Coronavirus Blog

SPECTRUM NEWS 1 CORONAVIRUS BLOG

Dayton is offering free bus rides for residents to get their COVID-19 vaccine

BY Sam Knef

DAYTON, Ky.-- One local government in Northern Kentucky is trying to make it easier for people to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

The city of Dayton had success with its own COVID-19 vaccine clinic earlier this year, but that clinic is no longer in Dayton, so recently, city officials like City Administrator Jake Fossett have been talking to the Northern Kentucky Health district about coming back.

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School mental health experts report spike in anxiety, suicidal thoughts since start of pandemic

BY Erin Kelly

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Mental health professionals have seen a spike in anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts among Kentucky students since the start of the pandemic, according to testimony before a joint committee of lawmakers Tuesday.

“The number of suicide threats in my own school has skyrocketed since COVID," said Amy Riley, a school counselor at Mercer County Intermediate School. "There were weeks this past spring, shortly after returning from virtual learning, that we would assess two to three students a day for viable suicidal threats ... Just this morning, I had to do a suicide risk assessment on a 9 year old in my school before I came to this hearing today."

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Essential workers say bonus would show appreciation for their sacrifice

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday unveiled a plan to use $400 million in federal funding to reward essential workers who have remained in the field throughout the pandemic.

“From health care heroes to first responders to grocery store workers and educators, the bravery and dedication of these essential workers has remained strong,” he said.

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JCPS Board to consider test-to-stay, $200 incentives for vaccinated employees

BY Amber Smith

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A growing number of Kentucky school districts are switching to test-to-stay policies. Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) could be the next to implement that new quarantine policy.

At Tuesday's meeting, JCPS superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said he will recommend the board approve a new test-to-stay policy in the district. Under that plan, students who were in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 would not have to quarantine if they are not displaying symptoms and they continue to test negative for COVID-19.

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Report shows nearly a third of inmates released in pandemic later charged with felony

BY Erin Kelly

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A new report shows nearly a third of Kentucky inmates who were released by order of the governor due to the pandemic have been charged with a felony since getting out of prison.

With COVID-19 spreading quickly through Kentucky’s prisons last year, Gov. Andy Beshear ordered the release of more than 1,700 inmates.

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'Definitely want to make sure that you're protected.' UofL Health, local church partner to offer vaccines, boosters

BY Khyati Patel

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Health officials brought COVID-19 vaccines to Kentuckians. The University of Louisville Health and St. Stephen Church partnered to offer more doses.

"I wanted to make sure that I have a fresh start, and with going in someplace new. You definitely want to make sure that you're protected," said Stallydia Mucker, who received a COVID-19 booster shot.

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Kentucky’s COVID-19 positivity rate drops into single digits for first time in months

BY Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s COVID-19 test positivity rate dropped into single digits for the first time in nearly two months Friday, but the virus continues to exact a heavy toll on the state.

Gov. Andy Beshear reported 4,118 new coronavirus cases and 34 more virus-related deaths, pushing the statewide virus death toll past 8,800. The newest reported deaths included two Kentuckians as young as 36, the governor said. Younger people have been hit hard by the fast-spreading delta variant.

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WCPS launching 'Test-to-Stay' program to keep kids in school

BY Crystal Sicard

VERSAILIES, Ky. — Schools are working to find safer ways to keep students in the classroom. That's why Woodford County is initiating a Test-To-Stay program.

One of Woodford County Public Schools' biggest priorities, along with safety, has been keeping classes in-person, and one way the district believes will help is a test-to-stay program.

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Officials optimistic for October as COVID-related hospitalizations trend down

BY Bryce Shreve and Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Coronavirus-related hospitalizations in Kentucky have dropped in recent days, leaving state officials hopeful the new month will be much better than September, when the delta variant ravaged the Commonwealth.

Statewide hospitalizations and patients in intensive care units due to COVID-19 decreased in the past seven days based on a “rolling average,” Gov. Andy Beshear said.

