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Gov. Beshear: ‘We fail when we don’t require universal masking’ in schools

119 of 120 Kentucky counties now in ‘red zone’
Governor Andy Beshear has provided an update on COVID-19 cases.
Governor Andy Beshear has provided an update on COVID-19 cases.(Governor Andy Beshear)
Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 3:43 PM CDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - Gov. Andy Beshear announced on Monday that 119 of Kentucky’s 120 counties are currently in the red zone due to spread of the Delta variant.

“The next couple weeks to couple months, looks like they are going to be very, very rough,” Beshear said.

Beshear said the past week has been the third highest week of cases ever in the commonwealth, and the highest positivity rate in the past few months.

“You can see the Delta variant spreads faster than anything we have seen before,” Beshear said.

On Monday, there were a total of 2,596 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the commonwealth.

Hospitals are also reporting record numbers of patients hospitalized, in the ICU and on ventilators, based on census data reported to the state.

As 20.6 percent of cases reported are from 18-year-olds or younger, Beshear stressed the importance of having masks within schools.

“I want to make sure that we know what happens when we don’t mask in schools,” Beshear said. “Regardless of whose decision it is to make. We fail when we don’t require universal masking.”

Over the weekend, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled laws limiting the governor’s executive powers stand. With the decision, Beshear canceled an executive order that required masks in schools.

Still, Beshear provided examples of school districts having to quarantine amid spread of the Delta variant among students, many of whom are under 12 and cannot receive a vaccine.

“This is a shutdown,” Beshear said, pointing at an example of a West Texas school district that quarantined for two weeks. “It’s just COVID did it instead of anybody else. Let’s just remember what happens, I mean we know how quickly the Delta variant spreads, especially among unvaccinated individuals. You put a whole class of kids that can’t be vaccinated or who aren’t vaccinated together, this is the only outcome.”

Beshear said while his decisions would be more limited in scope, he would continue working with legislation and the National Guard and FEMA to provide COVID assistance.

For more information on vaccines and to find an appointment in your area, click or tap here.

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