Coronavirus Blog

SPECTRUM NEWS 1 CORONAVIRUS BLOG

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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Are You Experiencing Side Effects After Your COVID-19 Vaccine? Report Them to the CDC

BY Khyati Patel

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A new online tool to record COVID-19 vaccine side effects is gaining more attention. It's called V-Safe Health Checker, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging people to sign up to help improve vaccination safety.

With more Americans getting the vaccine, the CDC is stepping in to help continue with the research.

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Vaccine Doses at the Downs: Norton Healthcare Partners With Churchill Downs for COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic

BY Bryce Shreve

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The run for the roses may be over a month away, but Churchill Downs is inviting the community to the historic racetrack early for a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in partnership with Norton Healthcare.

Churchill Downs will host a Norton Healthcare Vaccine Clinic for Kentuckians who are eligible per state guidelines and as supply is available. In a press release, representatives said individuals up to Phase 1C can get appointments. Phase 1C includes all Kentuckians aged 50 and older, all CDC-defined essential workers, and people 19-49 with high-risk health conditions.

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One Red Cross Volunteer Changed Her Mind About the COVID-19 Vaccine. Here's Why

BY Evan Brooks

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Twelve-year Red Cross volunteer Laura Minnicks was at first skeptical about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, but one touching moment with a man who received his shot changed her mind.

“He started crying, and I asked him, 'are you OK? Whats wrong?'" said Minnicks. "Then he said, 'I am so thankful to get this vaccine. My wife and I have been held captive in our house since last March, and we haven't seen our children or our grandchildren, and we are just so thankful to be here.”

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Retired Physician Gives Back by Volunteering at a Lexington Vaccine Clinic

BY Crystal Sicard

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Lexington Fayette County Health Department has hundreds of volunteers that help run its weekly COVID-19 vaccination clinic, and as a volunteer and retired physician, Marc Dubick said giving back to his community has always been a passion.

For the past two months, Dubick has been volunteering at the health department with their weekly vaccination clinic, talking to people as they come in and comforting them through the process.

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"We Were Slammed": Oldham County Restaurant Thanks Community for Saving Business

BY Erin Kelly

PEWEE VALLEY, Ky. — After restaurants suffered major losses in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, staff at a family-owned Oldham County restaurant said the support of the community was key in keeping the business afloat.

Jucy’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Q in Pewee Valley is the kind of place where the brisket is smoked for 16 hours and the apple cobbler recipe is a well-guarded secret.

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When to Expect a COVID-19 Vaccine for Children

BY Adam K. Raymond
UPDATED 5:33 PM ET Mar. 24, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Three months into the U.S. vaccination effort against COVID-19, nearly 84 million Americans have received at least one dose. None of them are under 16.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three vaccines for emergency use, none for anyone younger than 16. Vaccines from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson may be administered to those as young as 18. Pfizer's vaccine is available for those as young as 16.

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Survey: 91% of Jefferson Co. Residents Would Choose To Get Vaccinated

BY Tiffany Y. Latta

LOUISVILLE, Ky — Most Jefferson County residents — 91% — would choose to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a survey conducted as part of the Co-Immunity Project, which includes ongoing research to better understand the impact of COVID-19 in the Louisville.

The survey was conducted in February when researchers asked adults living in Jefferson County their perceptions about the coronavirus vaccine to identify potential barriers and to better understand vaccine hesitancy.

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How COVID-19 Rocked Kentucky's Economy and What the Future Looks Like

BY Brandon Roberts

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The pandemic’s effect on the economy in Kentucky has been extreme. As COVID-19 cases climbed, postponements and cancellations continued. The Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the Triple Crown, was postponed until September, marking the first time in 75 years the race would not take place on the first Saturday in May. Even in September, it took place without spectators.

Overall, Kentucky has suffered an economic downturn not experienced since the Great Depression. Businesses that rely on crowds of people, such as food service, arts and entertainment, and hospitality, have been hit especially hard.

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Kentucky Once Again Breaks Weekly Vaccination Record

BY Haeli Spears

KENTUCKY — Kentucky has once again broken a weekly vaccination record, Gov. Andy Beshear announced on Tuesday. During the last reporting week, which began on March 16, 198,447 Kentuckians received a vaccine.

The previous weekly record was 165,217 new Kentuckians receiving a vaccine in the week beginning on March 9.

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Death of Texas Roadhouse Founder Highlights Long-Term COVID-19 Fight

BY Joe Ragusa

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — When Kent Taylor, the founder of Texas Roadhouse, died last week, his family said he was dealing with the long-term effects of COVID-19.

He was a long-hauler before he took his own life, someone who dealt with symptoms long after the initial diagnosis.

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Kentuckians 50 Years and Older Can Sign Up for COVID-19 Vaccine

BY Jonathon Gregg

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — More than 1 million Kentuckians are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, and Kentuckians aged 50 and older are now eligible for their shot.