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CDC study: Side effects from 3rd booster dose similar to those from 2nd dose

BY Spectrum News Staff

People who received a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine experienced side effects after the shot at similar rates to those who received two doses, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a promising sign about vaccine safety as booster doses roll out nationwide for millions of Americans.

"The frequency and type of side effects were similar to those seen after the second vaccine doses and were mostly mild or moderate and short-lived," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing on Tuesday.

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How the end of federal unemployment benefits has effected hiring in Kentucky

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Glaser’s Collision Centers struggled all summer to fill a handful of jobs in its four local auto body shops.

Sales and Marketing Manager Liz DeHart believed the federal government’s pandemic unemployment benefits, which provided unemployed workers an additional $300 a week, was a big part of the problem. “People didn't want to come off of the unemployment benefits and extra money they were making,” she told Spectrum News 1 this week.

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Federal judge upholds St. Elizabeth Healthcare's vaccine mandate

BY Bryce Shreve and Sam Knef
UPDATED 9:52 AM ET Sep. 28, 2021

EDGEWOOD, Ky. — A federal judge ruled in favor of St. Elizabeth Healthcare on Friday, saying that the northern Kentucky hospital system is allowed to require the COVID-19 vaccine for its over 10,000 employees.

St. Elizabeth employees are required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1, unless they get a medical or religious exemption approved.

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FCPS board members approve new vaccine incentive program

BY Crystal Sicard

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) board met Monday evening to discuss vaccine incentives for vaccinated FCPS employees and solutions for the bus driver shortage.

The school board and community members discussed different issues within the district. One of the items up for discussion was a new vaccine incentive for employees.

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'A kind, thoughtful young man:' Fayette County schools mourn loss of 1st student to COVID

BY Crystal Sicard
UPDATED 4:45 PM ET Sep. 24, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) announced its first student to die of COVID-19 Thursday. Christopher "CJ" Gordon Jr., a 15-year-old sophomore at The Learning Center, died Thursday morning.

“We were heartbroken to learn that [CJ] died this morning,” FCPS superintendent Demetrus Liggins said. “He was a kind, thoughtful young man with a bright future ahead of him, and we join his family in mourning his tragic death.”

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Louisville Zoo begins administering COVID vaccine for animals



LOUISVILLE, Ky. — While it isn't Pfizer or Moderna, some animals at the Louisville Zoo have now received their version of a COVID-19 vaccine. The Zoo announced it received doses of a “uniquely formulated” vaccine developed for animal species from animal health care company Zoetis. The doses are going to species that have shown to be most susceptible to the virus, the Zoo said.

The Zoo said it will administer the vaccine to 29 apes and cats over the coming weeks. The process will be similar to administering the annual flu shots that apes already receive.

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Customs seizes thousands of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards in Northern Kentucky

BY Sam Knef

ERLANGER, Ky. — Federal officers in Northern Kentucky seized thousands of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.

With the amount of cargo that’s constantly flying in and out of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is always on the lookout for items that aren’t supposed to be there.

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Few health care workers have left Kentucky hospitals over vaccine mandate

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Hospitals that require employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine have not seen a significant number of worker departures, Kentucky Hospital Association president Nancy Galvagni told lawmakers Wednesday.

“In talking with our members, they report the overwhelming majority of staff are receiving the vaccine,” she said. “And there has been no operational impact from adding this requirement.”

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National Guard support expanding to more Kentucky hospitals, Beshear says

BY Bryce Shreve

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear said he's now deployed over 500 Kentucky National Guard members to 29 hospitals throughout the state as Kentucky grapples with the highest COVID-19 hospitalization rate per capita in the nation.

Beshear said 505 Guard members have been deployed so far, expanding the Guard’s presence by 94 members and to four more hospitals this week.

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Open letter sent to University of Kentucky requests vaccine mandate on campus

BY Crystal Sicard

LEXINGTON, Ky. — An open letter in Lexington has collected more than 2,000 signatures asking the University of Kentucky administration to consider creating a vaccine mandate on campus.

This month, Jerry Woodward, a professor at UK, along with other faculty members, presented an open letter to the president of the university, asking for the school to require everyone who attends or works at the school to be fully vaccinated.

