Gov. Beshear provides new masking recommendations as Delta variant spreads in Ky.

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 4:45 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2021 at 11:51 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - After a little more than a month without afternoon COVID briefings, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear returned to the podium to speak on COVID Delta variant spread within the Commonwealth.

Beshear said there was concern as more cases of the Delta variant have been confirmed within Kentucky, including some within vaccinated individuals.

“Because of the Delta variant we’re going to give some recommendations what we strongly encourage people or groups to do as far as masking,” Beshear said.

The following mask recommendations were presented during Beshear’s briefing Monday afternoon:

  • All unvaccinated Kentuckians should wear masks indoors when not in their home.
  • Kentuckians at higher risk due to pre-existing conditions should wear masks when not in their home.
  • Vaccinated Kentuckians in jobs with significant public exposure should consider wearing a mask at work.
  • All unvaccinated Kentuckians, when eligible, should be vaccinated immediately.

There have been three straight weeks of increasing cases, Beshear said, and concerns of spread as vaccination pace slows. Within the 30 to 39-year-old age range, only 46 percent have been fully vaccinated. Beshear said for 18 to 29-year-olds. only 36 percent are fully vaccinated.

As of Monday, 2,248,235 people have been vaccinated within Kentucky so far according to Beshear, with 4,102,931 total doses administered within the Commonwealth.

Incidence rates have also gone up for unvaccinated individuals with the Delta variant, with cases going up for unvaccinated individuals over 12-years-old, as well as children who are currently ineligible for a COVID vaccine.

“Let’s make sure we break through a myth, kids can get COVID, they do get COVID, and they’re contracting COVID at basically the same rate or generally the same curve at least as all other unvaccinated Kentuckians,” Beshear said.

In addition, there has been an increase in COVID percent test positivity week after week, over the past month. On Monday, Beshear confirmed a 5.45 percent positivity rate in the state.

“With a variant like this, we are now seeing the return of clusters,” Beshear also announced.

Beshear presented a total of 335 cases coming from 34 cluster events between June and July, such as camps, child daycares, social events, or travel.

“These stories start with unvaccinated individuals testing positive, spreading it to other unvaccinated individuals and then some smaller level of vaccinated individuals,” Beshear said. “In almost every one of these, some certain amount of the unvaccinated individuals have very serious illness and a very small portion of vaccinated individuals even show symptoms.”

Kentuckians were urged to get the shot in order to halt the rapid spread amongst groups who have not been vaccinated.

“People, if you choose not to get vaccinated, that is your choice as well, but it is a particularly dangerous choice,” Dr. Steven Stack with the Kentucky Department of Public Health said. “Both for those who are more vulnerable, who very well could suffer a very bad consequence, being in the hospital or even death. But also for the broader community, because even unvaccinated, people do get infected.”

For more information on vaccines and to find an appointment in your area, click or tap here.

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