FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear and Kentucky officials said a number of regional drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination sites will crop up around the state by early February through a new partnership with Kroger Health.
Beshear announced the partnership with Kroger Thursday to run "high volume, drive-thru vaccination centers" at regional hubs across the state. The sites, slated to open Feb. 1, will provide vaccines to all eligible Kentuckians down to phase 1C, including:
- 1A: Residents and staff in long-term care facilities, health care workers. This phase is currently being carried out in those long-term care facilities and medical centers.
- 1B: Anyone age 70 or older, first responders and K-12 school personnel.
- 1C: Essential workers, anyone age 60 or older, and anyone age 16 or older with CDC highest risk COVID-19 risk conditions. A list of those conditions can be found here.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray, who as of Thursday also serves as the state's director of vaccine distribution, the site locations will be announced in the coming weeks.
The state will also establish a registration website and hotline to find out when they're eligible and to schedule vaccine appointments. The website and hotline could be up and accepting appointments starting Jan. 28, Gray said.
“Everyone will have their turn," Gray said. "This project announced today will get the vaccine in every arm that wants it as quickly and safely as possible. Meanwhile, as the governor has said routinely, keep wearing your masks, social distancing and washing your hands.”
Kroger Health's Meggen Brown said that vaccine sites will later expand into the Kroger network's Little Clinics and pharmacies in stores, with more details coming Jan. 28.
"Kroger stands behind this vaccine," she said. "We are strongly encouraging all customers and associates to receive the vaccine to curb the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, and we’ll do all we can to ensure there is access as soon as it is available."
Additionally, Kentucky hopes to complete first doses of vaccines for willing K-12 personnel through their school district by the end of the week of Feb. 1. Previously, Kentucky hoped to start school personnel vaccines that week.
Later on Thursday, St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Northern Kentucky announced it would begin vaccinating people in Phase 1B starting Friday. Find more information on scheduling a vaccine appointment and what to bring with you here.
As of Thursday, more than 172,000 total vaccine doses have been administered in Kentucky.
Kentucky surpasses 3,000 COVID-19 deaths
Beshear reported 4,560 new coronavirus cases and 51 virus-related deaths Thursday, pushing the state past another a grim milestone of 3,042 deaths since the pandemic began.
Hospitalizations fell slightly by Thursday, with 1,661 Kentuckians currently hospitalized for COVID-19, 409 people in intensive care units and 196 on ventilators. The state's coronavirus fatality rate now sits at 0.95%.
Beshear said while there are some regions of concern, statewide hospital capacity is not in as dire of a situation as some other states.
“But with numbers this high, that can change, and change quickly," the governor said.
Kentucky's positivity rate now sits at 12.34%, and it has been in that range for roughly one week. Beshear said state officials hope that number, and the number of new cases, levels off as Kentuckians change their behavior after the holidays and attend fewer gatherings.
Using the state's contact tracing database, NKY Health reports 3,940 active coronavirus cases in Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties, and 24,057 people have recovered from the virus as of Thursday. Since the pandemic began, 184 Northern Kentuckians have died from the virus.
Watch a replay of the briefing in the player below: