Coronavirus Blog

SPECTRUM NEWS 1 CORONAVIRUS BLOG

Sen. Rand Paul talks COVID-19 politics in statewide speaking tour

BY Joe Ragusa

HARRODSBURG, Ky. — Sen. Rand Paul told a maskless crowd at a restaurant in Harrodsburg that it’s time to remove COVID-19 restrictions in the Commonwealth.

“I think that we’re at a point where people can make those decisions,” Paul said. “In a free society, people will choose according to what they think their risk is, so they wouldn’t come here if they thought they had a high risk to a restaurant or to a bar. If they thought they were low-risk, they would.”

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Kroger Field, Kentucky Horse Park vaccination sites closing soon as demand plummets

BY Khyati Patel

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Demand for COVID-19 vaccines is plummeting in Kentucky. Now, two large vaccination sites in Lexington will close soon: Kentucky Horse Park and the University of Kentucky’s Kroger Field location.

Officials announced they’re planning to close the Kroger Field mass vaccination site and are in the process of demobilizing.

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Financial analysts praise Kentucky's 'solid economic recovery' from pandemic

BY Bryce Shreve

KENTUCKY — The Commonwealth's post-pandemic economic outlook is looking good, according to analysts from a major credit rating agency.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced that one of the big three credit rating agencies, Fitch Ratings, improved the state’s financial outlook from negative to stable, reflecting the commonwealth’s solid economic recovery from the pandemic.

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Vaccine demand declines across Kentucky

BY Amber Smith

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Demand for the COVID-19 vaccine is falling flat in Kentucky. As of Wednesday morning, just over 1.8 million Kentuckians have received their first dose of the vaccine. That’s just about 41% of the state’s population. 1.3 million are fully vaccinated. That’s right around 30% of the population.

Nonprofit government data company, USA Facts, has been using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) numbers to track supply and demand for the vaccine across the state.

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Louisville health officials expect post-Derby COVID-19 spike

BY Jonathon Gregg

LOUISVILLE, KY — A spike in new COVID-19 cases is expected following last week's Kentucky Derby, according to Louisville's Chief Health Strategist.

On Tuesday, Chief Health Strategist Dr. Sarah Moyer said she expects a spike in COVID-19 cases linked to Derby Week. On Saturday, more than 50,000 fans were spread throughout Churchill Downs. It's a third of a typical Derby crowd pre-pandemic but enough to be the largest sporting event turnout since the pandemic began.

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How many LMPD officers are vaccinated? The department isn't keeping track

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In big cities around the country, police officers are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 at alarmingly low rates, according to a recent report in The Washington Post.

But it’s not clear what percentage of Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers have been vaccinated because the department is not keeping track, an LMPD spokesperson told Spectrum News 1. She suggested checking with the Louisville Metro Public Health Department, whose spokesperson said it is also not tracking officer vaccinations.

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UofL researchers studying long- and short-term effects of COVID-19

BY Haeli Spears

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Researchers at the University of Louisville (UofL) hope to better understand the long- and short-term effects of COVID-19 with the Post COVID-19 Research Clinic. UofL's Division of Infectious Diseases created the multidisciplinary research clinic to study the wide variety of symptoms and effects of COVID-19.

People from Louisville and surrounding areas who were previously diagnosed with COVID-19 can volunteer to participate in the research study to document and monitor their symptoms and health changes over time.

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Transylvania University pop-up clinic helps students get vaccinated

BY Crystal Sicard

LEXINGTON.Ky.- Transylvania University in Lexington is helping staff, students, and alumni in their local community get vaccinated. The University has partnered with Wild Health to create a pop-up clinic on campus.

Mason Johnson with Wild Health has helped in many different college clinics around the state. He says being able to work in pop up locations has allowed him to build relationships, and ease the worries that some students may have with the vaccine.

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Sen. Rand Paul bashes Beshear, says Kentucky needs to reopen

BY Joe Ragusa

FRANKFORT, Ky. — It's no secret Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) has been opposed to most coronavirus restrictions, especially those in his home state.

His latest tweet pushes Gov. Andy Beshear – a man Paul says is “drunk on power” – to reopen, citing a few states that have eased restrictions.

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UK Professor with family in India: "Every person I know is either infected themselves or has somebody in their family that's infected”

BY Khyati Patel

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A University of Kentucky (UK) professor is concerned about her friends and family in India. The recent surge in cases there is concerning many South Asians in Kentucky.

Aardra Kachroo teaches plant pathology at UK. With the semester winding down, she goes back and forth from her office and lab. But her mind is elsewhere.

