CDC, state now utilizing a new community transmission model
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 28, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear and Department for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack discussed Friday’s updated guidance and data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and provided information on living as safely as possible with COVID.
The CDC is now using a new “community transmission” model that uses the number of new COVID-19 cases at a county level, percent of hospital capacity devoted to COVID-19 patients and the number of new patients with COVID admitted to the hospital in the past week. This data is produced, mapped and will be updated weekly at the county level on the CDC website.
The Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) will take the data file produced by the CDC and use it to generate a three-tiered, stoplight-colored map that will be posted on kycovid19.ky.gov to make it easy for Kentuckians to quickly see the transmission level for their own county. This will be updated weekly when the CDC shares and posts its new data.
Kentuckians are strongly encouraged to align their personal mitigation measures to the risk level of their county and the matching guidance in this table.
KDPH will also update its K-12 school guidance. Vaccination, disease isolation, targeted mask use and test-to-stay programs are strongly encouraged. Detailed documents to provide further details for schools are currently being revised to align with new CDC guidance.
Gov. Beshear also announced that masks are no longer required in state office buildings. However, the following agencies will continue to require face coverings: Kentucky Department of Veteran Affairs-run nursing homes; Department of Corrections correctional institutions; Cabinet for Health and Family Services-run psychiatric hospitals and immediate care facilities; agencies providing food, beverage and housekeeping services; and other congregant settings as determined by an agency’s appointing authority.
“I ask everyone to be thoughtful about your and your family’s personal safety. If you have pre-existing conditions, consider continuing to mask up. If you interact with the public a lot, consider continuing to mask up,” said Gov. Beshear. “To everybody, let’s be respectful and even encouraging of people’s decision that they want to continue to mask.”
The Governor and Dr. Stack also said baseline guidance for living safely with COVID includes:
- Get vaccinated;
- Keep up to date with vaccine boosters;
- Isolate when sick or after testing positive for COVID-19;
- Consider targeted mask use following exposures and for high-risk persons; and
- Follow applicable state and local guidance.
“Fortunately, our COVID-19 numbers still heading in a good direction,” said Dr. Stack. “As we look to the third year of the pandemic, we have arrived at a very different place than where we started. Now, effective vaccines, boosters, treatments and tests are widely available. These tools lessen the individual and societal severity of COVID-19.”
COVID-19 Case Information, Vaccinations Update
Number of people who have received at least one vaccine dose in Kentucky: 2,882,345
Number of people who have received their vaccination booster in Kentucky: 1,076,684
Feb. 26, Cases: 1,602
Feb. 26, Deaths: 42
Feb. 27, Cases: 481
Feb. 27, Deaths: 22
New Cases Today: 671
New Deaths: 34
Today’s Positivity Rate: 8.56%
Current Hospitalizations: 962
Current Intensive Care Admittances: 203
Currently on Ventilators: 112
During the week ending Feb. 27, 13,305 cases were reported in Kentucky and the average test positivity rate was 9.01%.
Dr. Stack also warned Kentuckians about Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C), a rare but serious condition that occurs two to six weeks after COVID-19 infection. MIS-C occurs most often in school-age children and can also occur after asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 illness. To prevent MIS-C, Kentuckians must prevent the spread of COVID-19 and lessen its impact by getting vaccinated. Improving statewide vaccination rates of school-age children is key to protecting them from this potentially devastating complication.
Govs. Beshear, DeWine Pledge to Seek Federal Funding for Brent Spence Bridge Project
Gov. Beshear and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced today that they will jointly pursue up to $2 billion in federal funding to drastically reduce traffic congestion on and around the Brent Spence Bridge, which connects Covington, Kentucky, to Cincinnati, Ohio. The requested funds would primarily be used to build a new companion bridge over the Ohio River to give drivers an alternative to the Brent Spence Bridge.
As part of today’s announcement, Govs. Beshear and DeWine signed a memorandum of understanding confirming the states’ intention to work together on the bridge project. The memorandum also directs transportation officials in both states to begin preparations for construction. A more detailed interstate agreement will be signed later this year. To see the full release, click here.
“With today’s signing, the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the State of Ohio are aligning our efforts to make this project a reality,” said Gov. Beshear. “This memorandum spells out our obligations and positions us to quickly apply for these federal dollars, which will allow us not only to build this new bridge, but to do it without tolls! And just as important: This project shows what we in government can do when we embrace cooperation and progress and simply do what is best for our people.”
Team Western Kentucky Relief Fund
Today the Governor announced that $5.7 million in assistance payments from the Western Kentucky Tornado Relief fund are headed to renters and homeowners who were recently affected by the devastating weather event. The payments are for reimbursements to help cover up to $2,500 out of pocket deductible payments. The reimbursement checks are being allocated to Kentuckians who made a tornado-related insurance claim in one of the 16 counties where FEMA declared a federal disaster.
These checks for renters and homeowners are the latest round of assistance payments from the Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund. So far, $800,000 has been provided to families to help cover funeral expenses to the families of those killed as a result of the tornado. Another $2 million in assistance was sent to uninsured homeowners and renters who were displaced or affected by the December storm.
President Biden Approves Kentucky Disaster Declaration
President Joe Biden declared that a major disaster exists in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and ordered federal assistance to supplement commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe storms from Dec. 31, 2021, to Jan. 2, 2022.
Federal funding is available to commonwealth and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes, flooding, landslides and mudslides in the counties of Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Christian, Clay, Floyd, Green, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Owsley, Pike and Taylor. Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for the entire commonwealth. Those eligible should contact Kentucky Emergency Management for more information.
The Governor reminded storm survivors who reside in Barren, Caldwell, Christian, Fulton, Graves, Hart, Hickman, Hopkins, Logan, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Taylor or Warren counties that the deadline to apply for FEMA assistance is Monday, March 14. To apply for FEMA assistance, visit DisasterAssistance.gov, use the FEMA mobile app or call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362.
Goodwill and Norton Healthcare Partner for Historic Investment
Last week, Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, Norton Healthcare and the Governor announced a $100 million investment in West Louisville that will bring a collection of life-enhancing programs and services to one of Kentucky’s most underserved communities. The investment will transform a 20-acre brownfield site located at 28th Street and Broadway into an Opportunity Campus that will house Goodwill’s headquarters operation, career services, a collection of local social service agencies and Norton Healthcare’s new $70 million hospital. To see the full release, click here.