KENTUCKY — Universal masking will be required in all state-run health care facilities, including veterans nursing homes, effective Aug. 3. The announcement came during Gov. Andy Beshear's COVID-19 briefing Monday, where he was joined by Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander.
What You Need To Know
- Universal masking will be required in all state-run health care facilities, including veterans nursing homes, effective Aug. 3
- All contractors and state employees working in the state-operated facilities are strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 1, unless there is a religious or medical reason they cannot be vaccinated
- Any unvaccinated staff will be tested at least twice weekly
“We are back into a period of time where a whole lot of things are moving – in the public sector, at the federal level – and we are learning more about the delta variant,” said Beshear. “The delta variant is spreading like wildfire. This variant is spreading faster than anything we have seen. If you’re unvaccinated, you are at significant risk.”
In addition to the new requirement, following the recommendation of the Long-Term Care Task Force, the cabinet will strongly encourage all contractors and state employees working in these state-operated facilities to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 1, unless there is a religious or medical reason they cannot be vaccinated. Any unvaccinated staff will be tested at least twice weekly.
“Despite all of our efforts, this virus has claimed lives in our facilities, just as it has in facilities across America, and it threatens to do so again,” said Friedlander. “Increasing the vaccination rate and/or testing rates for staff is a critical next step to ensure that we defeat this COVID variant and provide the best protection possible for the people who receive care in our facilities.”
Last week, Beshear announced he is requiring all employees and visitors at state office buildings, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings. He also recommended school districts require universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.
“We want to get back to normal. Those who are not vaccinated are preventing us from getting back to normal,” said Beshear. “If you’re unvaccinated, your chances of being in the hospital are significantly higher than those who are vaccinated.”
Aug. 3 Editor's note: Gov. Andy Beshear's office said in a press release Monday that the cabinet will require all contractors and state employees working in state-operated health care facilities to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. His office released a correction Tuesday morning, saying that they are "strongly encouraged." This article has been updated accordingly.