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Kentucky Amazon employees can now get vaccinated at work

BY Crystal Sicard

LEXINGTON,Ky.- Amazon is now offering on-site COVID-19 vaccinations in Kentucky for their front-line employees.

The company started this initiative on Tuesday and has already vaccinated thousands of their employees within the first few days.

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Heading to Churchill Downs this weekend? Keep these COVID-19 safety protocols in mind

BY Bryce Shreve

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — We're just two days away from the most exciting two minutes in sports. In advance of the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs Racetrack is reminding guests of the health and safety protocols they have in place.

Owing to physical distancing protocols and other safety measures in place, Churchill Downs is limiting the number of reserved seats to 40-50% capacity and up to 60% in private premium areas that allow social distancing. Infield-Only general admission ticket sales are limited to approximately 25-30% of capacity in the outdoor 22-acre Infield.

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NKU students compete for best ideas to combat vaccine hesitancy

BY Sam Knef

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — Students at Northern Kentucky University and other area universities have been competing to come up with the best idea for getting better COVID-19 vaccine access for underserved communities.

A few months ago, NKU Vice President for Health Innovation Valerie Hardcastle joined a research consortium which includes representatives from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, University of Cincinnati, Xavier University and NKU.

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Fort Knox continues vaccination campaign for military, dependents of personnel

BY Evan Brooks

FORT KNOX, Ky. — With already-impressive vaccination numbers, the military post in Fort Knox continues to vaccinate military personnel as well as their dependents thanks to a large supply of vaccines in Kentucky.

The base has vaccinated over 8,000 military personnel and dependents since receiving doses in January.

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High schools become pop-up vaccine sites

BY Khyati Patel

LEXINGTON, Ky. — COVID-19 vaccinations sites are expanding in Lexington. On Tuesday, six Fayette County Public (FCPS) high schools hosted vaccinations for anyone 16 years old and older.



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Ky. natives head home from Argentina for their COVID vaccines: 'Better safe than sorry.'

BY Spectrum News Staff
UPDATED 12:02 PM ET Apr. 27, 2021

WOODFORD COUNTY, Ky. — Brian Franklin is a world traveler who’s travel plans were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I travel internationally quite a bit for my job, so around Latin America," Franklin said. "We have offices in Brazil and Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay. Headquarters here in the US, so traveling is fairly critical for my job and industry."

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'We hope this is a relief for people:' Gov. Beshear eases mask mandate for smaller, outdoor events

BY Haeli Spears

KENTUCKY — Beginning Tuesday, Kentucky's statewide mask mandate will no longer be in effect when Kentuckians are outside at events or venues with 1,000 people or fewer, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Monday.

“What this means is at events like the Kentucky Derby, you still have to wear a mask, but if you’re at a backyard barbeque, your community pool or an outdoor wedding, you’re not required to wear a mask,” said Beshear. “We hope this is a relief for people, and remember, the state will be able to lift even more restrictions once the 2.5 million vaccine Team Kentucky Vaccination Challenge is reached.”

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Beshear: New COVID-19 cases down almost 14% from last week

BY Bryce Shreve

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky has seen new cases of COVID-19 drop by nearly 14% over the past week, according to Gov. Andy Beshear.

Beshear also said over 1.7 million Kentuckians are at least partially vaccinated, inching the state closer to the 2.5 million threshold the governor said needs to be met before Kentucky can fully reopen.

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Lynn Family Stadium to host pop-up vaccine site, offering free admission with vaccination

BY Erin Wilson

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Racing Louisville FC has joined Gov. Andy Beshear’s Team Kentucky Vaccination Challenge in hopes of reaching 2.5 million vaccinations in the Commonwealth.

On Monday night, Lynn Family Stadium will serve as a pop up vaccination site during Racing Louisville FC’s second-ever home game. Those who get vaccinated at the game will receive free admission.

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Catch a game and get vaccinated Monday during Racing Louisville FC game

BY Deborah Harbsmeier

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear's Team Kentucky Vaccination Challenge is getting a leg up with the help of Racing Louisville FC. The challenge as you know is to get 2.5 million Kentuckians vaccinated so that capacity restrictions can be lifted.

Starting Monday, Lynn Family Stadium will host a vaccination site in conjunction with the team's game against the North Carolina Courage. Lexington-based Wild Health is running the site. It has set up25 similar vaccination sites across Kentucky, but this is the first pop-up site at a sporting event.

