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COVID-19: Cases, Positivity Rate Falling; NKY Walgreens to Receive Vaccines

Kentucky COVID-19 cases continue to decline and the state's positivity rate is the lowest it has been since November 10, Governor Andy Beshear said Monday.

The governor announced 1,003 newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus statewide, including 86 in five Northern Kentucky counties.

There were 30 in Campbell Co., 25 in Kenton Co., 24 in Boone Co., 4 in Grant Co., and 3 in Pendleton Co.

The state's positivity rate, declining for four straight weeks, is back at 7.78%.

The state recorded an additional 40 COVID-related deaths.

There are currently 1,163 people hospitalized across the state including 274 in intensive care units and 142 on ventilators.

“The trends are all moving in the right direction, but that only happens from your hard work. We must keep this up because we do not want to lose this progress,” said Beshear.

The governor said that for the fifth straight week, the state has distributed more vaccines than it received in first doses from the federal government. Of all the first doses the state has received, 91% are already in a Kentuckians’ arms.

Kentucky has received 490,975 COVID-19 initial vaccine doses and 444,930 Kentuckians have received their first vaccine dose.

The state’s vaccination program has received 410,050 first doses and administered 375,728.

The federal long-term care vaccination program run through CVS and Walgreens has sent 80,925 first doses to Kentucky and the program has administered 69,202.

The federal government has vaccinated 17,186 Kentuckians as well, in the Bureau of Prisons, the Veterans Administration and in the Department of Defense.

The new federal pharmacy vaccination program will also start at the end of this week. It has two major partners in the state: a number of Walgreens locations and a large group of independent pharmacies.

“Walgreens is a great partner, but it didn’t have sufficient coverage in rural Kentucky, so we advocated for the program to include independent pharmacies, too,” said Beshear.

For more information on who is currently eligible for the vaccine in Kentucky, visit vaccine.ky.gov, or call 855-598-2246.

Designated pharmacies in Northern Kentucky will begin receiving small quantities of vaccine later this week to help vaccinate individuals against COVID-19. 

These pharmacies are part of the Federal Pharmacy Partners program. They will receive vaccine directly from the federal government, not from the vaccines allocated to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. 

Walgreens pharmacies in thirteen locations in Northern Kentucky have been designated to receive vaccine. A number of independent pharmacies will also be designated later this week, the Northern Kentucky Health Department said Monday. 

It is anticipated that each location will receive 100 doses per week starting later this week. Pharmacies have been instructed to vaccinate the Phase 1B population with a priority on individuals age 70 and over.

Walgreens locations and a link to register for an appointment at these sites can be found here and include three Florence locations, two in Covington, and one each in Erlanger, Burlington, Alexandria, Newport, Highland Heights, Fort Wright, Independence, and Crescent Springs.

Independent pharmacies will be added once registration information is available.

“We are glad to have additional partners joining in the efforts to vaccinate people here in Northern Kentucky,” said Dr. Lynne Saddler, district director of health at the Northern Kentucky Health Department. “We are seeing tremendous demand for vaccinations. Every vaccination provider and every dose of vaccine helps get shots in arms.”

Gov. Beshear said Monday that the state is working to address equitable access to vaccines, updating the state on the demographics of those vaccinated.

“One thing to note when you look at the vaccine demographic data: we have more individuals in long-term care under 70 than I had ever imagined,” said Beshear. “With that said, we need to continue to prioritize those 70 and older. Right now, more women than men have been vaccinated, but we suspect that reflects the health care and education sectors that have been in earlier phases. I think this will even out more when we get to Phase 1C.

“Black and African-American Kentuckians, to date, have received about 4.3% of vaccinations where we know the person’s race. That is unacceptable. It needs to be closer to 8%, at least. About 1.1% of vaccines where ethnicity is known have gone to our Hispanic population – also too low. We’re going to produce this data every week so we can track our progress and be held accountable.”

The governor said addressing equity in vaccine distribution requires looking at three root causes: programmatic causes, as the state needs to take additional, intentional steps to make vaccination programs more equitable; societal causes, because minority Kentuckians are not equally represented in medicine and education, so they were underrepresented among the first to be vaccinated; and historic causes of vaccine hesitancy among minority Kentuckians.

“Our underserved and minority populations haven’t been treated right in the past when it comes to vaccines, or even experimentation,” said Beshear. “From the beginning, we knew Black and Latinx people were more hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccination. We’re committed to addressing these concerns.”

“We look forward to expanding our network of partners in this effort and working to reach people who need access to this vaccine and need a little extra assistance in getting it, so they can have the same benefit as everyone else,” said public health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack.

-Staff report

Image shows incidence rate for Northern Kentucky counties, demonstrating the percentage of positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population over a seven-day period

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