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Kentucky leads the nation in most COVID-19 hospitalizations

BY Khyati Patel

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky leads the nation in the most hospitalizations per 100,000 population according to data from the COVID-19 Forecast Hub website.

Researchers predict that if the current rate of hospitalizations continues, in the next two weeks hospitalizations could jump up by more than 11%.

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COVID patient's son throws pizza party for entire ICU unit

BY Ashley N. Brown

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Some people know exactly what they will eat or what they will do on their lunch break before they even finish with breakfast.

For nurses responding to the second wave of COVID-19, breaks can seem more of a luxury.

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How Kentucky's colleges are handling COVID-19

BY Adam K. Raymond
UPDATED 11:27 AM ET Sep. 22, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — One month into the fall semester, Kentucky’s major public universities have avoided large outbreaks of COVID-19 and helped their campuses reach vaccination rates that far exceed the rest of the state. But some critics think there’s still more to do to keep students, staff, faculty and their families safe.

Data reported on public dashboards shows that the University of Louisville has conducted 3,155 COVID-19 tests since mid-August and has seen a 4.7% positivity rate. The University of Kentucky has conducted nearly three times as many tests — 11,604 — and has seen a 2.7% positivity rate. Both of those are far lower than the state’s 12% positivity rate.

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HHS secretary urges Kentuckians to get vaccine

BY Erin Kelly

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Saying Kentucky hospitals have been “pushed to the brink,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra called on Kentuckians to get vaccinated Tuesday.

"Kentuckians can help us save lives," he said. "Kentuckians can help end this pandemic. What we have to do isn’t rocket science: get vaccinated, take steps like mask wearing indoors and encourage family and friends to do the same."

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JCPS: 10% of students tested weekly for COVID-19

BY Jonathon Gregg

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Ten percent of Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) students are being tested weekly for the coronavirus.

For Jefferson County Public Schools, the fight against the coronavirus includes weekly testing of students. These tests are voluntary and require parent or guardian approval.

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Vax FAQ: Updates on vaccines for kids, booster shots and other developments

BY Charles Duncan

As state leaders continue to push to get more people vaccinated, there’s still a lot of confusion for those who have already gotten the shots and for parents of young children who can’t get vaccinated.

News on the coronavirus vaccines has been moving quickly. Federal regulators have been debating when people should get booster shots. New data recently showed the Pfizer vaccine to be safe and effective in children as young as 5.

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'They’re just coming to work fighting back tears,' doctor says amidst hospital staffing shortages

BY Amber Smith

FRANKFORT, Ky. — With the latest surge of COVID-19, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said more than two-thirds of hospitals in Kentucky are reporting critical staffing shortages.

State Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, told Spectrum News 1 last week that Beshear could call a special session soon to address staff shortages at Kentucky hospitals and nursing homes. Republican lawmakers are urging Beshear to spend up to $150 million on hospitals and nursing homes to help with COVID-19.

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Pfizer vaccine closer to emergency use for young kids

BY Jonathon Gregg

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Pfizer announced its vaccine is safe for young children and that they plan to seek emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Kentucky medical professionals are reacting positively to Pfizer's announcement.

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Here is what's happening this week in Kentucky

BY Amber Smith

KENTUCKY — This week marks the start of changes to disciplinary measures for not following COVID-19 protocols at the University of Kentucky, lane closures in Lexington and a music festival returns after a year off. That's a look at some of the things happening this week in Kentucky.

Monday marks the start of new disciplinary measures for students, staff and faculty at the University of Kentucky who do not follow COVID-19 safety measures. Unvaccinated students and staff are required to get tested for COVID-19 weekly.

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Bridging the vax gap: Church helping Hispanic community get vaccinated with bilingual translator

BY Diamond Palmer

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Centro de San Juan Diego in Lexington held a vaccination clinic helping members of the Hispanic community get their shots of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Catholic diocese offered support, privacy and efficiency during their Sunday clinic.