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New FEMA vaccination sites headed to Henderson, Laurel counties

BY Bryce Shreve

KENTUCKY — FEMA is partnering with the Commonwealth of Kentucky to open community vaccination center (CVC) sites in Laurel and Henderson counties, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Friday.

The Laurel County Cooperative Extension site, located at 200 County Extension Road in London, will open Wednesday, April 28. Personnel from the National Disaster Medical System and staff from American Medical Response will support the administration of vaccine at this location.

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High vaccination rates allowed nursing home to survive outbreak of COVID-19 variant

BY Michael Cadigan

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — An unvaccinated employee sparked an outbreak at a Kentucky nursing home where most of the residents were immunized, according to a study posted Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In the report, most of the people were infected with coronavirus despite being vaccinated did not develop symptoms or require hospitalization. However, one vaccinated resident of the nursing home died, according to the study released by the CDC.

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Appointments down at Cardinal Stadium vaccination site: 'This is sad.'

BY David Guildford

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — UofL Health officials said they can vaccinate up to 5,000 people in the parking lot of Cardinal Stadium. But since it opened two weeks ago, appointments are down.

When we visited the site Thursday, two out of 28 lanes were open to receive vehicles, and the line in each was not long. National Guardsmen stood together and chatted for multiple minutes before a new car would arrive requiring their direction.

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Students give the shots during COVID-19 vaccine clinic at NKU

BY Sam Knef

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — After receiving a sizable batch of COVID-19 vaccines to distribute to its population, Northern Kentucky University (NKU) held a vaccine clinic Thursday at the BB&T Arena. Hundreds of students, faculty and staff received their first shot of the Pfizer vaccine.

Kentucky recently expanded its vaccine eligibility window to include all residents aged 16 and up, a few weeks before President Joe Biden said the same window applies to all states in the U.S.

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Doctors see rise in younger people hospitalized with COVID-19

BY Ashleigh Mills

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Doctors at UofL Health are noticing a new coronavirus trend where younger adults between the ages of 30 and 40 are becoming infected and hospitalized. Dr. Mark Burns, an expert in infectious diseases at UofL Health, says it's up to this group of young adults to now get vaccinated and reverse the trend. Burns believes the infections are happening for several reasons. For one, because older Kentuckians were prioritized for vaccination first.

Burns feels other reasons for the virus hitting this particular age group can include COVID-19 fatigue, being unable to work remotely from home, spring break and vaccine hesitancy. Burns says most of the patients hospitalized have comorbidities, like an elevated Body Mass Index (BMI).

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'We changed a lot of things:' Bridal shop rebounds as weddings, proms resume

BY David Guildford

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. — COVID-19 arrived in Kentucky at the worst time for some industries. For those who outfit customers for weddings and proms, spring is essential.

Now that April has returned and vaccines have provided hope, we went back to check on USA Bridal – a massive, locally owned warehouse filled with dress clothes.

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Fayette County working to increase amount of fully vaccinated residents

BY Crystal Sicard

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Out of 120 counties in Kentucky, Fayette County is currently home to the third highest percentage of fully vaccinated residents.

“About 40% of the eligible people for the vaccine have already gotten vaccinated, and that's great but we're still a long way away from that 70% threshold for community immunity that the federal government has talked about.” Kevin Hall with the Lexington Fayette County Health Department said.

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Your pets can catch coronavirus but probably don’t spread it, research finds

BY Maddie Burakoff
UPDATED 3:45 PM ET Apr. 21, 2021

MILWAUKEE — Since COVID-19 started spreading last year, its impacts have stretched across oceans and borders — and even across species.

“People don’t live in a vacuum,” said Keith Poulsen, the director of the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at UW-Madison. “When you have an infectious disease come through, we have households of mammals, and that includes people, dogs, cats.”

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Lexington hospital welcomes back volunteers after COVID-19 hiatus

BY Khyati Patel

LEXINGTON, Ky. — CHI Saint Joseph Health is welcoming volunteers back on campus a year after pausing its volunteer program in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It's a very exciting day and this is Volunteer Appreciation Week so it's just perfect that we could bring them back this week and really show them how much we appreciate them and that we're excited to bring them back,” said Anna Taylor, market director of Philanthropy and Volunteer Services.

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Kentucky airports receive over $12M in COVID-19 relief funds

BY Haeli Spears

KENTUCKY — Thirty Kentucky airports received a total of $12,858,789 in COVID-19 relief funds, announced Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Monday. The federal funding, distributed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), comes from the Coronavirus Relief and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020.

