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On Tuesday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced record pediatric COVID-19 hospital admissions, and Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, announced that a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for immunocompromised Kentuckians at least 28 days after a second dose.
Gov. Beshear, when asked about additional mandates that he may impose statewide, said he is not taking a statewide mask mandate off the table. Previously, Beshear issued an executive order mandating wearing masks indoors in school settings.
"We'll have to carefully consider and continue to evaluate whether or not we need to bring back a statewide mask mandate. If that means if we have to, we'll take additional steps," said Gov. Beshear. "That would not include any type of shutdown, because vaccines plus masks, we can be fine. But if we run out of beds for people, don't we have to do something to make sure we have that capacity for everyone? So (the mask mandate) is under active consideration and we'll continue to watch the numbers."
Beshear's press conference occurred at the same time as the Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee, which found that the recent Kentucky Board of Educations's mask mandate regulation was "deficient" in a party-line 5-2 vote. Enforcement of this review would need to be ratified by Gov. Beshear. Additionally, the legislature can act when the new session begins in January.
Dr. Stack said Kentuckians with the following conditions should consider receiving a third dose:
-Active or recent treatment for cancer/malignancy;
-Solid-organ or hematopoietic stem cell transplants;
-Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome);
-Advanced or untreated HIV infection; and
-Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, tumor-necrosis (TNF) blockers and other immunosuppressive medications.
“This is for individuals who may not have received adequate protection from their initial primary vaccine series. People with normal immune systems are not advised to receive an additional dose at this time,” said Dr. Stack. “Anyone with questions about their eligibility should talk with their health care provider.”
Individuals who have received a Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine are not recommended to receive an additional dose at this time. Third doses can be received by any COVID-19 vaccine provider that stocks the same mRNA vaccine that was used for an individual’s primary series (Pfizer or Moderna).
Number of people who have received at least one vaccine dose in Kentucky: 2,425,305
Number of people vaccinated in Kentucky over the past 24 hours: 5,863
As of Aug. 15, there were only 17 Kentucky counties where at least 50% of residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
From March 1 to Aug. 16, 2021, 86.8% of COVID-19 cases, 90.5% of COVID-19 hospitalizations and 87.4% of COVID-19 deaths in the state were among partially vaccinated or unvaccinated Kentuckians.
August 16, 2021 Case Information (Most Recent Available)
New Cases: 2,100
Positivity Rate: 12.40%
Hospitalizations: 1,528 (up from 1,139 Aug. 9)
Intensive Care Admittances: 429 (up from 331 Aug. 9)
On Ventilators: 224 (up from 158 Aug. 9)