Centro has been serving the needs of the Hispanic community in Lexington since November 2020, but founders Dot, Jim Bennett have dedicated 22 years to working in Hispanic ministry in the Catholic Diocese of Lexington. Centro is located in the Cardinal Valley neighborhood, which is home to 10,000 Hispanic immigrants.

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Lawmakers could be called back to Frankfort to address health care worker shortage

BY Bryce Shreve

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky lawmakers could be called for another special session soon. This time, it would be aimed at quelling the state's health care worker shortage.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer (R-Grant) said this weekend that Gov. Andy Beshear (D) could call lawmakers back to Frankfort soon to address staff shortages at nursing homes and hospitals. The session would be limited in scope, likely lasting just one day.

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Amid surging COVID-19 cases, five Kentucky school districts make masks optional

BY Brennon Gurley

MERCER COUNTY, Ky. — After the statewide mask mandate for Kentucky schools expired Friday, individual school districts were left with the decision on how to proceed.

As schools across the Commonwealth are working to navigate the pandemic, a Mercer County parent expressed support for the optional mask requirement.

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96% of Kentucky school districts continuing mask requirements

BY Bryce Shreve and Associated Press
UPDATED 9:44 AM ET Sep. 17, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. — School boards in 96% of Kentucky’s school districts have extended mask requirements as Senate Bill 1, which eliminates the statewide mask mandate in public schools, takes effect.

As of Friday morning, at least 165 of the state’s 171 public school districts had opted to continue requiring masks in schools, according to the Kentucky School Boards Association.

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Baptist Health Richmond opens two COVID-19 overflow wings as cases soar

BY Khyati Patel

RICHMOND, Ky. — Hospitals across the state are feeling the strain of the coronavirus with resources depleting quickly.

Baptist Health Richmond in Madison County is among the many hospitals managing as COVID-19 cases soar, shifting medical units into more COVID-19 and intensive care units.

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Gov. Beshear slams school leaders implementing optional mask policies

BY Bryce Shreve and Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday didn't mince words he had for local school leaders who refuse to extend mask requirements, accusing them of endangering children at a time the coronavirus is raging.

While more than 80% of Kentucky school districts have decided to continue requiring mask in schools, at least two school systems chose to make facial coverings optional in schools.

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Kentucky School for the Deaf provides clear masks for students

BY Erin Kelly

DANVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD) has been working to ensure COVID-19 doesn’t change how students communicate, by providing clear masks.

Principal Toyah Robey said students returned to campus in August, after a year of adjusting to the pandemic.

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Kentucky school district mourns the loss of 'beloved' faculty member due to COVID



HORSE CAVE, Ky. — The Caverna Independent School District, located in south-central Kentucky, is mourning the loss of a "beloved" faculty member. Caverna High School announced on Facebook Wednesday that Amanda Nutt died as a result of COVID-19 complications.

"We have spoken with Ms. Nutt's family and have passed along the love and support from all the staff and students in our school's district," the school wrote.

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Doctors fear monoclonal antibody shortages could lead to more dire outcomes

BY Amber Smith

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear announced a national shortage of a COVID-19 treatment will have an impact on availability in Kentucky.

Gov. Andy Beshear said the federal government announced a change in the way monoclonal antibody treatments will be distributed to states due to supply shortages amid growing demand across the country. Health care providers will not be able to order the treatments directly anymore. Now, state governments will receive a capped number of treatments each week. Beshear said state officials will do their best to allocate the treatments fairly to the 139 providers across the state currently using monoclonal antibodies.

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Warren Co. Public Schools implements new quarantine policy

BY Evan Brooks

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) is implementing new quarantine guidelines for students as it looks to keep kids in the classroom as much as possible.

With many ups and downs last school year, the goal this year for WCPS is simply to keep kids in school.

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JCPS will require COVID vaccination or regular testing for employees

BY Amber Smith

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ky. — Regular COVID-19 testing will soon be required for unvaccinated employees in Kentucky's largest school district.

