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New COVID Safety Measures In Place For State Run Health Care Facilities

Karyn Czar, WUKY

New guidelines for state-run healthcare facilities were announced Monday by the Beshear Administration because of surging COVID numbers caused by the Delta variant. More than half of Kentucky’s 120 counties are red zones, meaning there is a high rate of community spread of the virus.

“We are back into a period of time where a whole lot of different things are moving in the public sector, at the federal level. Things we are learning about the Delta variant. Certainly skyrocketing numbers,” Beshear said “cutting to the chase, the Delta variant is spreading like wildfire.”

The Governor added that if you are unvaccinated “you are at significant risk…significant risk.”

Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander said that beginning Tuesday, masks will be required by everyone in all facilities and anyone who is not vaccinated will be tested at least twice a week. Those who are vaccinated only have to get a COVID test when it’s mandated by the CDC guidelines.

“We’ve seen it really attacks in facilities and congregate settings. We know that this is the case. We don’t expect anything different.” Friedlander said there was a positive case on Tuesday among a staff member who was not vaccinated.

As for possibly requiring vaccinations, Governor Beshear said he is not planning on imposing a vaccine mandate for any state employees but he strongly encouraged everyone to get their shot saying, “this is entirely preventable.”

The latest numbers put Kentucky’s positivity rate at 9.77%, which is the 38th consecutive day it has risen. There were 1,052 new cases and 5 virus-related deaths reported Monday. Our total number of cases since the onset of the pandemic on March 6th, 2020 is 486,115 and 7,348 COVID-19 related deaths.

Beshear did have positive news on the vaccine front. Since last Friday, more than 22,000 Kentuckians had received a dose of the vaccine and nearly 41,000 Kentuckians received the shot last week. 63% of the state’s population ages 18 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Governor again asked schools to require universal masking when students return to the classrooms. His own children began in-person learning on Tuesday and they are masking up. Beshear said even if their district had chosen not to require masks, his children would have worn them. One is vaccinated, the other is younger than 12 and not eligible to get one.

Beshear reiterated that masking mandates are not off the table. He also said he is not considering rolling back capacity limits at this time because he believes masking and vaccinations are the right  “weapons to fight this virus.”