(English & en español) LFCHD to give FREE flu shots

(Haga clic aquí para el español.)

UPDATED SEPT. 30: Registration for Saturday’s drive-thru flu shot event is now closed. If you need a flu shot, you can get one free by appointment only starting Oct. 5 in our Public Health Clinic, 650 Newtown Pike. Call 859-288-2444 starting Oct. 5 to make an appointment.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is giving you the chance to fight the flu for free while maintaining safety precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Drive-Thru (13 and Older)

Saturday’s drive-thru flu shot event is now open to anyone 13 years old and above. The event is 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, at Consolidated Baptist Church, 1625 Russell Cave Road. You must register in advance for a time slot at lfchd.org/drivethru2020. Slots are available to provide up to 400 free flu shots at this one-day event.

Free Flu Shots in Public Health Clinic

Starting Monday, Oct. 5, flu shots will also be available for free all season by appointment only at LFCHD’s Public Health Clinic, 650 Newtown Pike. Please call 859-288-2444 to make an appointment, starting Oct. 5; walk-ins will not be accepted due to requirements to maintain physical distancing in the clinic.

“An annual flu shot is the best way to fight the flu each fall and winter,” LFCHD spokesperson Kevin Hall said. “The flu shot is especially important this season as we remain in the COVID-19 pandemic. It can help reduce the overall impact on respiratory illnesses on the population, which will lessen the burden on our healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Last flu season, Lexington had 3 deaths from flu-related causes and 742 lab-confirmed cases.

In addition to helping prevent you from getting sick with flu, a flu shot can reduce the severity of your illness if you do get flu and reduce your risk of a flu-associated hospitalization.

The seasonal flu shot is recommended for all people ages 6 months and older and is especially important for people at the highest risk of serious complications from the flu: infants and young children, pregnant women, anyone with underlying medical conditions and adults 50 and older. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC is also urging the flu shot for essential workers, including healthcare personnel and long-term care facility staff; and people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including adults 65 and older, residents of long-term care facilities and anyone with underlying health conditions.

For additional information about the 2020-21 flu season, like the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LFCHD, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/LFCHD and Instagram at @lexpublichealth. For questions about the flu shot, call the Public Health Clinic at 859-288-2444.

(English & en español) Special FREE testing for COVID-19 Aug. 5-8

UPDATED Aug. 3 English & en español:
COVID-19 continues to spread in Lexington, with cases disproportionately affecting the city’s African-American and Hispanic populations. Of the 3,400 total cases, 687 (20 percent) are among African-Americans, a group that makes up 15 percent of the city’s population, and 947 (28 percent) identify as Hispanic, a group that makes up 7 percent of Lexington’s population.

The City of Lexington and the Lexington Division of Emergency Management are providing free COVID-19 testing later this week at Consolidated Baptist Church, 1625 Russell Cave Road.

• 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8
• 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 6
• 12-8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7
• 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8

Drive-ups and walk-ups will be accepted. No appointment is necessary. Testers will ask for insurance, but testing is free, even without insurance.

For more information, call the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s COVID-19 hotline at 859-899-2222.

El COVID-19 continúa extendiéndose en Lexington, con un aumento desproporcionado de casos entre la población afroamericana e hispana de la ciudad. Entre el total de los 3,400 casos, 687 casos (20 por ciento) son entre la comunidad afroamericana, un grupo que compone el 15 por ciento de la población de la ciudad y 947 (28 por ciento) se identifican como hispanos, un grupo que compone el 7 por ciento de la población de Lexington.

Más tarde esta semana, la Ciudad de Lexington y la División de Manejo de Emergencias de Lexington estarán proveyendo pruebas gratuitas de COVID-19 en Consolidated Baptist Church, 1625 Russell Cave Road:

• 9 a.m.-4 p.m. miércoles, 5 de agosto
• 11 a.m.-7 p.m. jueves, 6 de agosto
• 12-8 p.m. viernes, 7 de agosto
• 9 a.m.-4 p.m. sábado, 8 de agosto

Personas en autos o a pie serán aceptadas. No hace falta cita. Se le preguntará si tiene seguro médico, pero las pruebas son gratuitas, incluso sin seguro médico. Para más información, llame al centro de llamadas para el COVID-19 del Departamento de Salud de Lexington-Condado de Fayette al 859-899-2222.

