How new federal COVID-19 rules will impact Kentucky

Posted at 8:12 AM, Sep 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-20 08:12:33-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Earlier this month, President Biden announced new COVID-19 rules for workplaces.

At the time he ordered the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop rules requiring all employers with 100 or more workers to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or mandate COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated employees on a weekly basis.

This requirement will impact over 80 million workers in private sector businesses with 100+ employees, according to the White House.

USA TODAY is now reporting those rules will impact state and local government workers in 26 states, including Kentucky.

A Kentucky Labor Cabinet spokesperson told the newspaper that state officials can't comment until OSHA officially releases those rules. The labor cabinet will then have 30 days to review the rules.

The strategy from the White House is all in an effort to fight the delta variant that continues to overwhelm hospitals across the country. It’s gotten so bad inside some of Kentucky’s hospitals that the National Guard has been called in.

The highly contagious delta variant is behind the spike in cases across the state. Kentucky has recently emerged as a national coronavirus hotspot with one of the highest rates of new virus cases, driven by the highly contagious delta variant.

On Friday, the state reported 5,133 new COVID-19 cases and 45 more virus-related deaths. Fewer than 100 adult ICU beds available for the second straight day, which Gov. Beshear said is a first for the pandemic. Kentucky also reached a pandemic-high with 463 virus patients on ventilators, said Gov. Beshear.

"This is an important time for us to do the right things – to get vaccinated, wear masks and prioritize lives over politics," said Gov. Beshear via social-media message late Friday afternoon.