Beshear lifts state employee mask mandate

Governor also loosens state's mask recommendations

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky state employees will no longer be required to mask at work beginning Tuesday, March 1, 2022, Gov. Andy Beshear announced on Monday.

Exceptions include Department of Veterans Affairs nursing homes, Department of Corrections buildings facilities and other congregate settings, according to the governor.

State workers and visitors to state buildings, including executive branch buildings, can choose whether or not to wear a mask.

The move came two weeks sooner than expected after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last Friday gave 70-percent of the country’s population permission to no longer wear masks indoors, including in schools.  Kentucky is following suit by making indoor mask wearing optional, including in schools, according to the state’s Public Health Commissioner, Dr. Steven Stack.

Dr. Stack says the state is going to retire its COVID incidence rate map in the coming days, and replace it with a map that uses COVID hospitalization metrics.  From there, counties can calculate its risk.  Stack added that people can still choose to wear a mask and people should consider targeted mask use after COVID exposure, or when around vulnerable people.

The governor on Monday reported 671 new COVID-19 cases and 34 deaths, which included a 22-year old woman from Fleming County.

The state’s positivity rate fell from Friday to 8.56%, according to the governor.

As of Monday, there were 962 people in the hospital fighting COVID-19 with 203 people in intensive care and 112 on a ventilator, according to Gov. Beshear.

The governor also says he expects the 388 Kentucky National Guard members currently providing assistance in hospitals and food banks will likely no longer be needed by March 15, 2022.

Gov. Beshear says vaccination rates in Kentucky have slowed.  He says fewer than 1,400 people received a first dose over the weekend, and less than 2,500 got a booster.  Despite the low numbers, the percentage of Kentuckians who have received at least one shot went up one-percentage point to 65-percent, which translates into 2,882,345 people, according to the governor.

To view the latest Kentucky COVID-19 news, information and statistics, click here.

Categories: Coronavirus Updates, Featured, Local News, News, State News

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