Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear's administration has asked those counties in the most dangerous COVID-19 zone to encourage vaccinations and masking, among other things.
In August, Beshear issued these new recommendations for red counties, which are defined by the state as having 25 or more cases per 100,000 people:
Increase vaccination efforts.
Require masks in government buildings.
Encourage masking in public indoor settings.
Encourage masking in crowded outdoor settings.
Encourage physical distancing of at least 6 feet.
Use outdoor spaces when possible for gatherings.
Consider postponing large events.
Consider limiting in-person community gatherings.
Encourage medically vulnerable people to avoid crowds.
Red counties started declining once the vaccines became widely available, dropping to zero on June 1. The state then teetered on having one and zero red counties through June and the first part of July before beginning a sharp upward trend on July 14, almost reaching winter levels in early August.
On Aug. 23, the state reached 119 counties in the red zone, the highest since Jan. 10, and then escalated to all 120 three days later. On Sept. 2, the total was back down to 117 and was at 119 again on Sept. 16. As of Sept. 23, there were 116 counties in the red, down to 47 on Oct. 28.
By Oct. 28 there were 47 counties left in the red and the positivity rate was down to 5%. Twelve counties were in the yellow zone, with the rest in the orange. On Nov. 10 there were 52 counties in the red zone and a positivity rate of 5%.
But as December rolled around, COVID-19 took an upward turn.
On Dec. 3, 99 counties were in the red. The rest were in the orange zone, which is defined by at least 10 cases per 100,000 people.
No counties were in the green (safest) or yellow (second safest) zones.
These counties were in the orange zone on Dec. 3:
The rest were in the red zone.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: COVID-19 in Kentucky: What counties are in the red zone?