FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Kentucky has successfully administered first doses of COVID-19 vaccines to all long-term care residents and staff members in the state who have agreed to receive one.
The news announced Monday represents a significant milestone, as around two-thirds of all COVID-related deaths have occurred in skilled nursing homes and assisted-living communities.
The LTC vaccination program is run through a federal contract with CVS and Walgreens. Per the contract terms, the initial allocation of doses through the program included all first and second doses required to vaccinate all workers and residents, meaning more than half the doses have been held back.
That contrasts with the state-run program, which receives vaccine shipments every week and sends them out to be administered in first and second doses until supplies are exhausted.
Fewer than 40 percent of the doses allocated through the LTC program have been administered, accounting for those who refused the vaccine on the first go.
CVS and Walgreens make three visits to each facility, according to Beshear, giving each resident and staff member multiple chances to consent to receive the vaccine.
Conversely, the state-run program has administered 88 percent of its doses. That includes 82,511 people vaccinated last week, the state’s largest vaccination total so far.
A total of 93,499 doses (including second doses) were administered last week.
Beshear and KDP Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said previously Kentucky could administer 250,000 doses per week, perhaps more, with vaccine supply the only limitation.
Beshear drove home the point again Monday, after another week in which the federal government only allocated Kentucky around 56,000 doses.
“It is an extreme limitation that is holding us back from getting our people vaccinated as quickly as we want,” he said, later referencing proof of the state’s fast and efficient rollout. “We simply must have more vaccine.”
K-12 educators, at both public and private schools, are on track to receive their first shots the first week of February.
Long-term care facilities that have not received vaccines should contact the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
Kentucky has received 466,700 total vaccine doses, an increase of 16,525 from last Thursday, when the state’s dashboard was most recently updated.
Of the total doses received, 120,900 have been diverted to the long-term care facility program per the federal contract.
Of those doses, 47,105 have been administered, an increase of 5,317 since Thursday.
Of the 345,800 doses received by the state, 261,797 have been administered, an increase of 52,628 since Thursday.
A total of 308,812 doses have been administered in the state.
Kentucky recorded its lowest daily case increase of the new year, with 1,539 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported Monday.
“Our cases are way too high, but I think when you look at this it shows how important the steps we took are and how important the ability to be able to take steps is when you are facing exponential growth in cases,” Beshear said. “We believe that this decline is real, not just a result of maybe fewer tests happening, because we know the positivity rate is also going down.”
The state also recorded 39 new virus-related deaths for a total of 3,460 since the start of the pandemic.
Kentucky’s rolling seven-day positivity rate continues to decline, coming in below 10 percent Monday for the first time since Dec. 31. Currently it is 9.93 percent, a decline of more than two points since the rate crested in early January.
Additionally, fewer Kentuckians are hospitalized with COVID-19 than at any time since 2020, continuing a trend of declining hospitalizations following the state’s post-holiday case surge.
Currently 1,539 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Kentucky. It’s the smallest current count since Dec. 27.
Of those hospitalized, 374 are in ICUs and 203 are on ventilators.
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