Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday that Kentucky’s local health departments and regional coronavirus vaccination centers – including the Bowling Green location at Greenwood Mall – are gearing up to launch Phase 1C starting March 1. People who are high-risk for severe COVID-19 will continue to be a priority, he said.

“Keep masking up. We’ve got cases going down and vaccines going up, and that’s a good thing,” Beshear said. “It’s going to be a big week for vaccinations.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Phase 1C includes people 65 to 74 years old and people 16 to 64 years old who are at-risk for severe COVID-19 because of underlying health conditions.

In Kentucky, Beshear said Phase 1C will also prioritize anyone 60 years old or older, regardless of whether they have underlying health conditions putting them at risk for severe COVID-19.

Phase 1C also includes all other essential workers, namely those who work in “transportation and logistics, food service, housing construction and finance, information technology, communications, energy, law, media, public safety and public health,” the CDC said.

Kentuckians can find a vaccine by going online to vaccine.ky.gov or by calling 855-598-2246. The number for those who are hearing impaired is 855-326-4654.

Kentucky has administered initial vaccine doses to at least 583,754 people, Beshear said Monday. Last week’s winter storms slowed Kentucky’s rollout of the vaccine, Beshear said.

“We were expecting about 71,000 doses. We received 6,825,” he said, adding that prompted the state to use up nearly 98.5% of all the initial doses it has.

The state expects to get many more doses this week, Beshear said.

The news came as Beshear announced the sixth straight week of declining COVID-19 cases in the state. He reported 530 new cases Monday, but last week’s winter storms could have influenced that number.

Beshear called it the lowest single-day increase in cases he’s reported since Oct. 5.

The positivity rate is now 6.60%. Provided that cases continue to decline here, Beshear said it could precipitate easing back on some virus-related restrictions, Beshear said.

However, the coronavirus continues to exact a deadly toll both in Kentucky and nationally. Beshear reported 13 additional deaths Monday, bringing the statewide death toll to 4,460. He also noted that the nation has now passed 500,000 deaths to COVID-19.

The Barren River District Health Department announced Monday that it would be moving its reporting schedule to Tuesdays and Fridays.

The Allen County Health Department reported on four new COVID-19 cases Monday, bringing the total there to 1,777 cases since the start of the pandemic. The death toll there is 22.

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

– 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.