In Louisville, Norton Healthcare is preparing to open another vaccine location in the city's Shawnee neighborhood, expanding availability in predominantly African American communities. Norton is partnering with the insurance company Humana to open the Shawnee location. It's expected to open next week.

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More Kentucky Schools Bringing Students Back Full Time, Ditching Hybrid Models

BY Amber Smith

OLDHAM COUNTY — Soon, middle and high school students in Oldham County will be back in-person five days a week. That's what elementary students in the district have been doing all year, but middle and high school students have been on a hybrid model, only coming certain days of the week and learning online the other days.

That change will happen on April 12, right after Oldham County Schools' spring break. Superintendent Greg Schultz said he thinks bringing students back full-time is the best way to serve them.

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Got Your COVID Shot? Krispy Kreme Will Give You a Doughnut

BY Spectrum News Staff
UPDATED 12:00 PM ET Mar. 22, 2021

Your COVID-19 vaccine is now worth a free doughnut at Krispy Kreme.

The doughnut shop announced Monday that they would provide a sweet incentive – a free Original Glazed doughnut – if you show your vaccine record card, "anytime, any day, every day for the rest of the year."

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Louisville VA Offering Vaccines To Veterans of Any Age

BY Haeli Spears

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Robley Rex VA Medical Center (VAMC) is now offering COVID-19 vaccines to enrolled veterans of any age.

According to a release, the VAMC is reaching out to enrolled veterans by telephone, letters, VETex, and secure messaging through My HealtheVet. Veterans can also call the COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center at 502-287-4426 and request an appointment.

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Norton Doctor Talks Safety of COVID-19 Vaccine for Multiple Sclerosis Patients

BY Michael Cadigan

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The National Multiple Sclerosis Society wrote that vaccination against COVID-19 is critical for public safety and, especially, the safety of the most vulnerable among us. The National MS Society and neurologists recommend MS patients receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We have no evidence that the vaccine will trigger a relapse, and we have no evidence at this time that this vaccine is in any way unsafe for those living with MS,” said Dr. Anna Bite, a neurologist with the Norton Neuroscience Institute.

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Daughters Hug Mom in Nursing Home for the First Time Since Pandemic Began: "I've Lived for This Day"

BY Eileen Street

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Just over a week ago, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services gave updated guidance that allows indoor visitation at nursing homes, except for a few circumstances. Following that guidance, Nazareth Home Nursing & Rehabilitation Center started allowing in-person visits in residents’ rooms for the first time since COVID-19 forced shutdowns more than a year ago.

Two visitors Saturday at Nazareth Home’s Highland location were Mary Finnegan and Ann Ingram. The two sisters came to visit their mother Marilyn Allen for the first time in her room.

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Curfew for Bars, Restaurants Relaxed as COVID Cases Drop

BY Evan Brooks and Associated Press
UPDATED 9:12 AM ET Mar. 20, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear has relaxed the curfew on bars and restaurants as the state’s rate of positive COVID-19 cases reached its lowest level since early July.

Starting Friday, the curfew is being extended by one hour, Beshear said.

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Sister Jean Gets the Vaccine and Seat at the NCAA Tournament

BY Associated Press

CHICAGO — The best COVID-19 vaccine shots in America just might be the two that went into Sister Jean’s arm.

The breakout star and model for the most coveted bobblehead of the 2018 NCAA Tournament is now eight months beyond her 101st birthday and still serving as chaplain for the Loyola of Chicago basketball team. It took two vaccinations and some serious wrangling, but Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt was back on the scene Friday in Indianapolis watching her beloved Ramblers in person, sporting brand-new, brick-red kicks but the same radiant smile — a fresh reminder for a pandemic-weary fan base that a little perseverance still goes a long way.

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Vaccine Hesitancy Causes Increased Appointment Availability in Lexington

BY Crystal Sicard

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Some health officials in Lexington are noticing that many Kentuckians are hesitant about getting the vaccine, often due to politics, creating an increase in available appointments in Fayette County.

“The previous president was vaccinated and the current president has been vaccinated. What more do you need to know, that both sides and both presidents of both parties are getting the shot, it shows that this is something that affects everyone,” Kevin Hall with the Lexington Fayette County Health Department said.

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Fischer: Over 43,000 First Doses Administered at Louisville Mass Vaccination Site

BY Erin Kelly

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Nearly three months after Louisville’s first mass vaccination site opened at Broadbent Arena, staff have administered more than 43,000 first doses and more than 22,000 booster shots, health leaders said.

Over 6,000 volunteers have contributed to the effort. Emily Grimany of Louisville was in her car awaiting her first dose Friday morning.

