Gov. Beshear announces Phase 1C start date in Kentucky

Some in Phase 1c have already received the vaccine, but the floodgates are about to open in more ways than one.

Gov. Beshear announces Phase 1C start date in Kentucky
Kentucky's rapid build-out of vaccine providers will get an early test as the state expects a double-shipment from the federal government ahead of opening up eligibility to Phase 1c on March 1. (Source: KAIT-TV)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Kentucky’s regional vaccination centers will move to Phase 1c of the vaccine rollout beginning March 1, according to Gov. Andy Beshear.

Phase 1c includes those 60 and older as well as essential workers as identified by the CDC.

It also includes all Kentuckians 16 and older who have a CDC-identified medical condition that makes them particularly susceptible to COVID-19.

More than a million Kentuckians are in Phase 1c. The vaccination centers will be asked to prioritize those 60 and older for the vaccine, according to Beshear.

The state’s local health departments will also provide some vaccine doses to those in Phase 1c, though they will prioritize those in phases 1a and 1b who have not yet received the vaccine.

Many vaccine providers in Kentucky have already “dipped into” Phase 1c in order to comply with the state’s goal of getting the maximum number of doses out. That is, providers are asked to vaccinate someone outside the current phase rather than let a vaccine dose sit in a freezer longer than a week.

The upshot is boundaries between Kentucky’s phases are somewhat blurry, with significant “tails” existing from prior phases even as the state moves on.

>> Last Week: Kentucky relaxes rules on indoor visitation at long-term care facilities

Northern Kentucky’s regional vaccination site is located at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington (sign up here.) The site is operated through a partnership with Kroger.

A Kroger in Walton (sign up here) and a Walmart in Alexandria (sign up here) will begin vaccinations this week.

Eligible residents can also sign up to receive a vaccine from the Northern Kentucky Health Department.

Update on vaccinations

Last week’s winter storms delayed around 66,000 vaccine shipments to Kentucky, with the state receiving just 6,825 doses in its federal allocation.

Kentucky’s vaccine providers administered 31,391 doses that week, using up nearly all of their leftover stock from prior weeks, according to Beshear.

The state’s current utilization rate is 98.5 percent.

The shipment’s delay means on Tuesday, Kentucky expects to receive around 140,000 doses, its largest weekly allotment of the rollout.

The state now has more than 360 state and federal vaccination providers.

Last week Beshear noted Kentucky has built out its vaccine infrastructure for a time — perhaps March — when vaccine availability is far greater than it is now. This week will allow the state to grade that infrastructure.

“This is an early test about our ability to scale up and reach out into wait lists to get people in and do it efficiently and effectively,” Beshear said.

To date, 562,775 first doses have been administered in Kentucky.

COVID decline continues

Kentucky recorded just 530 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 Monday, its lowest daily increase since Oct. 5.

“The trends are going in a positive direction, perhaps the most positive since the pandemic began,” said Beshear.

“What that means is that we’re doing a good job. Do I think that vaccines are starting to have an impact? Certainly in the long-term care community. Hopefully we’ll see more of it in the overall state. But we’re seeing more people wearing masks, engaging in social distancing, thinking about the number of contacts they have in their day, and it is working.”

The state also recorded 13 new virus-related deaths.

The current positivity rate is 6.6 percent. Its continued decline suggests the downward trend in cases is real and not a reflection of inadequate sampling.

Currently 870 Kentuckians are hospitalized with COVID-19, of which 243 are in ICUs and 119 are on ventilators.

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