Kentucky remains a hotspot for new COVID cases and the numbers continue to rise among children. State Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said the highest rate of the disease is among children between the ages of ten and 19. Stack said school-aged children have “a more than three-fold higher rate of the disease than there is in the population over 80.”
Stack added that there is a large disparity of vaccinations within those demographics. State data shows that 91% of Kentuckians over the age of 80 are vaccinated against COVID-19, while 45% of those between 12 and 17 years old have received at least one dose.
Dr. Stack and Governor Andy Beshear again pushed for everyone who is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. They also urged school districts to continue universal indoor masking when the current mandate issued by the Kentucky Department of Education ends this week.
“Let me just say that I don’t think that there is a decision,” said Beshear, “there is one right answer where you choose masking. Where you protect your kids. Where you keep them in school. And then there is one wrong decision where you endanger children and you allow COVID to spread throughout your community when your hospital is already overburdened.”
The KDE had implemented a mandate that could have remained in effect until the end of the school year, but the Republican-led Kentucky House and Senate passed Senate Bill 1 last week, which ended the mandate and put the decision in the hands of local school boards.