FRANKFORT, Ky. — Most Kentuckians should once again be wearing a mask inside, regardless of if they are vaccinated or not. That's the new recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week.

What You Need To Know

  • The CDC recommends wearing masks indoors for everyone in areas with high or substantial transmission

  • Kentucky has nearly 100 of 120 counties in the high or substantial category, as defined by the CDC

  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has not issued any mandates at this time

  • Beshear encourages businesses, school districts and other organizations to read and study the new guidance to decide best practices

Despite previously saying vaccinated people could go without masks, the CDC is now urging universal indoor masking in areas with substantial and high transmission. That had many asking what exactly "high" or "substantial" transmission is and if it applies to their county.

The agency groups transmission into four categories based on two things. The first factor is the number of new cases per 100,000 residents. The second is the percent of COVID-19 tests that are positive over the past week. 

Taking a look at the CDC map of the United States, the southeast region generally has more red and orange on the map than other areas. The red signifies CDC-defined high transmission counties. The orange signifies CDC-defined substantial transmission counties.

If you live in Kentucky, you likely are in one of those categories where indoor masking is recommended. Nearly 100 of the Commonwealth's 120 counties fall into the either high or substantial transmission, according to the CDC.

If a county has reported 50 to 100 cases per 100,000 residents over seven days or has a positivity rate of 8 to 10%, it falls into the "substantial transmission" tier. If a county reports 100 cases or more per 100,000 or has a positivity rate of 10% or more, it is marked as having "high transmission."

Spectrum News 1 reached out to Gov. Andy Beshear's office. A spokesperson said the governor is reviewing the new CDC guidance with Dr. Steven Stack. Beshear was also asked about the new CDC guidance at a separate event on Wednesday. 

"They have also given us a lot to think about and look at about masking indoors. This delta variant, what they say now is, while you are very protected from getting sick, if you've been vaccinated, you may be able to spread it. I tell you, personally, that changes things for me, having one unvaccinated child," said Beshear.

So far, the governor has not issued any mandates. He does suggest school districts, businesses and other organizations read and study the guidance to decide best policies.