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COVID-19: Drive-Thru Vaccine Sites Coming to Ky.; 4,084 New Cases in Ky.; 567 in NKY

Kentucky counted 4,084 new positive COVID-19 cases on Thursday, including 567 in Northern Kentucky.

There were 51 newly reported deaths, bringing the state's total to 3,042 since the pandemic began.

There were no local deaths reported, though Kenton County recorded 235 new positive cases while there were 176 in Boone Co., 126 in Campbell Co., 17 in Grant Co., and 13 in Pendleton Co.

While the daily case counts continue to concern state leaders and health officials, movement on the vaccine front continues.

On Thursday, Governor Andy Beshear announced a new partnership with Kroger to increase the speed of the vaccine's distribution, and also the expansion of eligibility for those wanting the shots.

Currently there are two federally approved COVID vaccines being deployed in the U.S. with more expected soon from companies like AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

The two available currently require two separate doses delivered weeks apart.

Northern Kentucky health officials announced Thursday that it is moving forward to phase 1b individuals, which includes people aged 70 and older, and school personnel.

Beshear said that on Feb. 1, there will be Kroger-based regional drive-through vaccination sites for Kentuckians in phases 1A, 1B, and 1C. For more details on who is included in each phase, click here. The governor said that more details would be announced on site locations and how to sign up on January 28.

“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,” Beshear said. “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.”

Secretary of Transportation Jim Gray has been named director of the Vaccine Distribution Project.

“This is all about Team Kentucky delivering on an ambitious, life-saving project,” said 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.”

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 Beshear.

The governor, however, said that 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.

“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 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.”

Meanwhile, the state's positivity rate was 12.34%.

There are currently 1,661 people hospitalized across the state including 409 in intensive care units and 196 on ventilators.

-Staff report

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