Health

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday the opening of 156 new coronavirus vaccination sites in Kentucky.

Six of the new sites will serve as regional vaccination facilities, located in Adair, Carter, Franklin, Henderson, Lawrence and Union counties. Ten of the sites will be at Kroger stores throughout the state, and 15 more will be at Walmart stores.

A majority of the new locations will be operated at Walgreens and Good Neighbor independent pharmacies as part of a recently-announced federal program. Beshear said the program will administer 13,000 additional first doses a week at 125 pharmacies.

“We are expanding at a phenomenal rate,” he said. “We are very quickly covering the whole state to get to our desired outcome, where you never have to drive more than one county to get vaccines. We know that there’s more that we need to fill in.”

The governor announced 1,880 new COVID-19 cases. It’s the lowest case total in at least four weeks, Beshear said. This week is on track to become the fifth week in a row with declining cases.

The positivity rate dropped to 7.08%, the lowest it’s been since Nov. 6. Despite the downward trend, 36 new deaths were reported Thursday.

“Like just about every one of the days we’ve had for the last week, we have declining cases,” Beshear said. “But we still have stubbornly high deaths.”

Beshear said the state will relaunch its Healthy At Home Eviction Fund on Monday. Last year, about $15 million in relief was dispersed to 4,135 households.

Residents can apply for assistance with rent and utility bills dating back to April 2020 and future payments, which will go directly to landlords or utility providers.

“We need to be patient and vigilant,” Beshear said. “We’ve got to keep masking up, maintaining social distance, practicing good hygiene, and avoiding crowds. This fund is going to help make that possible.”

Jefferson County residents can apply for assistance at covidrenthelp.org. Fayette county residents can do so at stopmyeviction.org. The program for Kentucky’s other 118 counties will be operated through teamkyhherf.ky.gov

 

John Boyle covers southern Indiana communities and health for WFPL News. He is a Report for America Corps member.