FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s COVID-19 vaccination program continues to ramp up, Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday. Some 198,447 Kentuckians received a dose of the vaccine last week, breaking a previous weekly record of about 165,000 in early March.
The Democratic governor noted that while demand continues to be high, some vaccine sites in western and eastern Kentucky have open appointments. He urged residents in those regions to sign up if they are eligible.
Beshear also announced the opening of a vaccination site at the Kentucky Dam Village Convention Center in Gilbertsville.
“This is a new site we stood up in western Kentucky to ensure the area was getting significant amounts of vaccine,” Beshear said. “As of today, they have more than 2,000 available appointments in this coming week. That means any Kentuckian, aged 50 and up, if you’re in that area, we need you to sign up.”
The Bluegrass state’s vaccination program is currently in phase 1C, which includes people 50 and older, anyone older than 16 with high-risk medical conditions and anyone deemed an essential worker. Starting Apr. 12, residents 16 and older also will be eligible.
Kentucky reported 893 confirmed coronavirus cases and 11 virus-related deaths Tuesday.
Only nine of Kentucky’s 120 counties are reported to be in the red zone — the most serious category for COVID-19 incidence rates. People in those counties are asked to follow stricter recommended guidelines to contain the virus.
The state’s test positivity rate is 2.93%. The positivity rate is an indicator of the extent of the spread of the virus, according to the World Health Organization. If the rate is less than 5% for two weeks and testing is widespread, the virus is considered under control.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal. The vast majority of people recover.
Hudspeth Blackburn is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.