FRANKFORT, Ky (AP) — Kentucky reported 575 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 12 virus-related deaths Thursday, continuing a trend that Gov. Andy Beshear called “very good news” at a press briefing earlier this week.

As cases continue to decline and more Kentuckians become vaccinated, the state has moved to roll back some social distancing guidelines set in place to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Kentucky’s coronavirus-related capacity restrictions, as well as the state’s mask mandate, will mostly end on June 11. Masks will still be required on public transportation, schools, long-term care facilities, prisons and homeless shelters.

More than 1.94 million Kentuckians — about 43% of the state’s population — have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The extra time before the coronavirus restrictions end will give younger Kentuckians a chance to become fully vaccinated in time, the Democratic governor said. The Bluegrass state began vaccinating residents ages 12 to 15 on May 13.

“I believe they deserve the opportunity to get fully vaccinated before people’s contacts increase significantly,” he said. "It also gives notice to everybody else, there’s going to be more potential for exposure as things are even that much more normal.

The state’s test positivity rate is 2.70%. The test positivity rate is an indicator of the extent of the spread of the virus. If the rate is less than 5% for two weeks and testing is widespread, the virus is considered under control, according to the World Health Organization.

Three of Kentucky’s 120 counties, Webster County, Owen County and Rockcastle County, are reported to be in the red zone — the most serious category for COVID-19 incidence rates. People in those counties are asked to follow stricter recommended guidelines to contain the virus.


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