With first vaccinations expected Monday, but only the beginning of long rollout that will run well into summer, Beshear urges caution

By: Al Cross

Posted on: December 14, 2020

Category: Dental Care , Dentistry , Extension Service

With first vaccinations expected Monday, but only the beginning of long rollout that will run well into summer, Beshear urges caution

A container with insulated boxes of vaccine is rolled from a plane into 
UPS Worldport in Louisville. (Photo provided by governor's office)
By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

As the first shipments of coronavirus vaccine arrived in Kentucky, and the pandemic's advance remained steady, Gov. Andy Beshear again asked Kentuckians to "remain vigilant," said a press release from his office.

The state reported 2,454 new cases of the virus, more than 100 fewer than last Sunday, and its seven-day rolling average of new cases dropped to 3,228. During that time, the state saw 1,235 fewer cases than the previous week, and the share of Kentuckians testing positive continued to fall.

The current seven-day positivity rate is 8.52%, 1.23 percentage points below where it was last Sunday, 9.75%. That's a decrease of 12.6%. The rate, which Health Commissioner Steven Stack has called a "leading indicator" suggestive of future trends in cases, has declined for 10 consecutive days.

“We are seeing good trends and getting great news in our battle against Covid-19,” Beshear said in the release. “Now we are less than 24 hours from the true beginning of the end of this virus,” with the arrival of vaccine.

The first plane from the Pfizer Inc. plant in Michigan arrived at the United Parcel Service hub in Louisville at 12:06 p.m., reports Lucas Aulbach of the Courier Journal. The shipments are being sorted "and shipped out the same day to destinations across the eastern U.S.," he writes.

Beshear said in another news release that he expects the first Kentucky vaccinations Monday -- at 11 strategically selected hospitals that can maintain ultra-cold storage of the vaccine -- and nursing homes, where pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens have federal contracts to vaccinate residents and staff.

One of the first boxes that arrived at the UPS Worldport was headed to a nearby hospital and another was going to an undisclosed Kentucky site, NBC reported.

Health Commissioner Steven Stack said in the release, “Early doses will be limited in supply and immunization will begin with nursing-home residents and frontline health-care workers. From there, as vaccine shipments continue, Kentucky will immunize all health-care (including oral-health) workers and first responders, followed by the K-12 education community, to get our children and educators safely back to school.”

Beshear said, “Our community doctors and nurses, as well as long-term care residents and staff, are preparing to do their part first. We will all get a turn. When it is your turn, I strongly encourage you to get vaccinated so you can do your part to protect yourself, your family and our entire state.”

Stack said the state is awaiting more guidance from federal officials on who will come next. He added, “Having vaccines this quickly is a modern medical miracle. Having patience in the months ahead is essential, though, as vaccine supplies increase and hopefully all interested persons have access to vaccination by the end of summer 2021.”

The 11 hospitals expected to get 12,675 doses of the vaccine are in Louisville, Paducah, Bowling Green, Madisonville, Pikeville, Corbin, Lexington and Edgewood. Another 25,350 are going to CVS and Walgreens for nursing homes.

The vaccine developed by Moderna, which does not require ultra-cold storage, is expected to get federal approval next week. Between the two, Kentucky could get 150,000 doses this month, Beshear said. Both require second doses, which will come in later shipments. 

"The immediate goal is reducing Covid-19 deaths," the release said. "With 66% of the deaths coming from long-term care facilities, vaccines could help significantly decrease Kentucky’s Covid-19 death toll beginning in January. Also, because long-term care residents tend to require the most care, vaccinations in these facilities will help reduce Covid-19’s burden on Kentucky’s health-care system."

Sunday's 15 Covid-19 fatalities, which raised the state's toll to 2,207, were a 75-year-old Bell County woman; two women, 65 and 58, from Boone County; an Caldwell County man, 85; two Daviess County women, 65 and 74; a woman, 82, and a man, 79, from Hopkins County; a Jefferson County man, 83; a Kenton County man, 85; a Lawrence County woman, 58; an Oldham County man, 56; two Pulaski County women, 89 and 50; and a Taylor County man, 76. 

In other coronavirus news Sunday:

  • Counties with 10 or more new cases were: Jefferson, 446; Fayette, 165; Boone, 115; Pulaski, 111; Kenton, 106; Mercer, 79; Hardin, 75; McCracken, 61; Harlan, 52; Campbell, 48; Boyle, 44; Bullitt, 39; Warren, 39; Russell, 36; Carter, 34; Laurel, 33; Daviess, 32; Taylor, 30; Whitley, 30; Boyd, 29; Scott, 29; Jessamine,  27; McCreary, 26; Franklin, 24; Madison, 23; Letcher, 22; Bell, 21; Christian, Greenup, Lincoln and Wayne, 19; Grant and Perry, 18; Adair, Henderson, Nelson and Oldham, 17; Breckinridge and Pike, 16; Calloway, Floyd, Shelby and Spencer, 15; Meade and Trimble, 14; Casey, Graves and Harrison, 13; Bracken, Grayson and Green, 11; and Allen, Estill, Logan and Monroe, 10.
  • Hospitalizations for Covid-19 remained steady, at 1,712, with 434 of them in intensive care and 224 of those on ventilators. The share of intensive-care patients on ventilators is 52%, which is the average for the past month. 
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the Pfizer vaccine for use in 16- and 17-year-olds. The Food and Drug Administration approval Friday was for adults.
  • Extension volunteers in northeastern Kentucky made 250 surgical gowns for employees at Primary Plus, which has 10 clinics in the region and was having difficulty getting protective gear to do coronavirus testing, Katie Pratt reports for the University of Kentucky.
  • "A bipartisan group of senators is expected to introduce a $908 billion coronavirus relief bill as soon as Monday, with a twist: The deal is expected to be split into two pieces," Politico reports, citing "two people familiar with the negotiations. One would be a $748 billion piece of coronavirus relief with less controversial items like schools and health care; the other would marry $160 billion in money for local governments with a temporary liability shield. Those two components have been the toughest part of the negotiation so far, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has suggested dropping them and concentrating on the less divisive areas. McConnell had long called a liability shield from coronavirus legislation his 'red line,' while congressional Democrats say the money for states and cities is their top priority. Some Republicans from states with hard-hit budgets like Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) also are pushing for local aid, but many conservatives don’t want to send money to states. Splitting the bill could make it more likely that a relief package can be finalized before Congress leaves for the holidays — something deemed essential with 12 million Americans set to lose unemployment benefits in the coming weeks."

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Tags: Dental Care , Dentistry , Extension Service

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