“The bipartisan COVID relief passed by the Senate last year continues to fuel Kentucky’s economic comeback. In particular, I’m proud these resources will lift our Commonwealth’s airports as they support their workers and safely connect travelers to their destinations,” said McConnell. “Each Kentuckian who receives the safe and effective COVID vaccine helps get us closer to a strong recovery.”

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Have an idea on how to spread the word about COVID-19 vaccines? NKU wants to hear it

BY Haeli Spears

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — Have an idea on how to get information on COVID-19 vaccines out there? Northern Kentucky University wants to hear it.

NKU's Institute for Health Innovation (IHI) is hosting the Vaccine Idea Challenge, which is calling on regional college students to pitch their ideas for getting accurate and timely COVID-19 vaccine information to medically underserved communities.

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Volume at Kentucky airports is taking off

BY Amber Smith
UPDATED 8:45 AM ET Apr. 19, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Traffic has been picking up at Louisville’s Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF). It’s a sign Kentuckians are feeling more comfortable traveling again after a year cooped up at home during the pandemic.

Louisville resident Dan Pellissier is no stranger to airports, as his job requires a lot of travel. Like everyone, he halted that travel for a while in the early days of the pandemic. In October, he started flying for work again. He said travel had never been easier in terms of wait times at security.

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Battle over Gov. Beshear's coronavirus orders heads to the Kentucky Supreme Court

BY Bryce Shreve and Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky’s Supreme Court has agreed to take up Gov. Andy Beshear’s challenge of Republican-backed laws aimed at limiting his authority to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The GOP-dominated legislature passed the measures this year over Beshear’s vetoes. The governor immediately filed a lawsuit and the new laws curbing his executive powers were temporarily blocked by Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd.

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Half a million vaccine doses available in Kentucky, Gov. Beshear says

BY Haeli Spears

KENTUCKY — According to Gov. Andy Beshear, Kentucky has 499,735 Moderna and Pfizer vaccines on hand and ready to be administered. That's more than half the number needed to meet the state's 2.5 million vaccinations goal.

“As of today, we are only 877,076 vaccinations away from our goal of 2.5 million Kentuckians 16 and older receiving their vaccine,” said Beshear. “The way we defeat this virus is with vaccines, and I want to give you one statistic to show just how incredible they are.

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Lexington Fayette County Health Department cancels Johnson & Johnson vaccine clinic

BY Crystal Sicard
UPDATED 9:08 AM ET Apr. 15, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a statement to pause the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after six reported recipients developed a rare disorder involving blood clots.

Kevin Hall, spokesperson with the Lexington Fayette County Health Department says their Friday Johnson & Johnson vaccination clinic has been canceled and any details on future clinics will be shared when available.

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WKU stops offering COVID-19 vaccines on campus

BY Haeli Spears

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Western Kentucky University is no longer offering COVID-19 vaccines on campus, according to university spokesperson Bob Skipper. WKU was offering the Pfizer vaccine through a partnership with Wild Health of Lexington and Graves Gilbert Clinic in Bowling Green.

"As we near the end of the spring semester, the timing of the second dose falls after the semester’s end, which causes logistical concerns for students who leave campus," Skipper said in a statement. He also noted that community sites are having more openings and offering walk-up vaccinations.

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Group protests over Gov. Beshear's vaccination goal: 'My body, my choice.'

BY Erin Kelly

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Protesters brought their complaints about the governor’s vaccination goal to his residence Wednesday, with some saying his plan amounted to a "vaccine mandate."

Standing in the rain between the Capitol and the governor’s mansion, a crowd chanted, "No more!," "My body, my choice," and "This is America."

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Erlanger hits vaccination milestone as Beshear discusses reopening plans

BY Sam Knef

ERLANGER, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear was in Northern Kentucky Wednesday, joining St. Elizabeth Healthcare in administering its 100,000th COVID-19 vaccine at the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Training and Education Center in Erlanger.

St. Elizabeth is the largest healthcare provider in Northern Kentucky, having vaccinated 250,000 Kentuckians. In partnership with the state, the Training and Education Center has served as the primary center for mass vaccine distribution for the region.

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How will Johnson & Johnson pause affect Kentucky's vaccination efforts?

BY Amber Smith

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear said the pause of use for the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine shouldn’t slow the Commonwealth’s vaccination efforts down too much.

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended healthcare providers hold off on using the J&J COVID-19 vaccine for now. The administration said, of the nearly 7 million people who have received the J&J shot so far in the U.S., six women developed a rare and severe form of a blood clot. The FDA said it recommended the pause in the use of the shot so it can inform healthcare providers about best practices for treating patients with this type of clotting.

