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Kentucky Sees An Increase In COVID-19 Positivity Rate With Thousands Of Vaccination Appointments Available

People waiting at the UK HealthCare vaccination site at Kroger field after being vaccinated.
Corinne Boyer
People waiting at the UK HealthCare vaccination site at Kroger field after being vaccinated.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced that the state’s positivity rate is the highest it’s been in approximately a month — 3.16%.

“We’ve got to be watching that. We should be wary,” Beshear said. “We should see what’s going on in other states. We should get everyone out to get vaccinated.”

Beshear said the state is likely seeing a plateau in new cases and hospitalizations. In the past, he said, the state has typically seen an increase in cases following a plateau. This time, however, Beshear hopes the COVID vaccine will make a difference.

On Monday, Beshear announced the state will lift most COVID restrictions on venues with capacities of less than 1,000 once 2.5 million Kentuckians are vaccinated. Already more than 1.5 million Kentuckians have received at least one shot of a COVID vaccine.

Dr. Steven Stack, Commissioner of the Department for Public Health, said the vaccination goal is the state’s exit strategy from pandemic restrictions.

“These vaccines also do have growing evidence that they decrease the transmission of disease,” Stack said. “So when people actually are vaccinated they are less likely to get severely ill and they’re also, even if they do get infected, less likely to transmit the illness to other people.”

UofL Health in Louisville began vaccinating people at the Cardinal Stadium on Monday. It’s expected to inoculate about 4,000 people per day. Lexington, Louisville, Bowling Green, Corbin and La Grange have thousands of vaccination appointments available this week.

Executive Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown said thousands of people incarcerated in the state have also received a vaccination within the last week, and active cases in prisons have decreased by more than 600 over the past month.

“We delivered the vaccinations, Johnson & Johnson, to our institutions a week ago, April 5,” Brown said. “In that week, we’ve gotten 6,602 inmates vaccinated. That represents 68% of the total population.”

Kentucky’s prisons have reported high rates of coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

Beshear announced 270 new coronavirus cases and seven additional deaths on Monday. More than 6,200 people in the state have died from COVID-19.

Jeff Young is managing editor of the Ohio Valley ReSource, a journalism collaboration led by Louisville Public Media.

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