Tuesday night, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) board members approved a plan that will require employees to either be vaccinated or get tested weekly for COVID-19 as a condition for employment. There is leeway on the weekly testing in the situation that an employee is sick, out of town or cannot come in for testing for other reasons that week.

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Baptist Health Hospital receiving help from National Guard, AmeriCorps members

BY Evan Brooks

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. — Baptist Health Hardin is getting a little help from the National Guard and AmeriCorps as the hospital continues to fight the COVID-19 virus.

The overall 24 members will be helping out for the next two weeks with tasks suck as sanitation and foodservice. Assistant Vice President of Operations Steve White said the relief helps everyone involved.

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Unemployment not likely for unvaccinated who quit

BY Joe Ragusa

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — If people are still on the fence about the COVID-19 vaccine, time’s running out.

President Joe Biden plans to mandate vaccines for companies with more than 100 people. People who choose not to get vaccinated will have to test weekly or lose their job.

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Lexington elementary school temporarily moves to remote learning due to COVID-19



LEXINGTON, Ky. — Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) Superintendent Demetrus Liggins made a "preemptive" decision to shift all students at Dixie Magnet Elementary to remote learning for the rest of this week, district spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said in an email to Spectrum News 1. Liggins made the decision "to curb any possible spread of COVID-19," she added.

Several Dixie students and teachers developed symptoms and tested positive for COVID on Sept. 14 at school, Deffendall said. Multiple students in other grade levels tested positive last week, and 130 students were placed in quarantine in the past two weeks. Deffendall said other factors include the open concept construction of Dixie's building and the "large numbers" of siblings affected.

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Fayette County schools to continue requiring masks

BY Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Fayette County Public Schools board of education members voted Monday to keep the district's mask mandate in place. The vote came after the Republican-controlled legislature passed a bill last week removing the statewide mask mandate in schools.

The vote means students and staff must wear masks indoors and on buses regardless of their vaccination status.

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KSBA: Nearly 50% of Kentucky school districts still requiring masks

BY Bryce Shreve
UPDATED 10:50 AM ET Sep. 14, 2021

KENTUCKY — After Republicans in Frankfort voted to ban statewide mask mandates in a COVID-19 special legislative session, the status of mask wearing in schools was anything but certain. Now, days after the law passed, nearly 50% of Kentucky's 171 school districts have signaled they'll continue requiring masks, according to the Kentucky School Boards Association (KSBA).

The KSBA shared their findings via Twitter Tuesday morning. The account has been diligently sharing each and every mask announcement from Kentucky school boards.

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Kentucky doctor seeing more unvaccinated teachers hospitalized with COVID

BY Amber Smith

LEXINGTON, Ky. — An infectious disease doctor in Lexington said he is seeing more unvaccinated teachers and school staff in the hospital with COVID-19.

Dr. Mark Dougherty, an epidemiologist for Baptist Health Lexington, said the patterns around COVID-19 infections among school staff are changing. In the past, he said it was more common to find educators were infected during unmasked times around coworkers, such as at lunch. Now, Dougherty said it seems more students are getting infected, spreading the coronavirus to their teachers, bus drivers, etc.

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Meet the Kentucky teens recognized for vaccine advocacy

BY Erin Kelly

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After earning international recognition for their efforts to connect seniors with the COVID-19 vaccine, two Kentucky teens are encouraging their peers to get the shot.

In January, Spectrum News 1 shared the story of high schoolers Amelie Beck and Jacqueline Teague, who had recently launched an effort called "VaxConnectKY" to help seniors make COVID-19 vaccine appointments.

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300+ additional Kentucky National Guard members supporting strained hospitals beginning Monday

BY Bryce Shreve
UPDATED 10:33 AM ET Sep. 13, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. — More teams from the Kentucky National Guard are spreading through the commonwealth over the next week to support strained hospitals, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday during a weekly Team Kentucky update.

Assisting with nonclinical functions to allow hospital staff to focus on patient care, 310 additional Guard members will support 21 hospitals around the commonwealth, beginning Sept. 13.