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JCPS Superintendent Wants In-Person, Outdoor Graduations for Seniors

BY Jonathon Gregg

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — On Friday, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) Superintendent Marty Pollio recommended in-person and outdoor gradations for high school seniors. The district board will take up his proposal at its next meeting this Tuesday.

“The graduating seniors of 2021, with our board approval, will be having in-person graduating ceremonies, will have the opportunity to walk across the stage, receieve their diploma, take that picture," Pollio told reporters. Last year, more than 6,000 JCPS seniors graduated during virtual ceremonies. Pollio believes a socially-distanced format will allow seniors to safely graduate in person.

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Norton Expands Visitor Policies as COVID-19 Numbers Improve

BY Haeli Spears

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Norton Healthcare announced updates to its visitor policies on Friday in response to improving COVID-19 numbers and vaccination efforts, and the supply of personal protective equipment. Now, most patients in isolation, including those in COVID-19 isolation, can have one visitor unless that patient is on "continuous aerosol therapy," like a ventilator.

“We know that patients and families have struggled with separation during this pandemic,” said Douglas Winkelhake, division president, hospital operations, Norton Healthcare. “Hopefully these new guidelines will help everyone, though we know there are still instances in which families may not be able to visit due to treatments that create a situation in which COVID-19 is more likely to be spread.”

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UofL Announces Outdoor, In-Person Commencement Ceremonies This Spring

BY Haeli Spears

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Louisville is joining the list of Kentucky universities that plan to resume in-person commencement ceremonies this spring. The university announced it will host the ceremonies in May with outdoor events at Cardinal Stadium for both 2021 and 2020 graduates.

“The thrill of walking across the stage at commencement is back,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi. “We are working hard to provide a safe, meaningful commencement experience for those graduating this spring as well as all those 2020 graduates whose commencement ceremonies were cancelled due to COVID-19.”

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Beshear: All Kentuckians 50 and Older Eligible for COVID Vaccine Starting Monday

BY Bryce Shreve and Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky is accelerating the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations next week by expanding statewide eligibility to every adult age 50 and older, Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday.

The vaccination pace will reach new heights in coming weeks, with Beshear making a commitment to open up vaccine eligibility to every Kentuckian age 16 and older by April 12.

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University of Kentucky Expands COVID Vaccine Eligibility to Anyone 16 and Older

BY Haeli Spears
UPDATED 4:13 PM ET Mar. 18, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The University of Kentucky is urging residents from across the state to request a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at UK's Kroger Field site, regardless of the phase they fall into.

The requests, which can be made online, are then sorted, and invitations to schedule an appointment are sent according to state guidelines.

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Louisville Businesses Can Now Register Employees for COVID-19 Vaccine

BY Haeli Spears

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Registering essential workers in Louisville for their COVID-19 vaccine just got a bit easier. City businesses can now register their employees for the shot at the LouVax mass vaccination site operating at Broadbent Arena. The site is run by the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness (LMDPHW).

Employers, business owners, human resource reps, lead supervisors, and managers can submit a roster of team members through the health department's Essential Workers Company Signup Form. A member of LMPHW's LouVax team will reach out to businesses for additional information and scheduling once their form is received.

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Things Are Picking Back up for Highland Morning Following Pandemic Struggle

BY Amber Smith
UPDATED 12:22 PM ET Mar. 18, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -We've seen a lot of restaurants across the Commonwealth closing either temporarily or for good during the pandemic. The Highland Morning location in St. Matthews was one of them.

Spectrum News 1 talked with owner Michael Coe in early December, the day he made the tough decision to put the "we're closed" sign up.

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"I Got The Shot" Campaign Encourages Black Kentuckians To Get Vaccinated

BY Haeli Spears

KENTUCKY — A new public service campaign hopes to encourage Black Kentuckians to get vaccinated. The campaign, titled "I Got The Shot to Protect the Ones I Love," features Black Kentuckians who address and respond to potential concerns emanating from racism in the health care system.

"Black Kentuckians who are hesitant about getting a COVID-19 vaccine often have the same questions as their white counterparts," said a release. "But many have additional concerns that may emanate from their experiences with racism in the health care system and a history in America of unethical medical experiments on Black populations."

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Test Before and After You Travel: Word of Caution for Spring Breakers

BY Jonathon Gregg

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — At Muhammad Ali International Airport, America is on the move. Air travel is increasing at a steady pace as the traditional spring break season approaches.

“Our capacity is up 63% from the same time last year," Natalie Chaudoin told Spectrum News 1. Air travel at the Louisville-based airport is also up 45% from just last month.

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Neighbors Helping Neighbors. Team Kentucky Funds Help Those Impacted by the Pandemic

BY Khyati Patel

HARRISON COUNTY, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear launched the Team Kentucky COVID-19 Memorial Fund this week. This time, it honors the more than 5,000 Kentuckians lost to the virus.

