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COVID-19 outbreak reported at eastern Kentucky nursing home, appears to be new variant

Posted at 4:18 PM, Mar 16, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — A new variant of COVID-19 has been reported at an eastern Kentucky nursing home.

State leaders say an unvaccinated person brought it into the undisclosed facility. 41 people, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, have tested positive for the variant inside the nursing home. They include 27 residents and 14 healthcare workers.

Only around 30% of those who have been vaccinated are showing symptoms compared to 83% of those unvaccinated.

Five residents have been hospitalized, including one person who is vaccinated.

Officials say most of those who have gotten the virus that have been vaccinated have not gotten seriously ill. Dr. Steven Stack says of the 71 people inside the facility that are vaccinated, only one is in the hospital. 13 people in the facility are unvaccinated, and four are in the hospital.

"Vaccination appears to be doing exactly what we hoped it would: protecting people from severe illness and hopefully, protecting them from death for those who have become sick," said Dr. Steven Stack, Kentucky's public health commissioner.

Tuesday COVID-19 Update:

Gov. Andy Beshear also announced that 819 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Kentucky.

"That is the lowest Tuesday in about a month," Gov. Beshear noted.

Kentucky's positivity rate continues to remain under 4%. Monday's positivity rate was 3.87%.

Gov. Beshear also announced 24 new coronavirus-related deaths, bringing Kentucky's coronavirus-related death total to 5,029.

COVID-19 Update in Kentucky Prisons:

As of Tuesday, there are 628 inmates in Kentucky prisons that are currently infected with COVID-19. There are also 48 active staff members at Kentucky prisons that are currently infected. Kentucky Secretary of the Executive Cabinet J. Michael Brown noted that the majority of the active cases come from just two institutions.

"Eleven of our 14 institutions have no active cases right now, but we do have a serious outbreak at the Kentucky State Penitentiary," Brown said. "If you look at the 628 active cases, 555 of those cases are accounted for at the (Kentucky State) Penitentiary, another 70 at the Western Correctional Institution."