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Beshear: J&J pause could last a few days, up to a week

BY Haeli Spears
UPDATED 12:56 PM ET Apr. 13, 2021

KENTUCKY — Kentucky is pausing its use of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Tuesday morning. Earlier in the day, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a joint statement recommending states pause using the vaccine after six recipients in the U.S., all women between the ages of 18 and 48, developed a rare disorder involving blood clots.

Beshear, in a video published on Twitter, noted that Kentucky has "very little" of the J&J vaccine compared to doses from Pfizer and Moderna, which he reminded are both safe and effective.

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UK pauses J&J vaccine following recommendation from FDA, CDC

BY Haeli Spears

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The University of Kentucky will temporarily pause administering the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine at the Gatton Student Center, the university said Tuesday. The announcement comes after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that states pause using the J&J vaccine "out of an abundance of caution" after six recipients in the U.S. developed a rare disorder involving blood clots.

The university said it will continue to administer vaccines to those with appointments using the Pfizer two-shot vaccine "until further guidance is issued by the federal government about J&J."

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New mass vaccination site opens at Cardinal Stadium Monday

BY Amber Smith

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The largest mass vaccination site in the state opens Monday morning at Cardinal Stadium. UofL Health, which runs the site, said the goal is to get as many Kentuckians vaccinated as soon as possible.

“We have appointments and we want people to sign up. We want to get over any hesitancy people have to get out and get the vaccine. We know it works. Let’s get out and get vaccinated," said Dr. Hugh Shoff, associate chief medical officer at UofL Health.

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Kentucky judge's ruling exempts restaurant group from COVID orders

BY Ashleigh Mills

SCOTT COUNTY, Ky. — A judge has ruled that some Kentucky restaurants no longer have to follow the COVID-19 restrictions. An injunction came down from the Scott County judge Friday, allowing five small businesses to skip the precautions Gov. Andy Beshear has ordered.

The businesses sued the governor early last month. At least one of the owners is celebrating this as a victory, as Beshear has already filed an appeal.

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Judge Rules in Favor of Five Bars Challenging Beshear's COVID Orders

BY Associated Press

GEORGETOWN, Ky. — A Kentucky judge on Friday temporarily blocked applying some of the state’s pandemic-related restrictions to several restaurants and breweries challenging the governor’s actions.

Scott County Circuit Judge Brian Privett said in his narrowly tailored order that the rights of those businesses have been harmed by the restrictions. His order applies only to the handful of businesses challenging the coronavirus-related orders by Gov. Andy Beshear.

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Volunteers host soft opening at Cardinal Stadium's mass vaccination site

BY Erin Wilson

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The largest vaccination site in the state of Kentucky continued its soft opening Friday with University of Louisville staff and faculty. It only takes about 21 minutes from start to finish to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the Cardinal Stadium Mass Vaccination Site, set to open Monday.

Associate Chief Medical Officer Hugh Shoff believes this new site will be an advantage for the community.

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Thousands to be fully vaccinated when NKU hosts mass vaccine clinic

BY Sam Knef

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — Basketball season may be over, but there will be a crowd and thousands of shots inside BB&T Arena this weekend thanks to a COVID-19 vaccine clinic

Nearly 4,000 people will return to Northern Kentucky University for their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine three weeks after their first go-around.

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Mask exemption for child with disability not accepted at Newport Aquarium

BY Sam Knef

NEWPORT, Ky. — Amanda Yeary had planned to take her two kids to the Newport Aquarium on March 31.

Two days before, she called ahead to make sure it would be alright for her 4-year-old daughter Hannah not to wear a mask. Hannah has down syndrome, making wearing a mask out of the question, her mother said.

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As Vaccine Eligibility Expands, Thousands of Appointments Go Unfilled

BY Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear urged Kentuckians to sign up for thousands of open vaccination appointments next week, warning the state is in a race to head off the threat from COVID-19 variants.

At least 16,000 appointments are still open for COVID-19 shots next week in several Kentucky communities, the governor said Thursday. Those vaccination sites — spanning much of the state — are in Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green, Pikeville and Christian County, he said.

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Volunteers Mobilize at Cardinal Stadium Mass Vaccination Site

BY Jonathon Gregg

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The largest vaccination site in Kentucky is about to open at Louisville's Cardinal Stadium.

Hundreds of orange cones cover the parking lot south of Cardinal Stadium in Louisville. They, along with more than 100 hundred volunteers, will guide drivers through a massive vaccine site opening April 12.

