LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As state legislators spent much of Tuesday debating whether or not face coverings are worthwhile in school, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department released some sobering statistics about COVID-19 infections they are seeing in children ages 5-17.
During the month of July, Lexington saw 271 cases, that’s an increase of 240 from the month of June. Through August 16, the department has reported 221 cases and we’re only halfway through the month, with many schools just getting underway.
As a point of comparison, on the same date in July, the department reported 101 cases.
“These are troubling numbers, they are trending in the wrong direction and we’re seeing numbers up across the board,” said Kevin Hall, communications chief of the health department.
Experts say several factors are playing a role in this increase, including the much stronger Delta Variant, along with a large sector of the population either choosing not to be vaccinated or not being eligible (children under the age of 12 for the latter.)
“Right now,” Hall stated. “73% of all of our cases in August have been among people who aren’t fully vaccinated.”
Today in Frankfort, some good news for those who advocate for face coverings in school. Lawmakers ruled that the state’s mask mandate regulation was “deficient,” which means it would next have to go to Governor Andy Beshear’s desk; the same governor who signed the Executive Order to require face coverings in school in the first place. Legislators couldn’t strike down a “deficient regulation” until the next session in 2022. For Mr. Hall, this is very good news.
“Pediatricians, doctors, education leaders. This should not be left to the politicians to fight over. Again, this is a pandemic, not a political issue,” Hall said.