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For one Kentucky family, masking in schools hits home

BY Erin Wilson

LAGRANGE, Ky. — Last week, Kentucky lawmakers voted to end the statewide mask mandate in public schools, leaving the decision up to local school boards.

For the Boucher family, going to school wasn't an option for their youngest of two, Wyatt.

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JCPS superintendent airs concerns about new pandemic education law

BY Joe Ragusa

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County Public Schools will keep its mask mandate following the passage of a new law allowing districts to decide their own policy.

JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio said there are some helpful aspects to the new education bill passed by lawmakers Thursday, like more flexibility to fill job openings with retired teachers.

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Beshear slams Republican lawmakers as Kentucky tops 8,000 COVID-19 deaths, 2,500 hospitalized

BY Bryce Shreve and Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. — After Republicans in the General Assembly voted to ban statewide school mask mandates late Thursday evening, Kentucky reported its fifth highest number of new cases in one day and surpassed 8,000 COVID-19 deaths, according to state data.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced 5,197 new cases of COVID-19 and 32 new deaths in Friday's report – that brings the death toll of COVID-19 in Kentucky to 8,003. Over 620,000 cases have been confirmed as of Friday.

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Kentucky Performing Arts to require vaccination or negative COVID test for guests



LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky Performing Arts announced Friday it is requiring guests who attend indoor performances at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, the Brown Theatre and Old Forester's Paristown Hall to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.

"With the rise of COVID-19 cases and the increasing threat of the delta variant, we are putting these protocols in place to create the safest possible environment,” said President and CEO Kim Baker. “This is a necessary step for Kentucky Performing Arts to continue to deliver upon its mission of building lifelong relationships with the arts and remain an economic driver for our city and state.”

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Kentucky lawmakers scrap statewide mask mandate in schools

BY Joe Ragusa and Associated Press
UPDATED 6:09 AM ET Sep. 10, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky lawmakers, many not wearing masks, voted Thursday to scrap a statewide mask mandate in public schools and shifted masking decisions to local school boards, acting in a special session as the state’s worst COVID-19 surge threatens to overwhelm hospitals.

The GOP-dominated legislature set education policies in response to disruptions caused by the virus, which has forced dozens of school districts to close classrooms. The masking provisions sparked emotional debate on the third and final day of the special session called by the Democratic governor to address the pandemic.

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Lexington-based SphereDX lab partners with biotech firm to offer COVID-19 monitoring tool

BY Brandon Roberts

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Richmond, Virginia-based biotech company Aditxt Inc. has partnered with Lexington-based clinical diagnostic lab SphereDX to offer an advanced COVID-19 monitoring tool called AditxtScore for COVID-19.

The AditxtScore for COVID-19 is a blood test that acts as a comprehensive immune response monitoring tool that tracks multiple combinations of antibodies and neutralizing antibody responses against several different antigens, according to Aditxt’s website. The test makes it possible to assess the strength of an individual’s immune response to COVID-19. Under the agreement, SphereDX will make the AditxtScore for COVID-19 available throughout its laboratory locations serving Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana.

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Louisville tourism bounces back from 2020, but still falls short of pre-pandemic levels

BY Amber Smith

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — While tourism in Louisville is bouncing back from the 2020 hit, it's still nowhere near pre-pandemic levels.

Hotel occupancy in the city is projected to be down 25% from 2019, the transient room tax is expected to be down 60% from pre-pandemic levels and the number of people employed in the hospitality and leisure industry is down 11% compared to numbers before the pandemic.

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Some lawmakers push vaccine misinformation during Kentucky special session

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Lawmakers in the Kentucky House and Senate made false and misleading claims about the vaccines against COVID-19 in the first two days of the special session called to address emergency regulations related to the pandemic.

The claims, made by Republican lawmakers, drew pushback from their fellow Republicans and, at one point, left Kentucky Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack baffled.

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COVID cases are roughly 6 times higher now than Labor Day 2020

BY Amber Smith

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — COVID-19 numbers following the holiday weekend show the pandemic in Kentucky is worse than it has ever been.