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Fayette County Students Will No Longer Undergo Temp Checks Before Entering Buses, Buildings

BY Haeli Spears

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Beginning April 8, Fayette County Public Schools will no longer screen students for temperatures before they ride buses or enter school buildings. The move comes after the Kentucky Department of Education updated its "Healthy at School" guidance to say only symptomatic students and staff should undergo temperature screenings.

“We discussed this new information with the health experts from the Health Department, and they are in agreement with this change,” Acting Superintendent Marlene Helm said in a statement published on the district's website.

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Vaccine Demand "Leveling-Off" At Some Kentucky Sites

BY Ashleigh Mills

NELSON COUNTY, Ky. — In some places across the country, including in the Bluegrass, vaccine supply is outpacing demand for the first time since the shots came available. A new vaccination site offered hundreds of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson doses Tuesday in Bardstown, where a health department spokesperson said the demand is now "leveling off."

The traffic line into the fairgrounds flowed steadily throughout the afternoon. The Lincoln Trail District Health Department (LTDHD) spokesperson Terrie Burgan said her team was on track to give about 630 doses of vaccine to people in the single-day drive-through event. Because the vaccination site was by appointment only, Burgan said no doses were wasted.

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CDC Awarding Kentucky Over $40M To Expand Vaccine Efforts

BY Haeli Spears

KENTUCKY — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Tuesday it has awarded Kentucky $40,369,236 "to support local efforts to increase vaccine uptake by expanding COVID-19 vaccine programs and ensuring greater equity and access to vaccine by those disproportionately affected by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19," the agency said in a release.

The dollars are part of $3 billion in funding the CDC has granted to 64 jurisdictions to assist with vaccine distribution, access, and administration efforts. The funding comes from the American Resue Plan and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and "will provide critical support through CDC’s existing immunization cooperative agreements in communities around the country," said the release.

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Mask Mandate Expires for Kentucky's Indiana Neighbors Tuesday

BY Ashleigh Mills

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. — Some consider it a pandemic milestone. For Kentucky's neighbors to the north, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb's mask mandate is over Tuesday. It may cause some confusion. When in Indiana now, people do not have to mask up while outdoors, or inside places that do not have a mask requirement. That's not the case in Kentucky. Across the state line, Kentucky does still require those who enter to wear masks. Businesses and their customers have mixed feelings about it.

Thomas Harris is a Jeffersonville restaurant owner who feels "good and bad about it at the same time," he tells Spectrum News 1. Harris opened "That's My Dog" during the pandemic and has required his staff to wear masks all this time. That won't change.

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McConnell Discusses Proposed Infrastructure Plan in Lexington

BY Khyati Patel

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) is calling the most recent infrastructure bill presented by Pres. Joe Biden's administration, a complete reversal from the 2017 tax cuts.

During a tour at the state’s first mass vaccine site at Kroger Field on Monday, the senator said he doesn’t think the infrastructure package will be appealing to the Republicans.

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Teens Can Now Register for Vaccine

BY Jonathon Gregg

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Teenagers, you're up.

Beginning Monday in Louisville healthy 16-year-olds can register for a vaccine. Plenty of appointments are available according to UofL Health's Associate Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hugh Shoff.

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University of Kentucky Offering Johnson & Johnson Vaccine To Students

BY Haeli Spears

LEXINGTON, Ky. — University of Kentucky students will soon have another COVID-19 vaccine option available to them. The university announced it will begin administering the one-shot Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine to students starting Tuesday, April 6, on the UK campus from Wild Health. This is in addition to the vaccine available at Kroger Field, which is currently administering the Pfizer shot.

The J&J vaccine will be available, while supplies last, at the Wild Health COVID-19 testing locations at the Gatton Student Center and K-Lair in Haggin Hall. It will not be available at the Kroger Field Vaccine Clinic.

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Ahead of Schedule, Kentucky Expands COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility to Residents 16+ Monday

BY Amber Smith

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentuckians 16 and older are now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines in the Commonwealth.

This move puts Kentucky one week ahead of schedule, as this was originally set to happen next Monday. It also puts Kentucky almost one month ahead of President Joe Biden’s goal to have all American adults eligible for vaccines by May 1.

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After Weeks of Decline, Kentucky's COVID-19 Positivity Rate Breaks 3%

BY Bryce Shreve and Associated Press
UPDATED 9:00 AM ET Apr. 04, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky’s COVID-19 test positivity rate rose to almost 3.1% after declining steadily for several days, Gov. Andy Beshear reported Friday. The positivity rested right at 3% as of Saturday afternoon.

