As more vaccinated, mask mandate eased for smaller outdoor events

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Students in masks on UK campus. Photo by Mark Cornelison | UKphoto

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Gov. Andy Beshear announced 1,726,346 Kentuckians have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Governor said beginning Tuesday, based on recent studies and Kentucky’s increasing number of vaccinations, the statewide mask mandate will no longer be in effect when Kentuckians are outside at events or venues with 1,000 people or fewer.

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“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 will continue to be required at the Kentucky Derby this weekend.

“We hope this is some measure of a relief,” the governor added, noting state health officials will continue to monitor health safeguards and steps as more people are vaccinated and possibly ease other restrictions.

“It’s something we may do incrementally,” said Beshear, who has said if 2.5 million Kentuckians get vaccinated, he will lift capacity and curfew restrictions on bars, restaurants and most other retail businesses.

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.

Kentuckians should visit vaccinemap.ky.gov to find a COVID-19 vaccination site near where they live.

National Women’s Soccer League club Racing Louisville FC has announced it will host a pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic tonight at its game against the North Carolina Courage. The clinic will be run by Wild Health. Fans who sign up to receive a vaccine dose will receive free admission. Those who get vaccinated at the game but already have a ticket will be given a voucher to attend a future game free of charge.

The vaccine appointments are available from 5 to 8 p.m. and can be made online, here.

As of 4 p.m. Monday, April 26, the state reported the following COVID-19 numbers:

Kentuckians vaccinated (have received at least one dose): 1,726,346

New cases today: 213
New deaths today: 4, including one from April, two from March and one from January
New audit deaths: 7
Positivity rate: 3.15%
Total deaths: 6,459
Currently hospitalized: 414
Currently in ICU: 108
Currently on ventilator: 47

Last week’s COVID numbers were slightly below the previous week, a positive sign after the state had shown four weeks of leveling off or even increasing slightly.

The state’s positivity rate also was down from the previous week, which is an even better sign, he said.

Top counties with the most positive cases Monday are Jefferson, Daviess, Fayette and Bullitt. Each county reported at least nine new cases.

To see a list of those reported lost to the virus Monday, click here.

The Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet is requesting that artists apply to design the upcoming COVID-19 Memorial at the state Capitol. To learn more and apply, click here.

“As we get excited about a light at the end of the tunnel in the pandemic, we must also make sure we never forget the loss and sacrifices of so many Kentuckians during the last 14 months,” said Gov. Beshear.

Kentuckians can help make this memorial a reality by contributing to the Team Kentucky COVID-19 Memorial Fund here.

Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined yesterday that the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 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 tomorrow. At present, new J&J vaccine shipments into Kentucky are not anticipated until the week of May 3.

To see all vaccination sites and free transportation options to and from vaccination appointments, visit vaccine.ky.gov. To see a list of vaccination sites that have openings this week, visit vaccinemap.ky.gov. If Kentuckians have questions, they should call the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline, 855-598-2246 or TTY 855-326-4654 (for deaf or hard-of-hearing Kentuckians).

To view the full daily reportincidence rate map, information on testing locationsvaccinescontact tracingschool reports and guidanceguidance for health care providers and the White House Coronavirus Task Force reports for Kentucky and more, visit kycovid19.ky.gov.