Virus Outbreak Kentucky

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the state during a media conference at the Kentucky state Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021.

As Kentucky’s coronavirus cases continue to decline, its access to vaccine is steadily increasing.

Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday the state’s supply will increase by nearly 30% starting next week.

“The federal government is once again increasing our vaccine supply. (President Joe Biden’s) administration announced today they will send 13.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to states per week, up from 11 million last week,” Beshear said in a news release. “The administration will also double the number of doses sent directly to retail pharmacies. Next week, Kentucky is expected to receive 87,860 vaccine doses.”

Beshear reported 1,255 new coronavirus cases, calling it the “lowest Tuesday in over a month.” The state’s positivity test rate dropped to 6.58%.

COVID-19 deaths continue to remain high, however, with 27 additional deaths Tuesday. They included two Barren County women ages 61 and 91, a 63-year-old Edmonson County man and an 86-year-old Warren County woman.

The Barren River District Health Department was closed Tuesday and didn’t have a report. In Allen County, the health department reported one additional COVID-19 case since Monday afternoon.

The Allen County health department has reported 1,760 cases since the start of the pandemic, with 1,639 deemed to have fully recovered. The virus death toll there is 22.

Even with another round of wintry weather in the forecast starting Wednesday, Beshear said several regional vaccination centers are planning to remain open. More than 542,000 Kentuckians have received their first dose of the vaccine to date, Beshear said.

“After today, all of the Kroger regional vaccine sites will be open,” including the Frankfort site on Wednesday and the Kentucky Horse Park, Bowling Green and Covington sites Thursday.

More sleet, snow, rain and freezing rain are possible when the next storm hits Kentucky in coming days, Beshear said. He warned the public to stay off the roads unless travel is absolutely necessary and that frostbite and hypothermia could threaten anyone who remains outside for extended periods of time.

“We have already had fatalities reported and already had to shut down portions of our interstates because of crashes. So please be careful. Take your time. Don’t get on the roads unless you absolutely need to,” Beshear said.

He referred to a crash on I-65 that killed a motorist and injured two Kentucky State Police troopers.

The Kentucky National Guard and state troopers have been conducting wellness checks and taking people to warming shelters if needed. The offer has been extended to any county with significant power outages, Beshear said. In addition, the state Division of Forestry has been working to clear roads across Kentucky, Beshear said.

Beshear’s news conference also included a report from Michael Dossett, director of Kentucky’s Emergency Management Division. “We expect single-digit temperatures. It’s going to get extraordinarily cold across the commonwealth,” he said.

Across the state, 32 counties and 22 cities have declared a state of emergency, Dossett said.

In southcentral Kentucky, residents woke up Monday to roads blanketed with a mix of snow, sleet and ice. At the storm’s strongest, Dossett said, about 150,000 homes were without power across 47 counties that spanned the state.

As Kentuckians across the state struggle to stay in their homes, Kentucky also continues to offer relief through its Healthy At Home Eviction Relief Fund.

More than $4 million in rent and utility assistance has been requested since the fund started taking applications Sunday, Beshear said. The state is offering up to $200 million in assistance through the fund, he said. The online application portal can be found at kycovid.ky.gov.

– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @NewsByAaron or visit bgdailynews.com.

Education reporter. Covers education and related issues, focusing primarily on the Bowling Green and Warren County public school districts and Western Kentucky University.