Kentucky will open up coronavirus vaccinations to residents 16 and older Monday, after thousands of appointments across the state have gone unused, showing the state’s challenge has shifted from supply to demand.
“This is a good day,” Gov. Andy Beshear said at his final news conference of Easter Week. “It means that we will beat the president’s request by a month to have it opened up to everyone.”
The governor and his lieutenants have lamented for months that the main challenge in getting Kentuckians vaccinated has been “supply, supply, supply.”
But last week, Beshear started providing a list of vaccine sites across the state with hundreds and sometimes thousands of appointments available. Now the Department for Public Health has a daily “Where Can I Get Vaccinated?” report on the its vaccine website, listing places with open slots and how to register for them.
Today, Beshear mentioned the four sites with the most slots available: Norton Healthcare in Louisville, the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, the Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park Convention Center in Gilbertsville and Baptist Health Madisonville.
“Let’s get this done. Let’s get vaccinated. Let’s reach herd immunity. Let’s defeat Covid-19 for good,” the governor said. “To do that, we’ve got to make sure that everywhere across the state, we are filling up our vaccination openings.”
Only the two-dose Pfizer vaccine is approved for 16- and 17-year-olds. The two-dose Moderna and one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available to those 18 and up.
The state’s daily vaccine report shows that 1.4 million Kentuckians have received at least one dose of a vaccine, more than any bordering state, but Beshear called on people to remain enthusiastic about getting vaccinated and asked the news media to help him spread the word that vaccines are available statewide.
The numbers: Beshear announced 815 new cases of the virus, raising the seven-day rolling average by 18, to 607 cases per day. For the last week the average has fluctuated between 589 and 614, making a rough plateau.
Likewise, the share of Kentuckians testing positive for the coronavirus in the last seven days rose slightly, to 2.96%. In the previous seven days it ranged from 2.85% to 2.92%.
All Covid-19 numbers in Kentucky hospitals rose Wednesday, and Beshear said they are being watched. There are 413 Covid-19 patients, up 14 from Tuesday; 110 of them are in intensive care, up 4; and 48 of those are on ventilators, an increase of 11.
The state added 25 more deaths to its list of Covid-19 fatalities, bringing the toll to 6,090. Three were from the ongoing audit of death certificates and 22 were from the regular health-department reporting system.
Variants: Beshear said the state has detected 66 total cases of the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in the United Kingdom, and that there are 10 in Allen County; 10 in Jefferson County; and up to 13 in Kenton County.
Kentucky Health News asked the governor’s office how many cases have been tested for the variants, but has not heard back.
According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that draws only from publicly available data and is updated on Sundays, Kentucky has genomic sequenced only 757 coronavirus test samples. That is one of the lower rates in the nation, 0.179%.
Among the seven border states, Tennessee’s .089% is one of the lowest rates in the nation, and Virginia’s .686% is the best border state, at .686 %, but that is far below Wyoming, which ranks highest at 5.82%.
Prisons and vaccines: Beshear said that the state’s prisons will be provided enough one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines by April 5 for every inmate who wants to be vaccinated. He said the two Lyon County facilities recovering from recent outbreaks, the Kentucky State Penitentiary and the Western Kentucky Correctional Complex, will have to wait until health officials deem it safe for them to get it.
In other pandemic news Wednesday:
- Counties with 10 or more new cases were Jefferson, 112; Fayette, 63; Warren, 41; Scott, 31; Boone, 28; Daviess, 27; Kenton, 24; Clinton, 21; Pulaski, 19; Laurel, 18; Oldham, 15; Bullitt and Hopkins, 14; Whitley, 13; Perry, 12; Knox, 11; and Hardin, Harlan, Marshall and Simpson, 10.
- Kentucky will open its largest vaccination site Monday, April 12, at Cardinal Stadium, through a partnership with U of L Health. It will have 24 lanes for drive-thru vaccinations, with a goal of doing 4,000 shots a day. Kentuckians can sign up at 502-681-1435. The hope is that nearly 200,000 people will get vaccinated in the seven weeks that the site will be operational.
- No new cases were reported among long-term care residents, and only three were reported among staff. Today’s report shows 50 active resident cases and 74 active staff cases. Also, no new deaths were reported in long-term care facilities, which got priority for vaccinations.