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Masks still being used here

With the mask mandate largely lifted but the debate over whether the CDC acted too quickly raging nationally, Letcher County residents seem to have come down on the side of caution.

Stores here are for the most part still requiring customers to wear masks, and customers seem happy to oblige.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control said last week that Americans who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks indoor, and don’t need to be tested unless they are symptomatic. last Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear followed the CDC’s lead and lifted the state mandate for face covering for those who already fully vaccinated for Covid-19 for at least 14 days.

However, the president of the nation’s largest nurses’ union criticized the CDC’s new guidelines.

Jean Ross, president of National Nurses United, told CNN that the new guidelines create confusion and put the lives of nurses and other healthcare workers at risk.

The mandate is still in place for those riding airplanes and other public transportation, entering schools, daycares, and similar facilities, health care settings, long-term care facilities, and homeless shelters.

There are also some exceptions to those requirements.

Persons who are immunocompromised, who have symptoms of Covid-19, or have tested positive in the past 10 days should continue to wear masks.

Also, with the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer- BioNTech vaccine now issued for young teens ages 12-15, parents can begin making appointments for children to receive it. Like for adults, the vaccine requires two doses 21 days apart. In Letcher County, parents may call Whitesburg ARH at (606) 633-3525 for an appointment to get the Pfizer vaccine for their children.

As of Tuesday, Letcher County’s incident rate was 2.7 per 100,000, with 44 people dead, 1,919 total cases, and 33.6 percent of the total population fully vaccinated.

All of the Kentucky counties immediately surrounding Letcher are in the yellow area of the state map, with the exception of Harlan County, which is orange with a rate of 11, and Knott County, which is in the green with a rate of zero. Yellow requires a rate of less than 10 per 100,000.

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