Spectrum News 1 has been tracking the rolling 7-day average of new COVID-19 cases in the state since March of last year. The numbers used to track this information throughout the pandemic comes from Gov. Andy Beshear's office. On Sept. 5, 2020, which is the closest count to Labor Day 2020, the rolling 7-day average of new cases was 10.97. The latest seven-day rolling average of new cases was 64.77, reported on Aug. 28, 2021. That means the state has roughly six times more COVID-19 cases now than Labor Day last year.

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Rally on State Capitol steps against COVID-19 mask mandates

BY Jonathon Gregg

FRANKFORT, Ky. — As state lawmakers were called inside the Capitol for a special session Tuesday, a crowd gathered outside on the Capitol steps.

Approximately 100 people rallied strongly opposed to any sort of mask or vaccine mandate. The protest was led by Andrew Cooperrider who is running in the Republican primary for Senate District 12 District 12, which is made up of part of Fayette County, is currently represented by Alice Forgy Kerr (R)

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NULU Fest joins the list of canceled events in 2021



LOUISVILLE, Ky. — NULU Fest is canceled for 2021, organizers announced Tuesday. The street festival plans to return in September of 2022, however.

The event, which takes place in the 600, 700 and 800 blocks of East Market Street in downtown Louisville, typically features a children's activity area, booths, local food vendors and more.

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Gov. Beshear calls special legislative session to address COVID-19 surge

BY Bryce Shreve
UPDATED 5:04 PM ET Sep. 04, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. — It's now official: state lawmakers will return to Frankfort on Tuesday to address the continued surge of COVID-19 in Kentucky. Gov. Andy Beshear called the special session in an announcement Saturday afternoon.

The special session will begin in Frankfort at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021.

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JCPS using text messaging to alert families of positive COVID-19 results

BY Brennon Gurley

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ky. — Temporary closures and pivots to NTI are impacting many Kentucky schools, but the largest district in the Commonwealth is looking to avoid that.

As more COVID-19 cases are popping up in students and staff, JCPS is launching a new technological approach to notify parents of positive cases.

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'Completely outraged' UofL faculty push for COVID-19 vaccine mandate

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — More than 1,000 universities across the country, including several in Kentucky, require a COVID-19 vaccination for students or staff. Despite the efforts of an increasingly vocal group of faculty members, the University of Louisville is not one of them.

“It's really frustrating to know that half of my household is too young to be vaccinated and I'm in a room every day with 25 students and I don't know if they are vaccinated,” said Lauren Freeman, an Associate Professor of Philosophy. “They are wearing masks, but it's really scary.”

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New Kentucky bill would include COVID-19 for line of duty death benefits

BY Erin Kelly

BULLITT COUNTY, Ky. — After firefighters in Bullitt County lost two of their own to COVID-19, their families were not eligible to get line-of-duty death benefits, said Chief Kevin Moulton with the Zoneton Fire Protection District.

A Kentucky lawmaker has filed a bill that could change that for first responders.

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At least 28 Kentucky school districts have paused in-person learning

BY Amber Smith

TAYLORSVILLE, Ky. — Students will not be in Spencer County Schools Thursday after the district announced a temporary closure as COVID-19 cases rise in the district. It's a problem many Kentucky schools are facing, leading to a rapidly growing list of school districts that have paused in-person instruction so far this school year.

The Kentucky School Boards Association said at least 28 school districts have closed temporarily so far this school year. That makes up over 16% of Kentucky's 171 school districts. Five school districts were the latest to join this rapidly growing list.

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UofL Hospital ICU nurses open up about dealing with surge of COVID-19

BY Erin Wilson

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky recently reached a record-high COVID-19 positivity rate of 13.66%. The CDC has said that anything over 10% could mean unmitigated spread of the virus, which puts many hospitals at or over capacity. That's the case in many areas of Kentucky.

ICU nurses are dealing with more patients than ever before. Gov. Andy Beshear and the Kentucky Department of Public Health reported over 4,900 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, plus more than 600 Kentuckians in the ICU.

