Bookmark this page for the latest news related to the coronavirus and its ramifications in our region. It’ll be updated as the news happens, every day.


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March 1

Kentucky likely underreported the true toll of the deadliest months of the pandemic, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday.

When COVID-19 cases skyrocketed in November, at least one state official stopped auditing death certificates as part of the state’s review process, Beshear said. Instead, they relied on confirmation from local health departments, leaving some death records to fall through the cracks.

Kentucky has reported a lower than average number of COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in spring of 2020. Beshear has repeatedly cited the low number of deaths as evidence of the effectiveness of the state’s response. Read more.

Feb. 26

Gov. Andy Beshear announced an effort to get more Black Kentuckians vaccinated on Friday.

The state is partnering with the University of Kentucky in Lexington and Norton Healthcare in Louisville to set up vaccination clinics in predominantly Black neighborhoods.

Beshear said the state needs to acknowledge the reasons many Black people are hesitant to get the vaccine, like the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment.

“The pandemic didn’t create inequities in our society. Those inequities have built up over decades, over hundreds of years, but this pandemic has laid them bare in so many raw and difficult ways,” Beshear said.

Black Kentuckians have lagged behind white people in getting vaccinated, only accounting for 4.6% of those vaccinated so far, according to the state.

About 8.4% of Kentucky’s population is Black, with 44% of Black Kentuckians residing in Jefferson County.

In Louisville, Norton Healthcare is creating a vaccination clinic at the YMCA on West Broadway, St. Stephen Baptist Church, Bates Memorial Baptist Church, Quinn Chapel AME Church and New Covenant Baptist Church.

NAACP Louisville chapter president Raoul Cunningham said Black people are more likely to develop complications from COVID-19, and encouraged the local community to get vaccinated.

“We have to come together to work to defeat and rid our community, our city, our nation, our state of this God-awful virus,” Cunningham said.

On Friday, Beshear announced 1,180 new cases of coronavirus in Kentucky and 30 more deaths, bringing the state’s total to 4,600

The state’s positivity rate declined to 5.52%.

Feb. 25

Kentucky state officials said no data was stolen during a breach of the unemployment insurance system this week. The system was only down for about an hour. Claimants will now be required to answer questions correctly to access the site. The unemployment system has been attacked several times during the pandemic.

Governor Beshear reported  1,447 new COVID-19 cases and 43 additional deaths today. 

Hospitalizations dropped to 843, and the positivity rate dipped to 5.67%. The governor announced 119 new vaccination sites, including seven new regional locations. There are now 410 vaccination sites across the state.

Feb. 21

Governor Andy Beshear announced 979 new COVID-19 cases. It was the third day in the past week with fewer than a thousand cases. Beshear said this was the sixth week in a row with a declining number of new cases.

He also reported 21 new deaths related to COVID-19. According to the state, nearly 4,500 Kentuckians have died from the disease.

Feb. 17

Kentucky is continuing its downward trend in new coronavirus infections, according to the latest numbers released by Gov. Andy Beshear. He reported 1,017 new cases of coronavirus Wednesday, down significantly from a week ago. Beshear said 18 more people have died due to COVID-19, and the state’s positivity rate ticked up slightly to just under 7 percent. He said Kentuckians should continue to take precautions like masking and social distancing, even after receiving the vaccine.

Feb. 14

Cases are still on a steady decline in Kentucky.

Feb. 12

Feb. 11

9:08 p.m.: Gov. Andy Beshear announced 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.

“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.”

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.

2:02 p.m.: Although more overdose deaths have occurred during the pandemic compared to any previous year, across the Ohio Valley doctors and health workers have said the numbers of people seeking treatment have grown.

Treatment practices like distributing overdose reversal drugs aren’t new. But the scale of efforts have increased and so has the focus on needs at the local level. The pandemic has also prompted new approaches to addiction treatment.

Feb. 10

A WFPL News analysis of local and regional health department data on COVID deaths found counties reported 23% more deaths than the state had by Jan. 21, a number that was not passed on to the public as coronavirus deaths surged.

