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COVID-19: Ky. Deaths Surpass 2,000; Vaccines Coming this Month

In sobering news Thursday, Kentucky surpassed 2,000 COVID-19-related deaths and added another 3,895 confirmed positive cases.

Governor Andy Beshear also elaborated on the coronavirus vaccines that are on their way to Kentucky this month.

“Today, we passed some tough milestones both in the country and here in Kentucky," Beshear said in his daily update. "Today is the toughest day our country has ever seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, as we lost more people than any other day this year. We’re also at record hospitalizations across America. This ought to show us and tell us that now, more than ever, we need to do the right things to protect those around us.”

The state recorded 34 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, bringing the state's total to 2,014.

The positivity rate in the state is also above 10%, at 10.07%.

As cases continue to surge here and across the country, two vaccines are set to be distributed, including 38,025 to Kentucky. Pfizer and Moderna each have vaccines that have shown more than 90% efficacy in preventing significant COVID-related illness.

Those first doses are for the initial vaccine. Each firm's vaccine requires a second booster dose roughly three weeks after the first shot.

Frontline health care workers are first in line.

Beshear said that the state’s total doses and the plan for where those will be distributed are subject to change.

“The initial allocation sites were chosen because they were large enough to handle 975 Pfizer doses; the CDC required they had to have ultra-low cold storage; they had to be completely enrolled as a COVID provider; and we wanted a good coverage area across Kentucky,” said Beshear. “We also looked at high-incident rate sites.”

Locally, St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Edgewood will receive 975 doses. 

More than 25,000 doses will go to pharmacy chain stores CVS and Walgreens who have been contracted by the federal government to vaccinate long-term care residents and staff.

“We are allowing each facility to make their own allocation decisions according to who they believe are tier one staff,” said Beshear.

Meanwhile, as cases continue to surge in Kentucky, Beshear extended the state's mask mandate for an additional thirty days, meaning that facial coverings will still be required in public settings as a means to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Of the 3,895 cases reported statewide on Thursday, 132 were in Kenton Co. while 110 were in Boone Co. Campbell Co. recorded 59 new cases, while Pendleton Co. added 7 and Grant Co. saw 6.

All Northern Kentucky counties remain in the state's "red zone", meaning a daily average case count of 25 or more per 100,000 people. That is particularly significant this week as when Beshear closed schools to in-person learning again last month, it was declared that elementary schools could return to classrooms on December 7 if their county was no longer in the red zone.

While the red zone map is updated daily, the official list is updated on Thursdays.

With the updated list out today, no local schools can return to the classroom legally.

"Thank you to our amazing staff, students, parents and community members who continue to be supportive as we work together during this global pandemic," Kenton County Schools Superintendent Henry Webb said in a message to families informing them that remote learning would continue. "Team Kenton has been positive, courageous, and resilient during this unprecedented time and will we will continue to remain strong together."

Middle and high schools are not slated to return until the first week of January.

There are currently 1,810 people hospitalized across the state with 415 in intensive care units and 240 on ventilators.

-Staff report

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