Kentucky receiving large batch of vaccine after bad weather

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky is receiving a large shipment of COVID-19 vaccine this week after winter weather delayed last week’s batch.

Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday the state is receiving about 152,000 doses, about twice the usual amount. Beshear said the high volume of doses would be a good test for the state’s distribution system. Last week the state received just 6,800 doses due to shipping delays.

“It’s a very good test in where we need to get” when larger dose shipments start arriving later the year, Beshear said at a pandemic briefing Tuesday.

Beshear also on Tuesday issued an executive order encouraging schools to return students to in-person learning in March. Most school district in the state have returned to some form of in-person classroom learning, Beshear said. But six districts, including the state’s largest in Louisville, are still only conducting instruction online.

The executive order recommends that districts begin offering in-person learning by March 1, unless teachers and school staff still need vaccinations. In that case, the order recommends that schools offer in-person learning seven days after staff and teachers receive their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The state’s second largest district, in Lexington, began returning students to the classroom this week.

The state reported 1,497 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 16 virus-related deaths. The positivity rate was 6.3%, which Beshear said was the lowest mark since Nov. 4.