Read Ryan Van Velzer’s investigation.

Feb. 9

Gov. Andy Beshear announced the cancellation of vaccine appointments in three cities across Kentucky ahead of an ice storm predicted to hit Wednesday and continue through Thursday night.

Out of an abundance of caution, Beshear canceled appointments at Kroger regional vaccination sites in Bowling Green, Lexington and Covington on Thursday.

Feb. 7

Governor Andy Beshear said Sunday that Kentucky had four weeks in a row with declining new daily COVID-19 case counts. It’s the first time that happened during the pandemic.

The test positivity rate calculated by the state also improved, dropping below 8%. Beshear reported 1,532 new cases.

He also announced 31 new deaths. On Saturday, he said more than 4,000 Kentuckians had died from COVID-19.

Feb. 6

Kentucky has surpassed another grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic. Saturday Gov. Andy Beshear reported the state’s death toll from COVID-19 has now reached more than 4,000 people. Beshear reported 49 new deaths, bringing total deaths to 4,020. 

The state marked 3,000 deaths just weeks ago in mid-January.

The governor also reported another 1,998 new cases. The state’s seven-day average of new cases has been on the decline after a post-holiday surge. But public health officials are worried about Super Bowl gatherings becoming super-spreader events, and are warning people to avoid hosting or attending parties.

Feb. 5

Governor Andy Beshear reported another 2,261 new cases of coronavirus. He also reported another 50 deaths. The state’s death toll is now 3,971.

It’s been four weeks since Kentucky crossed the 3,000-death mark.

Beshear said there are 1,318 currently in the hospital with COVID-19, with 330 of them in the intensive care unit and 167 on ventilators. Those numbers were slightly down compared to Thursday

The governor asked people to keep their Super Bowl gatherings small this weekend, and to use safety precautions like mask-wearing and social distancing.

Feb. 3

New COVID-19 cases in Kentucky have continued to decrease compared to recent weeks. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced 2,592 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday. The state’s positivity rate is 8.5%, continuing a recent downward trend.

Despite the decrease in new cases, Beshear reported 51 new deaths. Since the onset of the pandemic, 3,863 people have died from the virus in the commonwealth.

Feb. 2

Two prominent Kentucky public health officials are recommending Jefferson County Board of Education open classes to in-person learning once staff are vaccinated.

Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness Director Dr. Sarah Moyer and Kentucky Deputy Commissioner for Public Health Dr. Connie White told the school board they believe JCPS should open, even though the county has seen months of uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus.

“There’s just a whole list of reasons that, with mitigations in place, it is much safer to open schools at this point than to not open them,” White told the board at its Tuesday night meeting.

Read more from Jess Clark.

Feb. 1

New cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky declined for the third straight week as the state accelerated the pace of vaccinations, according to state officials.

Gov. Andy Beshear said it’s only the second time in the pandemic the state’s seen this kind of sustained decline. New cases plateaued after both the 2020 spring and summer surges, whereas now, Kentucky is reporting a three-week decline in both cases and in the state’s test positivity rate.

Jan. 31

Jan. 30

Louisville surpassed 800 deaths from the coronavirus on Saturday as hospitalizations level off and the rate of new cases declines, according to the city’s COVID-19 dashboard.

The number of new COVID-19 cases has declined about 27% over the last three weeks, from 4,100 new cases the week of Jan. 9, to 3,000 cases the week of Jan. 23.

Meanwhile, the rate the virus is spreading across the population appears to be falling. During a virtual town hall Saturday morning, Mayor Greg Fischer said average daily cases declined to 56.6 per 100,000 residents after peaking around 78 earlier this month.

University of Louisville Vice Dean of Research Dr. Jon Klein says the decline in cases indicates that the virus has run its course and burned its way through some of the community. He says it’s also a reflection of the community following  health guidelines. 