COVID-19 update: 5 deaths in Lexington residents

APRIL 2, 2020: There are 3 new deaths in the last 24 hours in Fayette County residents related to COVID-19, bringing the total deaths in Lexington to 5, with 120 confirmed cases. The new deaths were in a person in their 60s, one in their 70s and one in their 80s. The two previous deaths were people in their 80s. Our hearts are with the families and friends of these victims.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19 among everyone, especially high-risk groups (people over 60 or with chronic health conditions), please follow public health guidelines and practice physical distancing by staying home as much as possible. You should only get out for necessities and stay at least 6 feet away from others when you do go somewhere.

Learn more about COVID-19 at lexingtonhealthdepartment.org/covid19/.

1st COVID-19 case reported in Lexington resident

MARCH 8, 2020: Mayor Linda Gorton and Commissioner of Health Dr. Kraig Humbaugh announce Lexington’s first case of COVID-19 (2019 novel coronavirus). Health officials are working with the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) to identify and speak with all those who may have come in close contact with the person. These individuals will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms. There are four confirmed cases in Kentucky.

Additional details about the person cannot be provided because of medical privacy laws.

“We can, and we will, get through this,” Mayor Gorton said. “We need to take care of the elderly, pay attention to basic hygiene, and remember there’s no need to panic. Just use common sense and be prepared. We will make sure you stay informed.”

The health department offered these tips to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Senior adults and those with chronic health conditions are at higher risk for complications of COVID-19. The CDC recommends the following for people over the age of 60 and anyone with heart, lung or kidney disease, cancer or diabetes:

  • Stay at home as much as possible.
  • Make sure you have access to medications and supplies in case you are advised to stay home.
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
  • Avoid crowds.

COVID-19 is an emerging disease and the health department is staying up-to-date on the latest information.

To help answer the community’s questions about COVID-19, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is operating a call center for members of the public. Questions can be asked by calling (859) 899-2222 during regular business hours or emailing COVID19@lfchd.org. Additional information, including frequently asked questions, can be found at lfchd.org and on the LFCHD social media accounts. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LFCHD, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LFCHD and Instagram at @lexpublichealth.

Download the COVID-19 flyer here: Download

NEW DATE: Rabies clinic moves to May 14 at Douglass Park

UPDATED MAY 8, 2019: Because of the weather forecast, our low-cost rabies vaccination clinic has been RESCHEDULED to 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, at Douglass Park, 726 Georgetown Street. Vaccinations will cost just $3. All cats must be in a carrier, and all dogs must be on leashes. In the event of inclement weather, the clinic date is subject to change. The health department will provide updated information at www.lexingtonhealthdepartment.org and on its Twitter account at www.twitter.com/LFCHD.

Rabies, a viral disease of humans, pets and wild animals, is transmitted from animals to humans by the saliva of a rabid animal, usually from a bite. Rabies vaccinations typically cost about $20, making this clinic a great value to pet owners. “A rabies shot gives protection to the pet as well as its owner and the other people of Lexington,” said Luke Mathis, LFCHD Environmental Health team leader and one of the event’s organizers. “We’re pleased to provide this useful public health service as we help Lexington be well.”

State law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets maintain a current rabies vaccination. The health department gave 542 rabies shots during the May 2018 clinic. The LFCHD Rabies Control Program investigated 316animal bite reports last year, with LFCHD staff making sure each animal was up to date on all rabies vaccination shots.

The clinic also provides pet owners with the opportunity to purchase an animal license for $8 if the animal has been spayed or neutered. A license costs $40 if the animal has not been fixed or the owner has no proof of alteration. Lexington-Fayette Animal Care and Control, the Lexington Humane Society, the Lexington-Fayette County Division of Parks and Recreation Department, Gainesway Small Animal Clinic and MedVet Medical and Cancer Center for Pets are also sponsoring the clinic.

