Governor, state officials also update Kentuckians on unemployment insurance, vaccine progress; state surpasses 3,000 COVID-19 deaths
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 14, 2021) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear, state officials and Kroger leadership announced a new partnership to significantly increase the speed of COVID-19 vaccinations across the commonwealth.
The first Kroger regional, drive-through vaccination sites will open the week of Feb. 1 for Kentuckians in Phase 1A, 1B and 1C. For more details on who is included in each phase, click here. On Jan. 28, the Governor said more details would be announced on site locations and how to sign up.
“Last year, when we were wondering when anybody who wanted a COVID-19 test would be able to get one, Kroger made that a reality. That testing partnership created the national model for surge testing,” said Gov. Beshear. “These drive-through vaccination sites are fantastic news all Kentuckians, and we’re grateful to the entire Kroger team for making it possible. Your help in this effort will save countless lives.”
The Governor announced that Transportation Secretary Jim Gray has also been named Director of the Vaccine Distribution Project.
“This is all about Team Kentucky delivering on an ambitious, life-saving project,” said Secretary Gray. “This regional system will grow over time to reach even more Kentuckians. As we speak, we are working to get sites evaluated and secured. We are committed to ensuring equitable distribution of the vaccine and everyone will have their turn.”
“We are proud to partner with the state on efforts to make sure all Kentuckians have access to the COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible,” said Meggen Brown, Chief Nursing Officer and National Clinical Director at Kroger Health. “Kroger Health’s vision is to help people live healthier lives, and that has never been more important.”
Vaccinations have already begun for K-12 school personnel through individual school districts and will continue to ramp up over the next few weeks. The Governor said the state expects to finish administering initial vaccination doses for K-12 educators and support staff the week of Feb. 1.
“The great news is, we expect to finish first dose vaccinations for school staff the week we said we would start,” said Gov. Beshear.
The Governor urged Kentuckians to be patient as vaccine allocations from the federal government are still far too small to cover everyone in Phase 1A, 1B and 1C who wants to be vaccinated. However, it is critically important that the state gets vaccines into arms quickly. That means in some cases, vaccine providers will need to vaccinate Kentuckians out of the phase sequence in order to meet the state’s goal of administering 90% of vaccines within one week of their arrival at a distribution site.
The Governor and the Kentucky Department for Public Health outlined these phases to help providers distribute vaccines in the most equitable order they can while still vaccinating people as fast as possible. To learn more, see the Jan. 4 release.
“I know people are understandably anxious and want to get the vaccine as soon as they can, especially those who are high-risk. We want to do our very best to put those people in the front of the line, but we also need to move quickly so vaccines don’t just sit in a freezer, helping no one,” said Gov. Beshear. “The faster we increase our vaccination numbers, the safer we all will be, because we will get closer to herd immunity as a state more quickly. That’s the overarching goal, so we ask Kentuckians to bear with us if they have to wait a little while in order to get an appointment.”
As of 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, Gov. Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:
New cases today: 4,084
New deaths today: 51
Positivity rate: 12.34%
Total deaths: 3,042
Currently hospitalized: 1,661
Currently in ICU: 409
Currently on ventilator: 196
Top counties with the most positive cases today are: Jefferson, Kenton, Boone, Oldham and Fayette. Each of these counties reported 170 or more new cases; Jefferson County alone reported 642.