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Curfews on bars, restaurants being lifted

Gov. Andy Beshear said he will be lifting another COVID-19 restriction, and may soon do more, as the FDA approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine for those 12 to 15 years of age on Monday night.

During a virtual press briefing at the Capitol, the Governor once again urged Kentuckians to get vaccinated, and announced, “On May 28, we are ending the curfew for bars and restaurants, and seating at the bar will be allowed again. We’re also going to be updating next week our ‘Healthy at Work’ guidance and requirements, and that will provide some flexibility starting on May 28 on social distancing.”

FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D., stated Monday’s announcement, “Allows for a younger population to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic. Parents and guardians can rest assured that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorizations.”

Although his briefing came before the FDA announcement, Beshear said once the FDA acts, “We believe we are going to be able to set a timeline for 100% capacity, certainly at events, venues, businesses, etc., with under 1,000 people. What we want to do is give time for this age group to get vaccinated, because they are certainly out and about in these types of activities.”

In anticipation of the FDA move, he said you can visit vaccine.ky.gov and choose the vaccine you want from a map showing locations with a certain radius from your location. To date, 1,875,554 people have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Kentucky.

There were 167 new cases of COVID-19 reported to state public health officials on Monday, 30 of which involved people 18 and younger. Overall, that was 29 fewer cases than Sunday and was the fifth day in a row of declines. There have now been 449,107 positive cases in Kentucky during the pandemic.

Only three counties had a double-digit number of new cases: Jefferson with 28, Warren 11, and Daviess had 10.

Monday saw 11 new deaths, nine came from local health departments, and the ongoing audit of death certificates from last fall and winter had two more. This brings to 6,597 the number of Kentuckians lost due to the coronavirus.

The positivity rate was 3.25%, based on a seven-day rolling average of tests versus positive cases. That was down 0.03% from Sunday and marked a continued slow drop for the fifth consecutive day since peaking at 3.57% on Wednesday.

A total of 404 people were hospitalized on Monday. Of them, 109 were in the ICU and 51 on a ventilator. All three numbers have been relatively steady in recent weeks.

To see Kentucky’s full daily COVID-19 report, go to kycovid19.ky.gov.