In March 2020, Beshear launched the initiative to help Kentuckians facing evictions or needing food. The pandemic has impacted each and every Kentuckian in one way or another.

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First Day Back for JCPS Students Also First Day for Rookie First Grade Teacher

BY Brennon Gurley

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County Public Schools welcomed its youngest students back to campus on Wednesday. For at least one teacher, it was also his first time delivering instruction in-person.

"I’m glad to be back, I’m ready for it," explained Scott DeHart, first grade teacher at Semple Elementary.

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Louisville VA Celebrates 10,000 Veterans Vaccinated Against COVID-19

BY Bryce Shreve

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Army veteran Daniel Hampton was vaccinated at the Shively Community Based Outpatient Clinic on Wednesday, marking a milestone of the 10,000th COVID-19 vaccine dose administered by the Robley Rex VA in Louisville.

The VA has been vaccinating veterans since early January, but started only administering shots to those with the highest risk. Early vaccinations were given by appointment only at drive-thru sites.

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Racial Inequities Persist in Kentucky's Vaccine Rollout

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, KY. — On Feb. 8, when Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear released the first statewide breakdown of COVID-19 vaccinations by race, it showed Black Kentuckians had received just 4.3% of total vaccines.

“That’s not acceptable,” Beshear said at the time. “It needs to be closer at least to 8%, which is the makeup of the population.” According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Kentucky is 8.5% Black.

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JCPS Teachers Ready To Welcome Students After One Year Away

BY David Guildford

LOUISVILLE, Ky — On Tuesday morning, classrooms inside Semple Elementary School remained dark for one final day.

Their desks were neatly spaced and numbered, with supplies meticulously stored inside each one. Fresh decorations gleamed in what sunlight was allowed to filter into the rooms that had barely been touched in more than a year.

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Bars Plan Scaled Back St. Patrick's Day Celebrations

BY Jonathon Gregg

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Imagine it’s your first time buying a bar and it's located in the busiest bar district in town. You’re taking over a great space and the sky's the limit. Next, imagine 13 days after your closing you literally have to close the business.



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Dollar General Stores Could Aid in Administering Vaccines

BY Brandon Roberts

LEXINGTON, Ky. – A potential partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and retailer Dollar General could boost delivering COVID-19 vaccinations to rural residents. According to the company’s website, around 75% of all Americans live within 5 miles of a Dollar General store, and 75% of its stores serve rural areas and communities with fewer than 20,000 people.

Dollar General, one of the nation’s largest retailers, operates more than 17,000 stores in 46 states and 6,870 cities -- almost twice the number of the next largest private retailer working on vaccine rollout -- and has a significant presence in Kentucky with nearly 600 stores and a distribution center in Bowling Green.

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Fund Established To Raise Money for a Permanent Memorial for Kentucky's COVID-19 Victims

BY Deborah Harbsmeier

FRANKFORT, Ky. — More than 5,000 Kentuckians have died because of COVID-19. To honor those lost to the pandemic, Gov. Andy Beshear launched the Team Kentucky COVID-19 Memorial Fund. The money raised will be used to erect a permanent memorial on the Capitol grounds.

Beshear announced plans for the memorial during a ceremony on Saturday, March 6, the first anniversary of Kentucky's first confirmed coronavirus case. He said, "This memorial is an opportunity for willing Kentuckians to help honor the memory of those who died because of this virus as well as honor the sacrifices made by all Kentuckians during this terrible pandemic.” Beshear added, “This memorial will also remind future generations of the hardships that the entire commonwealth endured during this difficult time and the sacrifices we all made to overcome it.”

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Hundreds Of Louisville Homeless Receive Vaccine

BY Jonathon Gregg

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It’s a milestone in vaccinating against the coronavirus. Beginning Monday members of Louisville’s homeless community began receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

“Here we go...And we’re done!” A nurse is overheard as she vaccinates a middle-aged man. Wayside Christian Mission is a savior to hundreds if not thousands of homeless individuals throughout any given year but during the pandemic, the resources offered have truly been lifesaving.

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Inmate Letters Detail COVID-19 Conditions, As People Push For Their Release

BY Ashleigh Mills

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In handwritten letters, from behind bars, inmates detail what they claim to be poor COVID-19 conditions in state prisons.

The letters were sent to the grassroots prison abolition group, 'Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons,' of which Robin Kunkel is involved. She sent surveys to people in state facilities.

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Kentucky Hits Nine Straight Weeks of Declining COVID-19 Cases

BY Bryce Shreve

FRANKFORT, Ky. — With Sunday's COVID-19 report from Gov. Andy Beshear, Kentucky has now reached nine weeks straight of declining COVID-19 cases, a promising milestone in the state's fight against the pandemic.

Beshear announced 445 new cases and 16 new deaths on Sunday. The Commonwealth's seven-day rolling positivity also remained below 4%.

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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)