FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Health officials are joining together to encourage Kentuckians to stay up to date on immunizations ahead of what they say is expected to be a severe flu and COVID season, even as the latest COVID Community Levels map shows a big improvement in the state.

“These vaccines are the exact same technology that has been used all along,” said State Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack. “They are also the same technology that has been used to immunize hundreds of millions of Americans.  They are well proven, highly safe and very effective and well tolerated.”

“Kentuckians may be living as if the pandemic is over, but we can’t completely let our guard down,” noted Ben Chandler, president and CEO, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.  “People are still getting sick, some are still going to the hospital, and some are still dying from COVID.  Others are having long-term symptoms after getting the infection.  We don’t know how the virus will impact an individual and we must take the precautions we have available.”  

The Community Levels map breaks down the COVID level by county, with green for low, yellow for medium and red for high levels, which the CDC says is designed to help individuals and communities decide which prevention actions to take based on hospitalizations and cases.

The COVID Community Levels map release Friday has seen the number of green counties skyrocket to 50, with 48 yellow and 22 in the red, primarily in eastern Kentucky. Compare this to the map released on September 2, which had 8 green counties, 42 yellow and 70 in the red.

For more details on Kentucky’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, community levels, guidance and more, go to the state’s website,

While at a much lower level than COVID, the number of monkeypox cases in Kentucky continue to rise, with 50 cases reported as of Thursday, September 22.  That is up from 31 at the beginning of the month.

There have now been 29 cases in Jefferson County, Fayette has 7, Warren 4, Christian and Kenton have each had 2, and one apiece in Barren, Hardin, Hopkins, McCracken, Montgomery and Oldham counties.

There have been more than 24,000 monkeypox cases across the U.S, according to the CDC.

Flu season has just begun, so the Kentucky Department for Public Health will begin issuing weekly reports for the 2022-23 season beginning Friday, October 14.