For more information on the annual Rabies Clinic, call the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s Division of Environmental Health at (859) 231-9791. Be sure to like the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LFCHD, and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LFCHD  and Instagram at @lexpublichealth.

Mark Johnson named 2019 Dr. Rice C. Leach Public Health Hero

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s Board of Health has selected Mark Johnson as the 2019 Dr. Rice C. Leach Public Health Hero. The award is given annually to individuals who have demonstrated their dedication to improving the health of Lexington residents. The winner is announced each April as part of National Public Health Week (April 1-7, 2019).

Johnson received his Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Louisville and his Bachelors in Social Work degree from Morehead State University. He retired from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department in 2013. After a short break, he returned to the workforce and is currently a Program Coordinator for the Kentucky HIV/AIDS Program. Johnson has been a champion for HIV/AIDS, Cultural Diversity and Health Equity for 30 years. He used his positions at both local and state public health departments and at community-based organizations to create change, promote cultural competency, and influence policy to ensure all people have the opportunity to reach their full potential of health.

Johnson has received Lexington Urban League’s first “Individual Champion of Diversity” award, the inaugural Lexington Fairness “Out for Diversity” award, Kentucky Public Health Commissioner’s Award for Meritorious Achievements for Outstanding efforts in Health Equity and Community Leadership, UK Social Work Department’s inaugural Unsung Hero: Champion for Social Change Award, AIDS Volunteers, Inc.’s Legacy Award, Bluegrass Black Pride Trailblazer Award and was inducted into the Lexington Fairness Hall of Fame. Johnson has also been honored for his exercise classes and work with seniors and arthritis, and is a member of Bluegrass Black Pride, Inc.

“Mark Johnson has spent his career improving the life of others, particularly those most in need of public health services,” states an award nomination. “He provides a voice to the unheard by helping them find and develop their own voice and amplifying it to the world. Mark’s work in HIV awareness has brought countless people in for testing, allowing those who test positive to enter treatment. He fights daily as an advocate for those who are at high risk for HIV, making certain the world sees them as the people they are and not as statistics. Mark is also a champion for health equity and provides training to help people recognize their own personal biases and how to overcome them. By seeking to provide equality and equity to everyone, Mark has helped get people into care they might not otherwise have had access to.”

Another nomination stated that, “when most of us are done with our work day and heading home to unwind, you can often find Mark volunteering his time to increase education and raise awareness of how to prevent HIV infection or leading an exercise class to positively impact the health and wellness of our city.”

Johnson will be recognized at the April 8 Board of Health meeting held at 5:45 p.m. in Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s Dr. Rice C. Leach Community Room, 650 Newtown Pike. He will also be honored at the April 11 Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council meeting.

Previously known as the Public Health Hero Award, the Board of Health renamed the award in 2016 in memory of the late Dr. Rice C. Leach, Lexington’s former Commissioner of Health who spent more than 50 years as a public health physician. Leach died April 1, 2016.

Past winners include Dr. Svetla Slavova (2018), Reginald Thomas (2017), Dr. Rice C. Leach (2016), Dr. Susan Pollack and Marian F. Guinn (2015), the Rev. Willis Polk and Baby Health Service (2014), Anita Courtney and Teens Against Tobacco Use (2013); Vickie Blevins and Jay McChord (2012); Jill Chenault-Wilson and Dr. Malkanthie McCormick (2011); Dr. Jay Perman (2010); the Lexington Lions Club (2009); Dr. David Stevens and the late Dr. Doane Fischer (2008); Dr. Ellen Hahn, Mary Alice Pratt and Therese Moseley (2007); Dr. Andrew Moore and Rosa Martin (2006); Jan Brucato and Dragana Zaimovic (2005); and Dr. John Michael Moore, Ellen Parks and Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (2004). Dr. Robert Lam received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.

Pertussis cases confirmed in Lexington

(ARCHIVED from 2019) New cases of pertussis are being confirmed in Lexington schools, and the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department continues to work with Fayette County Public Schools to make parents aware of the threat of pertussis.

Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory illness spread by coughing and sneezing. It affects people of all ages but can be most serious in infants and those with chronic diseases.