This development comes after the governor urged Kentuckians to continue to follow public health guidelines that slow the spread of the virus, even as vaccines become more widely available.

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KY Health Officials Hopeful After CDC Eases Travel Guidelines

BY Brennon Gurley

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — State health officials are hopeful that new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about travel for fully vaccinated people will encourage more Kentuckians to get the shot.

The CDC has dramatically eased its travel restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated. A person is considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their last dose.

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Mass Vaccination Site Opens in West Louisville's Whitney Young Elementary School

BY Erin Kelly

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A new vaccination site has opened at Whitney Young Elementary School in West Louisville. The multi-week clinic is part of an effort to ensure the COVID-19 vaccine is accessible to everyone, organizers said Friday.

Mary Grimes only had to travel two blocks to get there and said she was looking forward to throwing a picnic for her family.

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Kentuckians Prepare for Modified Easter Celebrations This Weekend

BY Amber Smith

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Sunday will be the second Easter holiday during the pandemic. This time last year, the pandemic was still pretty new. Most events were canceled altogether. Now, as more Kentuckians get vaccinated, some will be holding modified Easter celebrations.

For example, the Tyler Park Neighborhood Association will soon be setting up for its annual Easter egg hunt. Last year, the association canceled the event. Families instead decorated their homes for a socially distant Easter contest.

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Research Roundup: Here’s What We Have Learned About Coronavirus Recently

BY Maddie Burakoff
UPDATED 5:10 PM ET Apr. 01, 2021

MILWAUKEE — Over the past year, the scientific world has seen a steady flow of research updating what we know about the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and how it affects humans.

Because the virus is so new, researchers are still grappling with many questions about its function. And because of the nature of the scientific process, no single study can completely answer those questions. Instead, new research is constantly challenging our understanding of the pandemic.

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FDA Authorizes 2 At-Home COVID-19 Tests Without Prescription

BY Spectrum News Staff & Associated Press

As COVID-19 testing numbers continue to slide in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has authorized two at-home, over-the-counter COVID-19 tests that can get rapid results – without a prescription.

The FDA said Wednesday that Abbott’s BinaxNow and Quidel’s QuickVue COVID tests can be sold without a prescription.

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All Kentuckians 16 and Older Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine Starting April 5

BY Bryce Shreve and Associated Press

KENTUCKY — The Bluegrass state will expand vaccine eligibility to anyone 16 and older starting Monday, April 5 in another major expansion of COVID-19 shots, Gov. Andy Beshear said Wednesday.

The continued ramp-up comes as many appointment slots go unfilled at some vaccine sites, he said.

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LFCHD Vaccine Clinic Open to Ages 18-and-up, Extends Hours

BY Brandon Roberts

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s more recent COVID-19 vaccine clinic had 400 available appointment slots and was open to anyone age 18 or older who lives or works in Lexington. It was also the first clinic to stay open for extended hours, closing at 6 p.m.

“Today is our first time being able to go into the evening hours,” said Kevin Hall, Lexington-Fayette County Health Department (LFCHD) communications officer. “We're here today until 6 p.m. and this does give people a chance as they get off work, or maybe people who before they go in who work at night shift, to be able to get this vaccine.”

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Major Kentucky Universities to Encourage, But Not Mandate COVID-19 Vaccine

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Five major Kentucky colleges and universities told Spectrum News 1 they have no plans to mandate a COVID-19 vaccine for students who attend classes in person next fall.

The question was posed after last week’s decision by Rutgers University to require vaccinations for returning students.

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New "Healthy at School" Guidance Says Only Symptomatic Students Need Temperature Checks

BY Bryce Shreve

KENTUCKY — Students around the Commonwealth will see some changes to their daily routine after the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) updated the temperature check portion of the "Healthy at School" guidance.

Starting April 1, only symptomatic students and staff need to undergo temperature screenings prior to entering a school bus or building. That's a change from requiring temperature checks for all students and staff.

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Appointments Open for Upcoming Mass Vaccination Site at Cardinal Stadium

BY Amber Smith

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Wednesday marks the first day Kentuckians can start signing up for appointments at the soon-to-open mass vaccination site at Cardinal Stadium in Louisville. When vaccinations begin on April 12, this will become the largest mass vaccination site in the Commonwealth. UofL Health, which will run the vaccination site, aims to administer 25,000 doses per week.

“I hope to be able to push hard for the first three weeks and really get as many people through that site. We are finishing the touches on the vaccine supply. That’s the last part of it," said Dr. Jason Smith, UofL Health's Chief Medical Officer. "The state is helping us as far as making sure we have enough vaccines to get this out, but I am looking forward to it.”