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All signs in Frankfort point to a special session on COVID-19

BY Joe Ragusa

FRANKFORT, Ky. — It’s not really a question of if Kentucky lawmakers will hold a COVID-19 special session in Frankfort, but when.

The Kentucky Supreme Court effectively ruled that Gov. Andy Beshear’s emergency power is limited following new laws passed by the legislature this year, so now lawmakers are discussing their next steps with COVID-19.

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Hospital workers who don't want COVID-19 vaccination file lawsuits against St. Elizabeth, other area hospitals

BY Sam Knef

FLORENCE, Ky. — Some health care workers in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati are suing the hospitals they work for, hoping to reverse the requirements they be vaccinated for COVID-19.

Separate lawsuits against the six Cincinnati area hospital systems argue that requiring hospital workers to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 is illegal.

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Here are Cardinal Stadium's indoor masking rules ahead of the UofL Football season opener

BY Bryce Shreve

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — With the continued spread of COVID-19 across Kentucky in mind, the University of Louisville has updated its safety protocols and procedures ahead of the 2021 football season at Cardinal Stadium.

Fans attending any of the UofL home games, which kick off Saturday, Sept. 11 against Eastern Kentucky, will have to abide by the latest policies, which include indoor masking in most settings.

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Navigating college coursework during the pandemic presents new challenge for many students

BY Khyati Patel

RICHMOND, Ky. — Students are back on college campuses across the Commonwealth. But with varying COVID-19 policies and quarantines, it’s a constant juggle to stay on top of their courses.

According to a study by the U.S. Department of Education, nearly all postsecondary students have experienced some challenges to their mental health and well-being during the pandemic.

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As COVID-19 swamps hospitals, Ky. man's cancer surgery 'indefinitely delayed'

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Gary Borland, a 72-year-old Nelson County man, was scheduled for surgery at UofL Health to treat stage four colon cancer when his wife, Jo Yates, received a call last week.

“We were told it would be rescheduled, but they didn’t have a date because there’s no way of predicting when the hospitals will have capacity,” Yates said.

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Warren Co. Public Schools sees drop in quarantines after mask requirement

BY Evan Brooks

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) student quarantine numbers are down a few weeks after the district announced a mandatory mask mandate.

The school district started out with optional masking but quickly pivoted to a mandate as COVID-29 cases rose. Parents like Kelly Naylor are all for it.

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JCPS expands number of COVID-19 drive-thru, rapid testing sites



LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) announced Monday that it's adding four schools to the number of COVID-19 drive-thru, rapid test sites for students, staff and families. The district said the additions are "due to increasingly heavy demand."

With Monday's announcement, the total number of sites is now 16.

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UofL 'Co-Immunity Project' tests will reveal how long COVID-19 resistance lasts

BY Ashleigh Mills
UPDATED 11:04 AM ET Aug. 30, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As COVID-19 vaccine booster shots go into arms, part of the research University of Louisville scientists are doing will help determine things like how long immunity really lasts. That's part of what researchers with the Co-Immunity Project are working to learn, as they do another round of tests on willing Louisvillians.



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What's going on this week in Kentucky

BY Amber Smith

KENTUCKY — Some Kentucky colleges will be changing COVID-19 protocols, and the Kentucky National Guard will be stepping in to assist hospitals amid rising COVID-19 cases. Those are just some of the changes you can expect to take place this week in Kentucky.



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COVID-19 surge sends Franklin County Schools back to NTI

BY Brennon Gurley

FRANKFORT, Ky. — After a surge in reported COVID-19 cases, students in Franklin County won’t attend class in person until at least Sept. 7.

The presence of COVID-19 continues to impact education in Franklin County.

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Lack of paid time off makes getting vaccinated difficult for low-wage workers

BY Brandon Roberts

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The inability to get paid time off and the financial hardships created by missing work have caused low-wage workers to be less likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation say this has contributed to the spread of the virus.

The Kaiser Family Foundation study shows that low-wage workers’ lack of paid time off has created an unintended hesitancy. Those workers also fear the financial loss associated with missing work because of the potential side effects.

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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)