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Monday, July 19, 2021

Gov. Andy Beshear talks Delta variant, issues recommendations on masking, vaccinations

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Gov. Andy Beshear held a press conference today on COVID-19 Delta variant, the first virus-specific update he has hosted in over a month. There have been three consecutive weeks of cases increasing in Kentucky, many of which include the highly-contagious Delta variant. There is currently a 5.45% positivity rate statewide. 

Director of Public Health, Dr. Steven Stack, said that new cases are at a 6:1 ratio for unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals. 

"The (variant) is a serious threat to unvaccinated Kentuckians. It's more aggressive and we think that it's more fatal," he said. "The vaccine is effective against both the original virus and the variant. We need to prioritize the age group of people who are between the ages of 12 and 39. 

We can avoid what is happening elsewhere by getting vaccinated. If adults who can get vaccinated don't, children who aren't eligible for the shots will be among those who suffer."

He issued four recommendations, but would not go as far as issuing these as mandates:
- All unvaccinated Kentuckians should wear masks while indoors with others, when not in your home. 
- Kentuckians that are at high-risk for pre-existing conditions, should be wearing masks while indoors, even if vaccinated. 
- Vaccinated Kentuckians who work in industries who come in contact with many people, should consider wearing a mask at works
- Kentuckians who are eligible to get one and currently not vaccinated, should get vaccinated immediately.

He said that there are ten counties of the 120 in Kentucky that have 50% or more of their population vaccinated, three of which are in Campbell, Kenton and Boone Counties. There have been a total of 2,248,235 Kentuckians vaccinated. 

Gov. Beshear was asked if he was close to implementing a mask mandate in schools. schools He said he's relying on the Kentucky Department of Education and they have been proactive. 

"There will be ongoing conversations. I'm encouraged and heard from Commissioner Glass that superintendents are taking this seriously. When it comes to sports teams, if our number one priority is to get kids in class every day, we really need to think about how much we like the convenience of things versus what we need to do to protect the kids."

Kentuckians vaccinated by age group:
65+ years 83%
50-64 years 65%
40-49 years 51%
30-39 years 46%
18-29 years 36%
12-17 n/a

Kentucky cases in the last 16 weeks:

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