COVID-19 shot update

With the approval of a new COVID-19 shot and its upcoming arrival, we want to address some of the questions we are receiving:

  • We are unsure when the new shot will be available in our Public Health Clinic, but we hope to have them by the end of September.
  • The health department will provide the vaccine for free to those who qualify for the Kentucky Vaccine Program – those who are uninsured and children with Medicaid. The vaccine will only be available for those groups.
  • Those who qualify for the Kentucky Vaccine Program can make same-day appointments when the vaccine is available by calling 859-288-2483. We cannot make appointments until we receive the vaccine.
  • We encourage others to get the COVID-19 shot at area pharmacies or medical providers. The vaccine is expected to be at some Lexington pharmacies as early as next week.

Save the date: Free flu shot clinic to be held Oct. 12!

Save the date, Lexington! We’ll be giving free flu shots 3-6:30 p.m. Oct. 12 at Central Baptist Church, 110 Wilson Downing Road. Additional details, including how to register online, is available at The high-dose vaccine for ages 65 and older will be available in limited quantities.

Be sure to check out the Facebook Event listing: 2023 Free Flu Shot Clinic Facebook Event.

Lexington had 3, 472 lab-confirmed flu cases and 16 flu-related deaths in the 2022-23 flu season. About 80% of the cases were in people who were not vaccinated.

“The annual flu shot remains the best way to fight flu to protect yourself, your family and everyone around you each fall and winter,” LFCHD spokesperson Kevin Hall said.

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.

COVID-19 case counts increasing in Lexington

Lexington is seeing an increase of COVID-19 cases, with 264 lab-confirmed cases last week, compared to 38/week in early July and 106/week at the start of August. Note that home tests are not included in these case counts.

These number remain low compared to this time in 2022, when we reported 887 new COVID-19 cases per week.

Hospitalizations from COVID-19 remain low, with 9 new admissions reported this past week.

We await the new COVID-19 vaccine/booster for the fall. For anyone who has not yet been vaccinated, please don’t wait – get your first COVID-19 vaccine by same-day appointment every Monday-Thursday in our Public Health Clinic at 650 Newtown Pike. Call 859-288-2483 to schedule your COVID-19 vaccine!

It is also important to wear a well-fitted mask/face covering in public areas. Learn more about masks at

You can also help slow the spread of COVID-19 by:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick, especially those with COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, muscle/body aches, loss of taste/smell, nausea, etc.);
  • Covering coughs and sneezes;
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

LFCHD to hold low-cost rabies vaccination clinic

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department will host a low-cost rabies vaccination clinic 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, at the North Lexington Family YMCA, 381 W. Loudon Ave.

Vaccinations will cost just $5. All cats and ferrets must be in a carrier, and all dogs must be on leashes, and all animals must be licensed. 

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.”

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 altered or the owner has no proof of alteration. Lexington-Fayette Animal Care and Control, the Lexington Humane Society, and the YMCA of Central Kentucky are also sponsoring the event.

In the event of bad weather, the clinic date is subject to change, with the date/location to be determined later. The health department will provide updated information at and on its Facebook page at A special Facebook Event page has also been created at

Stay safe during summer heat!

Be sure to follow these summer safety tips during the heat:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. You will need to drink more fluids than your thirst level indicates. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages or drinks with large amounts of sugar because they cause you to lose more fluid.
  • Wear sunscreen and appropriate clothing. Sunscreen should be SPF 15 or greater and applied 30 minutes before going outdoors. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Wear a wide-brimmed hat that will provide shade and keep your head cool.
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully. If you must be outside, try to plan your activities so that you are outdoors either before noon or in the evening.
  • Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
  • Use a buddy system. When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you.
  • Monitor those at high risk, including infants and children up to 4 years of age, people 65 and older, people who are overweight, people who overexert during work or exercise and people who are ill or on certain medications for blood pressure diuretics. Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children need much more frequent watching.

Signs of heat-related illnesses include an extremely high body temperature (above 103°F); red, hot and dry skin (no sweating); rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; muscle cramps; tiredness and unconsciousness. If someone starts to experience these symptoms, seek medical help immediately and move them to a shady spot, if outdoors, and begin cooling them using whatever methods are available. Monitor body temperature, and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101-102°F.

Pertussis (whooping cough) general information

Pertussis, or whooping cough, 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 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. For more information about pertussis, call 859-899-5222.

The health department recommends preventive antibiotics for high-risk people who are exposed to pertussis. This includes people 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 children with symptoms of pertussis should stay home from school/daycare 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/daycare until completion of their antibiotics.

The vaccine against pertussis is part of the routine childhood vaccination series and is required for school entry. A booster dose, called Tdap, is required for children entering middle school. Anyone 11 years of age and older who has not received the Tdap vaccine should call their primary care provider or the health department at 859-288-2483 for information about vaccine availability. At the health department, these will be same-day appointments (no walk-ins), depending on eligibility.

The vaccine is effective, however immunity may decrease over time, making the booster important for older children and adults.

Know more about Legionnaires’ disease

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is seeing an increase in cases of Legionnaire’s disease, a serious type of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria. 

