Beshear pushes for masking students as virus cases skyrocket in children

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Hospital Hallway
Posted at 8:29 PM, Aug 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-05 21:01:20-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Gov. Andy Beshear continued to push indoor masking at his weekly Team Kentucky briefing Thursday.

The CDC recommended that school districts require masks indoors, but some Kentucky school districts have opted to make masking optional.

Beshear believes that is a mistake.

"We have at least three school districts that have had to postpone the start of the year because so many kids already have covid," he said.

According to data provided by the Beshear Administration, national COVID-19 cases among children and teens went up 84% in one week. In Kentucky, the number of cases in those under 18 and those under 12 has approximately quadrupled from June to July.

Beshear is also calling on private-sector employers to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace.

"With private-sector leadership, we see more individuals getting vaccinated that we otherwise could not reach as state government," said Beshear.

Eleven health care groups in Kentucky are requiring their employees to get vaccinated.

The health care systems adding this vaccine requirement for staff include:

  • Appalachian Regional Healthcare
  • Baptist Health
  • CHI Saint Joseph Health
  • King’s Daughters Health System
  • Med Center Health
  • Norton Healthcare
  • Pikeville Medical Center
  • St. Claire Healthcare
  • St. Elizabeth Healthcare
  • UK Healthcare
  • UofL Health

"Today is a pivotal day in our battle against COVID-19," said Beshear. "Where you see a unified front from these health leaders. That's going to help get a lot more people vaccinated."

"The healthcare systems [requiring COVID-19 vaccinations] probably represent more than 70 or more than 75% of all the hospital beds in the entire state of Kentucky," explained Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack.

The governor encouraged other private sector businesses to follow suit.

"My message for a company faced with the Delta variant - in many ways covid isn't red or blue. It's green," said Beshear. "If you don't have healthy employees, if they get covid, they don't show up for work."

Beshear said while some people are resistant to listen to state government, they're more likely to follow rules set by their employer. He points to the National Football League as an example of that.

"Until the NFL created some mandates and had some penalties if you weren't willing, a whole lot of multi-million-dollar athletes that we're now learning about hadn't gotten vaccinated," said Beshear.