With COVID-19 Infections Surging, Governor Issues New Mask Mandate
COVID-19 Update For Tuesday, Aug. 10
Gov. Andy Beshear issued a mask mandate.
Earlier today, the governor issued an executive order which requires:
All individuals – all teachers, staff, students and visitors – must cover their nose and mouth with a face covering when indoors in all public and private preschool, Head Start, elementary, middle and high schools (preschool through grade 12) in Kentucky, including but not limited to inside of vehicles used for transportation such as school buses, regardless of vaccination status.
All staff, visitors and children ages 2 and older who are able to wear a face covering must cover their nose and mouth with a face covering when indoors in all child care settings in Kentucky, regardless of vaccination status.
The mandate comes on the eve of classes reopening at Mercer County and at schools across the commonwealth. Gov. Beshear said the order is in response to the surge of infections across Kentucky and the nation.
“This move is supported by medical organizations, local health department leaders, businesses and education leaders. It is also supported by the Kentucky Chamber, representing 3,800 member businesses across the commonwealth,” Beshear said. “This is a united front of saving lives, keeping our kids in school and keeping our economy and workforce going.”
The order includes a list of exemptions, including children under the age of 2, people with disabilities or physical or mental impairments that prevent them from safely wearing a face mask, anyone who is seated and actively consuming food or beverage. For a full list of exemptions, check out this PDF of the executive order.
Gov. Beshear said the executive order will expire after 30 days, although, depending on conditions, he could renew it.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends universal indoor wearing of face coverings for all teachers, staff, students (ages 2 and older) and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status. The CDC recommends that all people ages 2 and older who are not fully vaccinated should wear a face covering while indoors in child care settings. The CDC also recommends that fully vaccinated people wear a face covering in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high COVID-19 transmission.
So far, over 2.3 million Kentuckians have received at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, according to a state press release, vaccinations remain unavailable for approximately 661,500 Kentucky children ages 11 and under, and less than 34 percent of all eligible Kentucky children between ages 12 and 17 have received the first dose.
At Tuesday’s press conference, health care, public health, school and business leaders across Kentucky echoed support for the governor’s order. Among the business leaders was Winston Griffin, chairman of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. Griffin said requiring masks in schools will not only protect kids, it will protect their parents’ health and ability to work, ensuring Kentucky’s economy can continue to build momentum.
“The Chamber recognizes the importance of masking in schools at this time, because masking not only keeps our children and teachers safe but also because of its impact on the workforce,” Griffin said. “We learned last year that when a student gets exposed to the virus and needs to quarantine, this has an impact on the work-life of parents. Masking can help mitigate these issues and keep us all safer. But the best way to keep us safe and keep our economy moving is for all Kentuckians to get vaccinated.”
“We all thought that the worst was behind us with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we are all looking at incredibly tough decisions to make sure we can keep all Kentuckians safe and keep our economy moving,” said Ashli Watts, president and chief executive officer of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. “Employers are doing everything they can to keep their workforce safe and encourage vaccinations, which is the one way we know we can put a stop to this. Hundreds of students are now quarantined. That means that hundreds of parents are now probably not going to be able to go to work for the next couple of weeks. This cycle cannot continue.”
COVID-19 Case Information Update
Number of people who have received at least one vaccine dose in Kentucky: 2,376,891
New Cases on Tuesday, Aug. 10: 2,500
Positivity Rate: 11.05 percent
Current Hospitalizations: 1,251
Current Intensive Care Admittances: 339
Currently on Ventilators: 168
All information is provided by the state.
The Governor encouraged all Kentuckians 12 and older to get a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine and then sign up for a chance to win $1 million or a full college scholarship at ShotAtAMillion.ky.gov. Two $1 million winners and 10 full-scholarship winners were announced on July 2 and July 30. On Aug. 27, another $1 million winner and five more full-scholarship winners will be announced.