The health department is recommending preventive antibiotics for high-risk students who were exposed to pertussis. This includes students with a chronic illness or weakened immune system and those who live in households with the following: a family member with a chronic illness or weakened immune system, an infant or a pregnant woman.

Any school-age children with symptoms of pertussis should stay home from school and visit their health care provider for evaluation, even if they have previously been vaccinated. If found to have probable or confirmed pertussis, they should remain out of school until completion of their antibiotics. For more information about pertussis, call 859-288-2437.

The early symptoms are similar to a common cold: runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever and coughing. After 1-2 weeks, the cough often gets worse, changing from a dry, hacking cough to bursts of uncontrollable, sometimes violent, coughing. During a coughing episode, it might be temporarily impossible to take a breath because of the intensity and repetition of the coughs. When finally able to breathe, the person might take a sudden gasp of air, which can cause a “whooping” sound. Vomiting and exhaustion can often follow a coughing spell.

The vaccine against pertussis is routine and required for school-age kids. One dose of the booster vaccine, called Tdap, is recommended for ages 11 and above for protection. Teenagers and adults who have never received the Tdap vaccine should check with their primary care provider or call the health department at 859-288-2483 to check availability. Although the vaccine is effective, immunity tends to decrease over time, making the booster important for older children and adults.

Be sure to like the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

New immunization requirements for 2018-19 school year

As Fayette County students prepare to head back to school, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is making sure they have plenty of opportunities to get their required vaccinations.

To beat the back-to-school rush, the health department will be offering low-cost immunizations by appointment at the Public Health Clinic at 650 Newtown Pike. To schedule an appointment or for more information about the immunizations, please call (859) 288-2483.

Participants must live in Fayette County, be 18 years or younger and be uninsured or underinsured. Medicaid is accepted. Immunization records must be brought to the appointment, and physicals will not be provided.

When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk and can spread diseases to others in their classrooms and community – including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated, and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer or other health conditions.

Fayette County students who are new to the school district or are entering kindergarten are required to bring a Kentucky immunization certificate in order to enroll. Sixth-grade students are also required to have certain boosters and must bring an up-to-date immunization certificate. Please call the health department’s school health division at (859) 288-2314 for more information.

New requirements: 2 doses hepatitis A (all students) and meningococcal booster (16 years and older).

Vaccinations required for Kentucky students: MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), hepatitis B, DTap, Varicella, polio, Tdap (11 years old), meningococcal ACWY (11 years old), and pneumococcal and Hib (pre-kindergarten)


Health department offering free Narcan kits in community class April 30

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is hosting a free community training on naloxone, which will include providing free kits containing the overdose-reversing medication.

The class is scheduled for 4:30-6 p.m. Monday, April 30 at the health department’s main building, 650 Newtown Pike. Participants must complete a 10-15-minute training to receive a free naloxone kit. The kits are only available to those 18 years of age and older; a photo ID is required. A limited number of Narcan kits will be available, so it will be on a first-come, first-served basis, with four sessions of up to 50 people per class for a total of 200 kits.

Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, blocks opiate receptors in the brain, works in 1-3 minutes and lasts 30-90 minutes. It can cause withdrawal symptoms such as nausea and disorientation, but there is no risk for abuse or addiction. If given in a timely manner, the antidote can prevent deaths from overdoses due to opioid drugs, such as oxycodone or heroin. 

“Ready access to naloxone at home or in the community can save lives,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Kraig Humbaugh. “Knowing when and how to use Narcan in the event of an opioid overdose gives people a chance for recovery in the future.”

The health department provided 144 free Narcan kits during a community class in January. The kits are also available 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Fridays as part of the health department’s needle-exchange in the Dr. Rice C. Leach Community Room at 650 Newtown Pike.

The free naloxone kits are available to the community through partnerships between the health department, Drug Free Lex and the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, part of the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, and a bona fide agent for the Kentucky Department for Public Health.

The purchase of Narcan was supported by a grant 2014-PM-BX-0010 (Data-Driven Multidisciplinary Approaches to Reducing Prescription Abuse in Kentucky) awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice