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Masks Recommended In Kentucky Schools But Not Mandated

On Wednesday, Governor Andy Beshear announced that government employees in state executive branch buildings and visitors to those buildings would once again have to mask up because of rising COVID numbers. On Thursday, following CDC guidance, Beshear and state health experts recommended universal masking in schools this fall regardless of your vaccination status. Earlier this week, the CDC also recommended wearing a mask in crowded indoor spaces even if you are vaccinated because they have learned that the Delta variant can be transmitted easily through vaccinated people.

At this point, Beshear has only offered recommendations and said he is “not currently considering reinstating the mask mandate,” but added, “it’s on the table if it’s needed.”

The return of masking comes as the Delta variant spreads, causing COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths to surge across the country. Here in Kentucky, State Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack gave a visual of the spread of the virus in the Commonwealth. He showed two maps of the state, one was mostly yellow and green while the other revealed swaths of orange and red.

“This is how fast it changed…36-red counties,” said Dr. Stack pointing to a map from Wednesday, July 28th. He then shifted to the COVID-19 incidence map of June 28th, which was four weeks ago “Zero red counties. You don’t even need to read the numbers if you just look at the visual change. We have changed in the blink of an eye from a quiet calm state to a horribly inflamed state.”  

Dr. Stack, officials from local health departments and the Governor all encouraged everyone to get vaccinated and to once again mask up. As for schools, Beshear said the guidance is meant to offer in-person learning and prevent outbreaks which would, in turn, affect the economy. “Parents have to stay home when their kids are sick or quarantined.”

Beshear said that the rising number of cases has had a positive impact on vaccination rates which are also up slightly in the state. Currently, nearly 52% of our total population has gotten at least one dose of a vaccine.