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More vaccines distributed, but the case numbers continue to climb

Posted at 9:42 PM, Jan 11, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Close to 400 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Lexington over the weekend, according to the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.

That continues the trend from November and December, which were the worst two months of the pandemic in Lexington. Currently, the seven-day rolling average of daily cases is 242.

School buildings remain closed, dining restricted, and businesses are shutting down. But there is a shot of hope on the way, and with every vaccine administered, we are one step closer to normalcy.

Unfortunately, there's still a long way to go. In Lexington, vaccine distribution is in the midst of Phase 1A. That includes more than 20,000 healthcare workers.

"We are only given a certain amount of vaccines every week and we need to make sure to use every last dose," said Christina King with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.

While the hospitals and larger health care organizations handle their own vaccinations, many smaller clinics and facilities rely on the local health department. There is a form set up on their website to sign up for a notification, and King says those workers will be notified when it is time to register for a clinic.

"We know everyone is scared. They're worried, and we want to reassure them as much as we can, but we don't know until Monday. Then we release those," said King.

King says about 2,500 vaccines have been administered since mid-December, with the number going up each week. Jay Blanton with the University of Kentucky says more than 6,000 UK Healthcare employees have received the first dose.

"I think the fact that so many UK HealthCare employees have wanted to do it has underscored, I think, how much people want to move through the process and get to the other side of it," said Blanton.

Blanton says once the employees are vaccinated, the focus will move to faculty, staff and students who may work in healthcare facilities. UK will lean on its public health infrastructure in place, including the Emergency Operations Center and Health Corps, to handle the logistics. Blanton also confirmed that UK will assist Fayette County Public Schools with administering vaccines.

"And so we've started to talk with school officials, very early conversations. We just started over the weekend about how and if we can help with the process," said Blanton.

Fayette County Public Schools have not returned to in-person classes since the pandemic began. Last week, the school board announced that the district will remain virtual until at least January 22.