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Thursday, August 26, 2021

Gov. Beshear: "Masking throughout the state now left to Legislature"

On Thursday during his weekly Team Kentucky update, Gov. Andy Beshear said hospitalizations have increased every day without exception for the past 42 days, from 239 people July 14 to a record 2,074 people Aug. 25. Before the delta variant, Kentucky’s record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations was 1,817 on Dec. 17, 2020.

“My point with all of these numbers is that we are in uncharted territory. We have been fighting this virus for almost 18 months, but we have never been here before,” said Gov. Beshear. “As horrible as last year’s surge was, we were never in the position where doctors worried they’d need to choose between treating a patient who can’t breathe because of COVID or treating a patient who is bleeding out from a car accident. But that is the strain that our hospitals are under now.”

The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled in favor of new laws limiting his emergency powers last weekend and Beshear said he would not challenge that ruling further. He also rescinded a school mask mandate he ordered on August 10 after that ruling, but because of an emergency order issued by the Kentucky State Board of Education, universal masking in schools remains in place.

"Masking in schools works. Not masking in schools does not," said Beshear. 

“The decision on broader masking, on masking throughout the commonwealth, is now one that’s going to be left to the legislature. But yesterday, having the third highest number of cases we’ve ever had and having 65 people die, that would’ve been the trigger for me,” added Gov. Beshear. 

“If it was in my authority to put in a masking order for indoors across the state, every other time we’ve been this high, we’ve done that, and it’s worked. It has decreased the number of cases. I can’t do that now, and I get that, and I’ll provide all of the information I can to the General Assembly. Hopefully they will make the best decision they can. But I am begging you out there, put on that mask. We desperately need for you to do it again.”

COVID-19 Update

Aug. 25, 2021, COVID-19 Case Information (Most Recent Data Available) 
Cases: 4,849
Deaths: 65
Hospitalizations: 2,074
ICU Census: 549
On Ventilators: 338
Positivity Rate: 13.16%

From March 1 to Aug. 18, 2021, 85.3% of COVID-19 cases, 90.3% of COVID-19 hospitalizations and 87.4% of COVID-19 deaths were among partially vaccinated or unvaccinated Kentuckians.

As of today, 2,488,328 Kentuckians have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine; 6,674 have been vaccinated over the past 24 hours.

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