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"This Is Not Last Year": McConnell Touts Past COVID Bills, Decries Latest as Too Costly

BY David Guildford

SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky — Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., continued his opposition to the American Rescue plan Tuesday even after touring and expressing his happiness for the role the McKesson distribution facility in Shepherdsville is playing as a contracted COVID-19 vaccine distributor for the Centers for Disease Control.

Billions of dollars from the bill, passed by Congress on March 10, are destined to beef up the CDC's vaccine rollout nationwide. McKesson began work on this mission before the first Pfizer vaccine doses were given emergency authorization by the FDA.

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UK Expanding COVID-19 Vaccine, Testing Services Across Kentucky

BY Haeli Spears

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The University of Kentucky announced that over the next two weeks, it plans to further expand its services across the Commonwealth and offer free COVID-19 vaccinations and testing at more than 20 partner locations, including nine college campuses. UK currently has 11 partner locations.

“This university serves the entire Commonwealth,” said Joe Monroe, chief of the UK Police Department. “On average, we administer 4,000 vaccines per day at our Kroger Field COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic, but we hope to more than double that number with these additional locations.”

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40% of Kentucky Adults Have Received at Least First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine

BY Haeli Spears

KENTUCKY — Over 1.3 million Kentuckians have received at least their first dose of one of three highly effective COVID-19 vaccines, according to Gov. Andy Beshear.

“We’ve now vaccinated about 40% of Kentucky adults -- a really exciting milestone," said Beshear. "We also believe we’ve vaccinated about 70% of Kentuckians who are age 70 and up."

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Tips for a Safe (and Fun) Spring Break During COVID-19

BY Amber Smith

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Monday marks the first day of spring break for students in Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) and Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS). While coronavirus case numbers have been trending downward in the Commonwealth, health experts worry spring break could spark a spike if people are not careful.

All last week, doctors were urging people to get tested before taking off on any trips. For anyone who hasn't left yet, it's not too late, so long as you get a rapid result test. Spring break is often a popular time to head to the beach, but doctors warn those spots might be crowded as people from all over the country seek some warm-weather destinations.

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UofL Health Vaccinates 2,500 Kentuckians During West Louisville Vaccine Clinic

BY Bryce Shreve

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear and faith leaders representing more than 50 local churches kicked off a 12-hour vaccination event organized by UofL Health in West Louisville Saturday, where 2,500 Kentuckians were vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Our churches and our health care providers have been on the frontlines throughout our war against COVID-19, and they are now invaluable partners as we vaccinate more and more Kentuckians every day,” Beshear said. “After a difficult year where we have lost more than 6,000 Kentuckians, it is thanks to the hard work and sacrifices of our health care heroes and volunteers that we are meeting the greatest challenge of our generation and will defeat COVID-19 this year.”

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Officials: Nearly One Third of Louisville's Population Have Received at Least One COVID Vaccine Dose

BY Erin Wilson

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Over 12 weeks ago, Broadbent Arena transformed from a place to hold graduation ceremonies and large events to LouVax, a mass COVID-19 vaccination site.

Every week, more and more Louisvillians become eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Sarah Moyer, director of Louisville Metro's Department of Public Health and Wellness, said progress toward herd immunity continues to grow.

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As Vaccine Supply Increases, Some Parts of Kentucky See Falling Demand

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — When COVID-19 vaccines first arrived at the Lake Cumberland District Health Department (LCDHD) in early February, demand was so high that officials opened 30 phone lines to help nearby Kentuckians make appointments. Over the next six weeks, LCDHD administered nearly 19,000 vaccines doses, while other pharmacies – in the 10 counties it covers – doled out another 15,000.

In recent days though, LCDHD Executive Director Shawn D. Crabtree had begun to notice a disconcerting trend.

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"Blessed To Have Come Out Through This": Kentucky Restaurants Making a Slow But Steady Comeback

BY Chelsea Washington

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Since the beginning of this month, Kentucky restaurants have been allowed to offer in-person dining, up to 60% of capacity. This change has helped, but challenges remain for local restaurants.

The last time we spoke with restaurant owner John Varanese, the pandemic had just begun, and he was focused on curbside delivery of meals and groceries to stay afloat.

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Kentuckians 40 and Up Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine Starting March 29

BY Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Starting March 29, Kentuckians 40 and older will be able to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday.

“As of today, we’re right at 1.25 million Kentuckians who have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. That is more than 36% of our adult population, which is really exciting,” Beshear said. “This is the pace we want to keep up.”

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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)