Coronavirus Health

With holidays approaching, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear asked people to avoid leisure travel as he announced 2,946 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. Beshear also met Tuesday with White House appointed Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, who said that Kentucky’s COVID-19 efforts have saved lives. 

Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Department for Public Health, said Dr. Birx also discussed the severity of asymptomatic transmissions of the virus.

“Asymptomatic transmissions, meaning people who have no symptoms, while they are infected but are actively spreading infection is a major, major source of transmitting disease,” Stack said. “And therefore you cannot assume just because you or others say they feel well that they are not infected or spreading disease.”

Kentucky received shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine this week and those reached more of the state’s hospitals Tuesday. Hospital workers have received some of the first doses. 

Beshear announced 15 new deaths, including two more veterans from the Thomson Hood Veterans Center in Wilmore, bringing its total number of deaths to 33. But Beshear also noted that case numbers in veterans facilities have declined.

“There are no active cases of COVID-19 in veterans in any four of the veterans centers now in Hazard, Wilmore, Radcliff or Hanson,” Beshear said. “There are zero new COVID positive cases in veterans in any of the centers, and Thomson Hood has now gone 30 days without a new COVID positive veteran.”

An Ohio Valley ReSource analysis of new data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers the most detailed view yet of how the current surge in cases is stressing hospitals around the region. In West Virginia, for example, hospitals in four counties have reached ICU capacity, according to the data analysis. West Virginia hit a grim milestone Tuesday, topping a thousand total deaths from COVID-19.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and other state officials received the vaccine on Monday. 



Ohio reported 103 new deaths and 8,755 new cases of coronavirus Tuesday. The ReSource data analysis shows several dozen Ohio ICU units have reached 80 percent capacity or greater — some are at 100% capacity.

Corinne Boyer covers health issues from partner station WEKU in Richmond, KY. Previously, she covered western Kansas for the Kansas News Service at High Plains Public Radio, where she received two Kansas Association of Broadcasters awards for her reporting on immigrant communities. Before living on the High Plains, Corinne was a newspaper reporter in Oregon. She earned her master’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and interned at KLCC, Eugene’s NPR affiliate. Corinne grew up near the South Carolina coast and is a graduate of the College of Charleston. She has also lived in New York City and South Korea.