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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Kentucky COVID Cases Continue To Drop

Mika Baumeister via Unsplash
Credit Mika Baumeister via Unsplash

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says COVID-19 cases have declined for three weeks in a row. In his Monday briefing on coronavirus, Beshear said the state is on track to do away with its mask mandate by June 11, but there will be exceptions.

Masks will still be required in health care settings and some businesses may also still require masks.   

“Some businesses in some areas are going to decide to keep masking requirements in place. You ought to respect them,” Beshear said. “That is their choice and if they are trying to provide that extra level of safety, you need to respect that. Carry your mask on you. Use it when you need to.” 

Beshear says waiting until June 11 to lift the mask mandate gives people who’ve not been vaccinated the chance to do so. 

“It was only last Thursday that Kentuckians 12 to 15 could start getting vaccinated,” he said. “They deserve the opportunity to get fully vaccinated before people’s contacts increase significantly.”

Beshear reported 285 new COVID-19 cases and six new deaths. The state’s positivity rate is 2.7%. More than 1.9 million Kentuckians have been vaccinated —  that’s 43% of the state’s total population. 

Ohio reported 729 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. To encourage vaccination, anyone 18 and over can enter a $1 million dollar lottery drawing. Those under 18 may enter a scholarship drawing that covers tuition, room and board to an Ohio state college or university. 

West Virginia reported 175 new cases of coronavirus and one new death on Monday. A little more than 39% of the state’s population has been vaccinated. 

Copyright 2021 WKU Public Radio

Corinne Boyer