Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has issued a recommendation for indoor mask-wearing for those who are fully vaccinated and are engaging in work that requires them to have “significant public exposure.”
Beshear, along with Dr. Steven Stack, who serves as the commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Public Health, has urged those who have not received either vaccination shot to put on face coverings indoors when outside of their homes. The two also asked people who are “at higher risk from COVID-19 due to pre-existing conditions” to put on masks regardless of their vaccination status.
“We have the most aggressive variant that we have seen to date in our battle against COVID. It’s a serious, even deadly, threat to unvaccinated Kentuckians,” the governor went on to say in a statement. “If more adults don’t get vaccinated, it’s not just adults who pay the price. It’s our kids who will. Many of them can’t get vaccinated yet, and they count on us to make good decisions and do the right thing.”
“All unvaccinated Kentuckians, when eligible, should be vaccinated immediately,” the pair added.
Kentucky ended its statewide mask mandate in June after the governor made the call to ease restrictions on fully vaccinated individuals in May following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance that said face coverings were not necessary in most circumstances for those who have received both shots. Exceptions were made for schools, care facilities, and public transportation.
Last month, the state also did away with capacity restrictions.
“After a long, dark pandemic, more of our people have gotten their shot of hope, and we have steadily moved to lift the last remaining restrictions put in place to slow the spread of this dangerous virus and save lives,” Beshear had said at that time. “Team Kentucky: your patience, hard work and sacrifices have paid off. For those not vaccinated: you still have time.”
Kentucky has seen a 281% uptick in positive cases over the last two weeks, with a 53% increase in hospitalizations and a 62% jump in deaths. A total of 45% of the state’s population has been fully vaccinated, while 51% have received at least one dose.
The recommendation from Beshear comes not long after Los Angeles County put a mask mandate back into effect last week, regardless of whether or not you have been vaccinated, as a response to a spike in case numbers.
“Masking indoors must again become a normal practice by all, regardless of vaccination status, so they can stop the trends and level of transmission we’re currently seeing,” LA County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis went on to say.