But Klein says the city isn’t out of the woods yet. Hospitalizations, ICU admissions and the number of people on ventilators remain relatively flat, or show a slow decrease.

“If there’s a chance of another surge in April or May because of these variants, we certainly want to see these numbers lower before we go into that surge… and I think we will,” Klein said.

Jan. 29

Kentucky had another 2,608 COVID-19 cases Friday. Governor Andy Beshear also said 57 additional people died due to the virus.

Almost 3,700 Kentuckians have now lost their lives to COVID-19.

Beshear said the rate of positive tests in the state continues to go down. He said that’s because precautionary measures such as mask-wearing are helping slow the spread of the virus.

The number of Kentucky residents in the hospital due to COVID-19 remained steady at about 1,500. There were 370 in the ICU, the same as Thursday. And the number of patients on ventilators increased slightly, from 199 to 205.

Beshear also extended the state’s moratorium on evictions. He issued an executive order Friday to move the end of the moratorium from January 31 to March 31.

The move follows a similar extension by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is also banning evictions for an additional two months. The new CDC director appointed by President Joe Biden took that step last week, on Inauguration Day.

In the order, Beshear said prohibiting evictions is “critical” to allowing Kentuckians to stay home and avoid spreading the coronavirus.

Jan. 26

Gov. Andy Beshear announced in a press release this evening that 2 cases of the UK variant of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Kentucky. The variant spreads more aggressively; Dr. Steven Stack will address it during tomorrow’s briefing.

Jan. 25

Kentucky’s daily total of new coronavirus cases was lower than it has been in a month and Gov. Andy Beshear says that’s due to restrictions he implemented before the holidays.

The state’s positivity rate fell below 10% for the first time this year, and is now sitting at 9.93%.

Jan. 24

The positivity rate calculated by the state was just over 10% on Sunday. It was the seventh day in a row that figure decreased.

Beshear announced 2,018 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest total for a Sunday in four weeks. He also reported 35 new deaths, bringing the death toll in Kentucky to 3,421.

Jan. 23

Governor Andy Beshear announced 3,795 new cases of coronavirus in Kentucky on Saturday. 49 more Kentuckians have lost their lives to the virus. 


Jan. 22

Jan. 21

Kentucky has again broken its record for daily COVID-19 deaths, exceeding 50 for just the third time during the pandemic.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced 58 deaths at Thursday’s coronavirus press briefing. He called the high number “staggering,” and said the state will place a memorial at the Capitol for those who have died.

“We’re going to end up placing an American flag on our grounds for every single individual that we’ve lost,” Beshear said. “As we move forward, we’re going to keep doing that. These are all children of God, loved by their families, needed by their community, and deeply, deeply missed.”

Kentucky’s COVID-19 mortality rate sits at about 1%, Beshear said. That’s less than the national and global averages, which are 1.7% and 2.2%, respectively.

Jan. 20

Nearly a year into the pandemic, many of the events called off last year due to COVID-19 concerns are being canceled once again.

The latest is the popular Cherokee Triangle Art Fair.

The Cherokee Triangle Association announced Tuesday that this year’s fair would not take place. 

In a statement posted on its website, the association said “it would be unwise to continue to plan” for this year’s event given the rise in COVID infections, and they look forward to hosting it in 2022. 

The fair is usually held the weekend before the Kentucky Derby.

Jan 19

Kentucky is entering new phases of its vaccination plan, but Jefferson County isn’t expected to move as quickly. That’s in part because the county is a hub for medical care and has the state’s largest public school district. “We have more health care workers,” said Dr. Sarah Moyer, Louisville’s chief health strategist. “We also have more educators as a bigger county, so it’s going to take us [longer] to get through that.”

Louisville officials say the city’s vaccine waitlist is currently at about 53,000 as demand is outstripping supply.

On Tuesday evening, the Jefferson County Board of Education voted to allow winter sports to begin. Board member Corrie Shull, one of two members who voted no, said he was “deeply troubled” by the move given the current rate of COVID infections.

