COVID-19: Ky. to Match Updated Mask Guidance for Vaccinated People
Kentucky will follow the newly updated guidance on facial coverings and social distancing released Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Governor Andy Beshear said in a video posted to social media.
The governor is hosting a news conference on Friday morning with new details.
The CDC said Thursday that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks outdoors, and in most indoor settings can also take off their masks. Vaccinated individuals will also not need to distance physically in most places, the CDC said.
"Folks, this is outstanding," Beshear said. "It means we are so close to normalcy and we are going to be changing Kentucky's mask mandate to be the same with those CDC guidelines."
Public health and government officials are hopeful that the further relaxation of rules around people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will inspire more people to be vaccinated.
"If you get the vaccine, the CDC says it's safe to take that mask off," Beshear said.
President Joe Biden also welcomed the news.
"If you're fully vaccinated and can take your mask off, you've earned the right to do something that Americans are known for all around the world: greeting others with a smile," Biden said.
The new guidance says vaccinated Americans can resume all travel, do not need to quarantine after international trips and do not need to be tested for COVID-19 if exposed to someone who is COVID-19 positive but asymptomatic.
However, Americans still face some international travel restrictions, including non-essential trips to Canada.
The CDC said fully vaccinated people should still wear masks where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, and abide by rules and regulations set by local businesses and workplaces.
The updated CDC guidelines can be seen here.
Nearly 1.9 million people in Kentucky have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination centers in the state that are administering the Pfizer vaccine are now allowed to offer it to people as young as 12 following federal approval of that specific vaccine for the younger age group.
Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are also widely available across the state for those 18 and older.
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses administered several weeks apart while the Johnson & Johnson one only requires one dose.
Meanwhile, Kentucky recorded 674 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, including 59 in Northern Kentucky.
There were 26 new cases in Kenton Co., 12 in Boone Co., 11 in Campbell Co., and 10 in Grant Co.
There were no new cases in Pendleton Co.
The state reported four new deaths on Thursday related to COVID.
The state's positivity rate is 3.04%.
There are currently 411 people hospitalized with COVID-19 including 117 in intensive care units and 47 on ventilators.
-Michael Monks, editor & publisher