initiative Will Send More COVID-19 Vaccines to Local Health Departments

BY Brandon Roberts
UPDATED 3:09 PM ET Feb. 05, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky’s plan to establish regional sites to administer COVID-19 vaccines had the heads of at least a few rural county governments concerned about whether that option is of the utmost benefit to their residents.

The main concern among some rural county governments, especially those without a partner pharmacy such as CVS, Walgreens, or Kroger, was how this plan would affect the number of vaccines available at local health departments. Because residents in rural counties are disproportionately older, many of them may not drive or have access to the internet, both of which are paramount in getting a vaccine at a regional site.

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Kentucky's Homeless Population Waits To Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

BY Evan Brooks

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Throughout the state of Kentucky, people are continuing to get vaccinated, but one group that will have to wait is the homeless.

According to Louisville's Center of Hope Director Johanna Wint, some homeless shelter workers have been vaccinated while the homeless who are identified with group 1C have not been able to receive the vaccine just yet.

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Protecting Your Child During the COVID-19 Pandemic

BY Chelsea Washington

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The combined effects from the COVID-19 pandemic of school closures, limited visits with extended family, and social isolation are taking a toll on children.

But hopefully this will change, once the vaccines now being administered to adults are approved for children.

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Kentucky Woman Has Months-Long Lingering Symptoms After COVID-19 Recovery

BY Brennon Gurley

HAWESVILLE, Ky. — It’s one of the most defining and unnerving symptoms of COVID-19: a lingering loss of taste and smell.

Makenna Hall of Hawesville said despite recovering from COVID-19 more than three months ago, she still hasn’t fully recovered her sense of taste and smell.

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Judge Temporarily Blocks New Measure Limiting Beshear's COVID-19 Orders

BY Associated Press
UPDATED 7:04 PM ET Feb. 03, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Gov. Andy Beshear won a quick court order Wednesday to temporarily block a new law that he argues would dangerously weaken the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hours after an initial court hearing, a judge issued a restraining order to halt one of the three new laws being challenged by Beshear. Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd said the law could create “chaos” and confusion about measures intended to combat the deadly disease. He ordered that the law be delayed until he hears more arguments in the case.

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Two Louisville Basketball Games Postponed Due to COVID-19

BY Haeli Spears
UPDATED 7:00 PM ET Feb. 03, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville's men's basketball team won't be facing off against Syracuse Wednesday evening or Virginia on Saturday. The Atlantic Cost Conference (ACC) announced that the games are postponed.

According to a release from the ACC, the postponements follow positive tests, subsequent quarantining, and contact tracing within Louisville's program. The team is adhering to outlined protocols within the ACC Medical Advisory Group report.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Recommended, Not Required For Transplant Candidates

BY Eileen Street

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For Joe Kinsinger, waiting to get his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday at Robley Rex VA Medical Center in Louisville made him feel closer to something else.

“That everything is lining up for me to get the kidney. One step at a time,” the 68-year-old said.

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Ky. Lawmakers Consider Bill to Allow Vaccine Exemptions

BY Erin Kelly
UPDATED 6:25 PM ET Feb. 03, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A bill that would exempt some adults and children from getting vaccinated has moved ahead in the Kentucky legislature.

Republican Senator Mike Wilson of Bowling Green is the sponsor of Senate Bill 8. He told the Senate Standing Committee on Health and Welfare Wednesday that he does not oppose vaccines, but he had heard from constituents who didn't want to be forced to get a vaccine.

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Kentucky Parents File Suit Seeking To Resume in-Person Learning

BY Bryce Shreve and Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A group of Kentucky parents are suing several public school districts, seeking to put an end to online learning and return students to classrooms in-person, nearly one year after the coronavirus pandemic forced schools to pivot to virtual or hybrid models.



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Fayette County Schools to Begin Graduated Return to In-Person Learning Feb. 16

BY Haeli Spears

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) is planning to begin its graduated return to in-person learning the week of Feb. 16-19. Acting Superintendent Marlene Helm announced the decision in a letter sent to families Tuesday evening.

"Efforts to curtail infection rates appear to be working, and we are excited to share that the 7-day average of COVID-19 cases is 168 today, trending down from a high of 264 in January," Helm wrote. "Although Fayette County remains in the purple range of the FCPS In-Person Learning Matrix, we are optimistic – as are our partners with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department – that cases will continue to decrease."

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COVID-19 Survivor Donates Enough Plasma to Help 30+ People

BY David Guildford

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Last April, Spectrum News 1 reported from the Kentucky Blood Center, whose staff claimed to be the first center in the nation to accept plasma donations from COVID-19 survivors. The antibodies in the blood are then given to patients still fighting the virus.

We returned Tuesday to learn more than 100 survivors – some of whom are regulars – have been donating plasma across the Commonwealth. Few have committed like Kenny Norris, who has donated each month since June.

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Louisville Officials Weigh in on Vaccine Distribution

BY Chelsea Washington
UPDATED 7:35 AM ET Feb. 03, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A new program is removing barriers to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Biden Administration announced it is rolling out the first phase of a federal program that will allow select pharmacies to offer the shot.

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Kentucky COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs: When and Where You Can Get It

BY Brandon Roberts and Adam K. Raymond
UPDATED 6:41 PM ET Feb. 02, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky has been administering COVID-19 vaccines for nearly two months, and more than 350,000 doses have been administered in the state. But supply has not kept up with demand, and many people who want the vaccine are not yet able to get it. Here's what you need to know about the rollout of the vaccine in the commonwealth:

QUESTION: Where can I register to get my vaccine?

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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)