Jan. 18

Jan. 17

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear reported another 2,362 COVID-19 cases Sunday. The governor also reported that an additional 34 Kentuckians had died from coronavirus-related complications. That brings the state’s total death toll to 3,127. 

Beshear said 1,602 people are presently in the hospital due to COVID-19, with 410 in the ICU and 212 on ventilators.

Jan. 16

Jan. 15

There were nearly 4,000 new COVID-19 cases reported in Kentucky Friday. That brings the state’s total case count to more than 321,000.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced an additional 19 deaths. That came the day after Kentucky crossed 3,000 deaths related to COVID-19 since last March.

The governor expressed confidence that the state will continue to ramp up vaccinating residents.

The state’s daily report said more than 40,000 Kentuckians, or more than 12% of all cases in the state, have recovered.

Jan. 14

Gov. Andy Beshear announced plans on Thursday to significantly expand coronavirus vaccination opportunities beginning next month, on the same day he announced the state had crossed the 3,000 mark in fatalities. 

Jan. 13

Kentucky logged 4,560 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and 47 deaths, marking one of the deadliest days of the pandemic thus far.

The new deaths due to COVID-19 amount to the third-highest total since the pandemic struck the commonwealth in March.

Jan. 12

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said in his Tuesday briefing on coronavirus that state officials are still waiting to see how bad the post-holiday surge of new cases will be — even as the state reported 3,053 new cases.

The state’s rate of positive tests for the virus rose above 12%.

Jan. 11

Kentucky added 2,085 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and 21 new deaths. Monday’s cases were a slight decline after last week, which saw the highest number of new cases since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Last week’s increase appears to be the result of holiday gatherings, though Gov. Andy Beshear added that it’s possible the highly transmissible variant first found in the United Kingdom had made its way to Kentucky (Indiana reported its first case of the variant Monday.) 

Hospitalizations remain relatively flat while 119 of 120 Kentucky counties continue to see uncontrolled spread of the virus, he said. 

Jan. 10

Kentucky passed another coronavirus milestone over the weekend, when the total number of cases surpassed 300,000. Gov. Andy Beshear took note of the moment in a Facebook video posted on Saturday,

The milestone was reached on the same day the Republican controlled legislature sent Beshear legislation that would limit his powers during the pandemic.

On Sunday, the state logged another 3,232 cases and 25 additional deaths. The death toll from the coronavirus in the state now stands at 2,901.

Jan. 8

Kentucky’s three worst days of the coronavirus pandemic have all come this week.

Gov. Andy Beshear reported 4,750 cases Friday, the third-highest total of the pandemic. It comes two days after Kentucky set a new record for daily cases.

Beshear has reported 15,403 new cases over the past three days. He said the state is entering another acceleration in spread.

Jan. 7

With Cancelled Bank Contract, Unemployed Can No Longer Get Benefits On Debit Cards

A popular method for receiving unemployment insurance claims will no longer be available in Kentucky after January 31. 

The Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance says Bank of America didn’t renew its contract with the state’s unemployment insurance office to load payments on a debit card, and the cards will no longer process Kentucky unemployment payments. The unemployment office informed card users of the change on December 30th.

That means those who previously received their benefits on the debit cards will now receive checks, which can be a burden for people without bank accounts. 

“For most people a low fee unemployment insurance debit card is a better option than a paper check,”  said Lauren Saunders, the Associate Director of the National Consumer Law Center. “You get your money faster, you don’t have to pay a check casher, you can use it online, or over the phone. There are a lot of obvious reasons why having an account and a card is better than a papercheck.”

Saunders said there are plenty of options for setting up a bank account online which carry low fees and no account balance minimums. Cities for Financial Empowerment has created national standards for affordable bank accounts. There are four banks available to consumers in Kentucky that meet those standards.

Current Bank of America card holders will need to change their method of payment by January 31 or they will automatically begin receiving paper checks. A spokesperson for Kentucky’s unemployment office said claimants can also receive payments through direct deposit. 

