Gov. Andy Beshear and Dr. Steven Stack gave updated recommendations Monday for vaccinated and unvaccinated Kentuckians as more cases of the Delta variant spread and COVID-19 cases are again escalating.
In light of the surge in cases, Beshear and Stack recommended the following:
- All unvaccinated Kentuckians should wear masks indoors when not in their home;
- Kentuckians at higher risk from COVID-19 due to pre-existing conditions should wear masks indoors when not in their home;
- Vaccinated Kentuckians in jobs with significant public exposure should consider wearing a mask at work; and
- All unvaccinated Kentuckians, when eligible, should be vaccinated immediately.
Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, said the Delta variant is a highly contagious strain and is being transmitted at a high rate among unvaccinated individuals. He said while vaccinated individuals can become infected, their viral loads are lower and help break the chain of transmission, even keeping unvaccinated people from being exposed.
“Getting vaccinated is a choice,” Stack said. “We’ve said that all along. … It’s a choice that should you choose to get vaccinated, you protect yourself and also all the others who are both vaccinated and unvaccinated because the more of us who are vaccinated, the less the virus is able to spread, to infect people and to hurt people. If you choose not to get vaccinated, that is your choice as well, but it is a particularly dangerous choice.”
While COVID-19 cases are measurable on an exponential rise, the rates of hospitalization and deaths won’t be known for a few weeks. And while not enough cases are tested for the Delta variant, Beshear and Stack referred to national data and experts by saying the variant probably accounts for the majority of current cases.
Beshear noted that many of the cases can be traced back to clusters, saying that means much of the spread is avoidable.
Beshear said 2,248,235 Kentuckians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to date; 61% of Kentuckians 18 or older have been vaccinated, but only 51% of age 40-49, 46% age 30-39, and 36% age 18-29.