FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky’s governor on Monday urged frontline workers dealing with the public to wear masks, even if fully vaccinated against COVID-19, due to risks from the more infectious delta variant.
With large swaths of Kentucky showing lagging vaccination rates, Gov. Andy Beshear offered several recommendations to protect Kentuckians from the threat posed by the variant.
“The delta variant is serious and it is even a deadly threat to nonvaccinated Kentuckians,” the Democratic governor said at a news conference.
Beshear continued urging unvaccinated Kentuckians to get the shots. The vaccines offer “significant protection” against serious illness and death, including from the delta variant, he said.
“One solution to all of it — get vaccinated,” he said. “Get vaccinated to protect yourself. Get vaccinated to protect the people around you. Get vaccinated so we can defeat COVID.”
People unwilling to get vaccinated should wear a mask when indoors and away from home, Beshear recommended. He also recommended indoor mask wearing among Kentuckians at a higher risk due to pre-existing health conditions, even if they are vaccinated.
Since ending almost all virus-related restrictions in June, Beshear has focused on the state’s economic rebound, but he held an hourlong news conference Monday to discuss the threat posed by the delta variant.
On Friday, West Virginia COVID-19 czar Dr. Clay Marsh advised that children younger than 12, the medically vulnerable and the unvaccinated wear masks in crowded indoor settings.
On June 20, West Virginia lifted a requirement to wear masks in indoor settings. Gov. Jim Justice said last week he does not have plans to bring back restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 as the more contagious variant begins spreading in the state.
“From the standpoint of bringing back the mask or whatever like that, again I pray to God above that we never have to consider such a thing ever again,” the Republican governor said at a news conference. “But we’ve always got to watch.”
As of Monday evening, the Cabell-Huntington Health Department reported 86 current active cases of COVID-19. No new deaths were reported in West Virginia.