FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky is expanding who's eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in phase 1C to include more health conditions that may put people at risk of severe coronavirus illness.
Starting today, people 16 and older with medical and behavioral risk factors that the CDC considers "might" cause severe COVID-19 illness will be able to get a vaccine.
Those conditions include Type 1 diabetes, hypertension and high blood pressure, overweight (BMI greater than 25 but less than 30), cystic fibrosis, asthma and others. However, Kentucky will not consider smoking a qualifying condition to get a vaccine.
View the full list of qualifying conditions here. Vaccination sites are still encouraged to prioritize doses by age and to use 90% of doses within seven days of delivery.
Since December, Kentucky has vaccinated more than 910,000 individuals against COVID-19, with 1 million expected to be vaccinated within the coming days. Officials hope to double the number of people vaccinated by April. Kentucky now has 567 COVID-19 vaccine locations across the state.
Indoor visits resume for more nursing homes Monday
Kentucky will allow indoor visitation to resume Monday at long-term care facilities for residents who have been fully vaccinated.
“This is great news for Kentucky and our so many families that have missed their loved ones,” Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday.
Kentucky has secured approval from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to relax restrictions for Medicare-certified facilities. Restrictions were relaxed for non-Medicare facilities last month.
Fully vaccinated residents can choose to have close contact with their loved ones by wearing a face mask and practicing proper hand washing hygiene during the visit.
Visitors to care facilities must test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of the scheduled visit, and they are encouraged to get vaccinated.
Group activities and communal dining will also resume Monday for vaccinated residents. Learn more about the requirements here.
New COVID-19 cases declining, deaths still high
Kentucky recorded 1,211 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, as well as 37 new deaths, including a 55-year-old man from Campbell County and a 74-year-old woman from Kenton County.
Since last March, 414,131 Kentuckians have tested positive for COVID-19 and 4,921 have died of the virus. The state's positivity rate is now 3.95%.
New COVID-19 cases and test positivity have declined over the last eight weeks. Because of this trend, Kentucky businesses were able to increase indoor capacity to 60% last weekend. The governor said as conditions improve, Kentucky will begin to lift restrictions on private gatherings, too. On Monday, the CDC advised that fully vaccinated individuals can gather in private without masks.
Hospitalizations continue to decline. Currently, 524 Kentuckians are hospitalized for COVID-19, with 138 people in intensive care units and 75 on ventilators.
NKY Health reports 930 active coronavirus cases in Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties, and 38,516 people have recovered from the virus Thursday. Since the pandemic began, 274 Northern Kentuckians have died from the virus. Track the spread on Kentucky's COVID-19 incidence rate map.
Watch a replay of the briefing below: