Ky. Public Health Commissioner touches on end of national COVID-19 health emergency

Published 4:00 pm Friday, May 12, 2023

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Since the federal government has declared the national public health emergency due to COVID-19 over after more than three years, Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack talked about where we go from here.

“This day is a long time in coming, and it’s a very welcome day for us all,” he said during a Capitol press conference on Thursday. “The CDC and the Kentucky Department for Public Health data reports are going to change, because much of the data that is needed to generate them will no longer be collected.”

The CDC Community Levels map which showed high, medium or low levels of the virus broken down by county will no longer appear, as the data won’t be collected going forward.

The COVID-19 incidence rate map, which started with how many people per 100,000 population were infected will also disappear, since the state won’t get that information consistently.

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Stack says some state-specific metrics, such as total cases by county and the mortality count, will only be updated monthly on the COVID-19 website, and the hospital rate will also be reported less frequently.

One example of why data won’t be updated as often, according to Stack: “Health and Human Services has said that we are at a 95% reduction for deaths that we had reporting daily from the peak of the COVID pandemic. We have come a long way from the peak.”

The state’s COVID-19 website,, will also change, he said. “It’ll be simpler, shorter, but still include relevant information for Kentuckians.”

While COVID vaccines and boosters will remain available at no cost for now from pharmacies, health departments and many medical offices, Stack says later this year people will have to use their insurance.

He reminded Kentuckians to “be mindful that COVID-19 is not gone, it will not disappear. Remaining vigilant and supportive of each other is really important. Although it will be done less prominently, Kentucky’s public health system and the Kentucky Department for Public Health will continue to monitor trends, keep the Governor updated and make sure we share updates with you as they occur.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a once in a century all of humanity event,” Stack concluded. “Our lives were disrupted profoundly, and in some ways indelibly. Despite the difficulties and distress, in my opinion Kentuckians pulled together, widely supported each other and showed kindness and caring for each other that inspires and gives hope.”