The increase of use of outdoor pools and hot tubs during the summer, combined with recent rainfall and the potential for stagnant water, creates a need for reminders about Legionnaires’ disease.

If you operate or visit a public pool, spa or hot tub, please be mindful of this information:

General Disease Info:

  • Legionella can cause Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever, collectively known as legionellosis.
  • Scientists named the bacteria after an outbreak in Philadelphia in 1976. During that outbreak, many people who went to an American Legion convention got sick with pneumonia (lung infection).
  • Health departments reported nearly 10,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the United States in 2018. However, because Legionnaires’ disease is likely underdiagnosed, this number may underestimate the true incidence. A recent study estimated that the true number of Legionnaires’ disease cases may be 1.8–2.7 times higher than what is reported.
  • About one in 10 people who gets sick from Legionnaires’ disease will die.
  • People can get Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever when they breathe in small droplets of water in the air that contain Legionella.
  • In general, people do not spread Legionnaires’ disease to other people. However, this may be possible under rare circumstances.
  • Legionella occurs naturally in freshwater environments, like lakes and streams. It can become a health concern when it grows and spreads in human-made building water systems.

People at risk

Certain groups of people are more likely to get Legionnaires’ disease:

  • People 50 years of age or older
  • Current or former smokers
  • People with chronic lung disease
  • People who have health problems or take medicines that lower their body’s ability to fight germs and sickness—such as people whose immune systems are weakened because of cancer, an organ transplant, or HIV

Places legionella can grow

  • Showerheads are only one possible source of potable water exposure. Spending time near sink faucets and aspiration of drinking water or ice chips are possible routes of transmission, particularly among immunocompromised patients.
  • Being in or near a hot tub or hydrotherapy tub while it is turned on is a possible exposure risk because of the ability to aerosolize water containing Legionella.
  • Legionella  are unlikely to grow in typical swimming pools because water temperatures are usually too cold. However, you should sample pools if they are associated with a possible exposure or temperatures are within the permissive range (i.e., 77–113°F).
  • Decorative fountains are a possible exposure source for Legionella, particularly in enclosed spaces.
  • Submerged lighting and warm ambient temperatures in fountains can contribute to Legionella growth.

General Legionella Information

Legionella and Hot Tubs/Spas

Schedule kids’ 2023-24 back-to-school immunizations today

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 immunizations by same-day 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 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. A legal guardian must be present.

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 and 16-year-olds 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.

Pride Month 2023

Happy Pride Month, Lexington! We are celebrating daily by putting our values on display for everyone: Caring, Accountability, Respect, Equity and Service!

Pride is more than a month at the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.

Our Community Health Equity and Education team is helping Lexington be well by working daily to achieve health equity in our areas of diabetes prevention and management, nutrition, HIV testing, wellness, child care health and safety, and tobacco, regardless their race, ethnicity, national origin, faith, age, sex, ability, class, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender presentation.

Learn more by calling 859-288-2446 or visiting

Be sure to come see us a the 2023 Lexington Pride Festival! We’ll be providing information and some great giveaways, shown below!

Cookout safety tips for holiday and summer picnics

One out of every six people get sick from a foodborne illness each year, and a few extra precautions can help keep your summer meals, cookouts and picnics illness-free this year.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department wants to increase awareness of food safety as people head into the summer picnic season. The following food safety guidelines can help you prevent the spread of food-borne illness from picnic meals shared with family and friends:

  • Keep hands clean. Wash hands before eating or preparing food, after using the restroom, between handling raw and ready-to-eat items and after handling pets. Wash with hot soapy water and dry with paper towels.
  • Clean and sanitize surfaces often. To sanitize surfaces, use a solution of regular household bleach and warm water. Add about 1 tablespoon of bleach to 2 gallons of water for the right concentration. Sanitize by first washing and rinsing the surface and then immerse, spray or swab with the bleach solution.
  • Separate – don’t cross-contaminate. Separate raw foods from ready-to-eat foods. Use different cutting boards or wash, rinse and sanitize after contact with raw meat, poultry and seafood. Never use the same plate for holding raw meat and transporting cooked meat.
  • Be sure to wash all produce thoroughly before use. Thoroughly clean the outer surface before slicing and keep work surface and utensils clean and sanitized. Handle all cut melons carefully, including cantaloupe and watermelon. Promptly refrigerate sliced melon at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
  • Follow the cooking guidelines listed below for proper meat preparation. Cook food to the proper internal temperature. Always check the internal temperature of cooked foods with a metal-stemmed thermometer and cook another 15 seconds after the thermometer indicates it has reached the proper temperature.

 Ground beef: 155 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds

Poultry and stuffed meats: 165 degrees F for 15 seconds

Pork products: 145 degrees F for 15 seconds

Other products: 145 degrees F for 15 seconds

Reheating leftovers: 165 degrees F for 15 seconds

  • Refrigerate leftovers promptly. Leftovers should be cooled and maintained within four hours at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or lower or frozen at zero degrees or lower. When you are unsure how long leftover food has been out of proper serving temperature, a good rule of thumb to follow is “when in doubt, throw it out!”