The card’s balance must be spent by February 28 or they’ll be reissued the money in a check.

The coronavirus has escalated unemployment insurance claims nationwide, reaching over 100,000 weekly claims in Kentucky during the month of April. Demand for Bank of America’s debit cards surged.

Bank of America has struggled to administer the debit card program during the pandemic. The program was suspended in California when it was targeted in a massive fraud operation Bank of America says could total $2 billion.

Jan. 6

NUMBERS: Gov. Andy Beshear announced 5,742 new cases of the coronavirus in Kentucky Wednesday, the highest single-day case record by far.

Here are more numbers from Wednesday:

  • 11.7% positivity rate (11.4% yesterday)
  • 1,778 hospitalized (1,760)
  • 428 in the ICU (430)
  • 244 on a ventilator (215)
  • 2,806 Kentuckians have died from the virus
  • 286,541 total cases

COURT RESTRICTIONS EXTENDED: All jury trials are postponed until April 1 and all grand juries must be remote or suspended under the state Supreme Court’s new order.

Jan. 5

VACCINES: Louisville health officials are so pleased with the debut of their drive-through vaccination site on Monday, they expanded it.

SOUTHERN INDIANA: in Clark and Floyd Co.’s restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus have been extended.

Gov. Andy Beshear reported 1,781 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. Beshear says it was the lowest number of cases reported on a Tuesday in several weeks, but added that the data was “a little wonky” because holidays may have delayed lab results. Beshear expressed some frustration with the pace of vaccine delivery but also some solid progress, as the companies tasked with delivering shots to long-term care facilities are nearing their goals.

The state’s positivity rate remained high at 11.4% and 23 more people in Kentucky have died from COVID-19. However, Beshear was optimistic that schools will be able to resume in-person classes on Jan. 11 as planned, provided that schools can meet requirements laid out in his earlier executive order.

Jan. 4

THE VACCINE ROLLOUT: Gov. Andy Beshear is not pleased with the pace of the coronavirus vaccine rollout in Kentucky. On Monday, he announced a new approach, and released a schedule of vaccinations for citizens of all ages and job categories. Here’s the latest, plus an update on COVID-19 for this first Monday of 2021.

Jan. 3

Gov. Andy Beshear reported 2,860 new cases this afternoon, a record number for a Sunday, when cases are usually lower due to labs being closed. 

The previous record for a Sunday was on Nov. 29, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, when the state confirmed 2,803 new cases.

Dec. 29

CORONAVIRUS RELIEF:  Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday Kentucky should receive about $5 billion in the coronavirus relief legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Trump. Beshear also said he supports Trump’s and Senate Democrat’s push to increase stimulus checks for individuals to $2000 from $600. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked a vote on that increase on Tuesday.

Here’s Beshear’s breakdown of the financial support heading to Kentucky:

Assistance to Individuals

  • Direct Payments to Households – $2,265,302,000
  • Unemployment Insurance, $300/week for 11 weeks – $489,614,031
  • Rental/Utility/Energy Assistance – $297,396,819


  • Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund – $928,275,000
  • Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund – $261,015,000
  • Governor’s Education Emergency Relief Fund-2/3rds for private schools – $60,305,000

Families and Seniors

  • Child Care Development Block Grant – $192,822,381
  • Promoting Safe & Stable Families – $1,004,000
  • Meals for Seniors – 2,259,000
  • Chafee Foster Care Program – $5,879,000
  • Chafee Education & Training Vouchers-Foster Youth – $899,000
  • Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant – $19,221,000
  • Mental Health Block Grant – $21,560,000

Fighting the Virus

  • Testing, Tracing and Mitigation – $289,654,359
  • Vaccine Distribution – $56,965,810


  • Federal Highways-Surface Transportation Block Grant – $164,914,864
  • FAA-Airport Improvement Program – $28,249,556

VACCINES: The Beshear Administration has outlined plans for the second phase of coronavirus vaccinations in Kentucky, as more shipments of vaccine are due to arrive before the end of the year.

