COVID-19: Outdoor Mask Mandate Relaxed; J&J Vaccine to Resume; Just 7 New Cases in NKY
The statewide mandate on masks being worn outside at events or venues with a thousand people or fewer will no longer be in effect as of Tuesday, Governor Andy Beshear announced.
The governor cited recent studies and the state's increasing number of COVID-19 vaccinations.
Roughly 1.7 million Kentuckians have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“What this means is at events like the Kentucky Derby, you still have to wear a mask, but if you’re at a backyard barbeque, your community pool or an outdoor wedding, you’re not required to wear a mask,” said Beshear. “We hope this is a relief for people, and remember, the state will be able to lift even more restrictions once the 2.5 million vaccine Team Kentucky Vaccination Challenge is reached.”
Masks are still recommended at outdoor events with 1,000 people or fewer, and the mask mandate is still in effect when Kentuckians are indoors or at any outdoor event with more than 1,000 people.
Kentucky is also resuming use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine that had been paused by the federal government for further review.
Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, said that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined Sunday that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may be used in individuals 18 and older as outlined in the current FDA Emergency Use Authorization.
All Kentucky vaccination sites may now resume use of the J&J vaccine with the inventory already in their possession, although vaccination sites may prefer to wait until more detailed guidance from the CDC and FDA is provided Tuesday, he said.
At present, new J&J vaccine shipments into Kentucky are not anticipated until the week of May 3.
The state is also utilizing vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer, each of which require two doses spaced several weeks apart.
Meanwhile, the state recorded an additional 213 new COVID-19 cases on Monday and four new deaths. None of the deaths were local.
There were seven new COVID-19 cases in Northern Kentucky counties: five in Kenton and two in Boone. None were reported in Campbell, Grant, or Pendleton.
The state's positivity rate dropped to 3.15%.
There are currently 414 people hospitalized including 108 in intensive care units and 47 on ventilators.
Photo: Johnson & Johnson vaccine (via Johnson & Johnson)