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Beshear Hopes Masks Already Slowing Down Coronavirus In Kentucky

Stephanie Wolf

Gov. Andy Beshear reported that Kentucky’s coronavirus test positivity rate has ticked down slightly for the first time in four days on Tuesday, but it’s still too early to tell if the pandemic is slowing in the state.

Beshear announced 532 cases of the virus on Tuesday and said the state had a 5.08% positivity rate—the number of coronavirus tests that come back positive compared to all tests taken.

Beshear said he hoped that his executive order requiring all Kentuckians to wear masks in public is paying off, saying that the timing of his mandate, which began July 9, corresponds with the down-tick in the state’s positivity rate.

“It’s too early to draw conclusions, but I hope. I’m just saying I hope this is starting to see it, because the time period is right where the facial covering requirement is starting to kick in and help,” Beshear said.

Beshear said he would likely extend the mask requirement after it expires on August 10th.

The Kentucky Supreme Court is currently considering a lawsuit over whether Beshear’s mask mandate, or any of Beshear’s coronavirus measures, are legal.

There were 21 children younger than 5 years old—including a 2-month old—among the new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday. Beshear said people shouldn’t have “any illusion” that children don’t catch it.

“We know one driving cause is people going on vacation and taking their kids to places that they shouldn’t be taking them and then coming back and then their kids interact with other kids,” Beshear said.

Kentucky reported its highest daily totals of new coronavirus cases last week—979 last Sunday and 836 on Saturday, prompting Beshear to close bars and require restaurants to only have 25% capacity in a new set of restrictions issued Monday.

Beshear announced 10 new deaths associated with coronavirus in Kentucky on Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 719.


Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He grew up in Lexington.

Email Ryland at
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