Dec. 28.

QUARLES  PASSES ON VACCINE:  Another round of Kentucky government officials received the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, but Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles says he will pass on the opportunity for now.

Quarles is 37 years old and says he would rather have his place in line for the vaccine go to a frontline worker or long-term care resident.

“I understand the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendation that officials like the Governor and top legislators be vaccinated for the sake of government continuity, but I do not believe rank-and-file politicians should be leapfrogging over those who are at higher risk of infection,” Quarles said.

Secretary of State Michael Adams, Auditor Mike Harmon, Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Lisabeth Hughes and Justice Samuel Wright received the vaccination on Monday in the state Capitol Rotunda.

The latest round comes after Gov. Andy Beshear, leaders of the legislature and other top state government officials received vaccinations last week.

Hospitals around the state have been administering the vaccine to health care workers since Dec. 14 and long-term care facilities have been vaccinating residents and staff since Dec. 21.

According to Beshear’s office, as of Monday, coronavirus vaccines have been administered to more than 11,000 Kentuckians, mostly health care workers.

Beshear said more than 70% of the state’s population of 4.4 million needs to be vaccinated to defeat the virus. -Ryland Barton

Dec. 27

THE SUNDAY NUMBERS: Kentucky recorded an additional 1,509 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. Gov. Andy Beshear also reported an additional 21 deaths, bringing the death toll from the coronavirus to 2,555. As of Sunday, 91% of deaths statewide have occurred among people 60 years or older. Here’s the full report from Beshear.

Dec. 23

THE NUMBERS:  Gov. Andy Beshear reported almost 3,000 new cases of COVID-19 on the eve of the long Christmas holiday weekend. Jefferson Co. reported 415 new cases. Here’s the complete rundown:

  • New cases today: 2,953
  • New deaths today: 26
  • Positivity rate: 8.35%
  • Total deaths: 2,466
  • Currently hospitalized: 1,644
  • Currently in ICU: 413
  • Currently on ventilator: 222

COVID-19 VACCINE SCAM ALERT:  Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has issued a consumer protection alert on potential COVID-19 vaccine scams. He says fraudsters may try to obtain personal information or money by impersonating health officials, medical providers or vaccine distributors.

Typical scams could involve an offer of a quick vaccine in return for payment, or a request for Social Security number of bank information.

His office has not received any complaints about vaccine scams, but scammers have been busy during the pandemic, Cameron said.

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen scammers attempt to take advantage of consumers by capitalizing on the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, whether it be with fraudulent pop-up testing sites, fake COVID-19 cures, or online work-from-home scams, and we expect that scammers will try to use the rollout of the new vaccine to their advantage,” Cameron said.

His office offered these guidelines on ways to avoid being scammed:

*Do not pay for the promise of a vaccine. If someone promises immediate or early access to the   vaccine in return for payment, it is a scam.

*You should not receive an unsolicited call asking for your Social Security number or your credit card or bank account information to sign up to get the vaccine. If you do receive such a call, you should hang up and verify the source of the caller before proceeding further.

*Beware of individuals who contact you offering products, such as medicine or treatments, which they claim are as effective as the vaccine. Check with your healthcare provider before paying for or receiving any COVID-19-related treatment.

If you think you’ve received a scam call, report it to the attorney general’s office at 1-888-432-9257 or online.

Dec. 22

VACCINE #2: The Moderna coronavirus vaccine is in Kentucky now. Gov. Andy Beshear, the first lady Britainy Beshear and other state officials received it Tuesday in a public event aimed at dispelling concerns people may have about it. Beshear also stressed that it’s a two-shot vaccine, and if you get one, be sure to get the booster.


  • New cases today: 3,057
  • New deaths today: 28
  • Positivity rate: 8.48%
  • Total deaths: 2,440
  • Currently hospitalized: 1,631
  • Currently in ICU: 419
  • Currently on ventilator: 223

Looking for older updates? Visit the archive here.