Poll: Half of Kentuckians say the pandemic is over in their own lives
Around half of Kentucky adults believe the pandemic is over in their personal lives, according to a new poll released by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.
The findings come as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently relaxed its guidelines, eliminating quarantine recommendations for individuals exposed to COVID.
The agency now advises wearing a high-quality mask for five days and testing on day five.
The new recommendations also emphasize individuals with COVID-19 should stay away from people, regardless of vaccination status, until test results come back negative.
Dr. Monalisa Tailor, president-elect of the Kentucky Medical Association, said she is having conversations with her patients about continuing to take precautions such as mask-wearing in indoor public spaces.
"COVID is still here," Tailor explained. "COVID doesn't care what season it is winter, summer, spring, fall, it's still very, very present."
More Kentuckians have received at least one shot of the vaccine since last year, but nearly two-thirds of the unvaccinated say they will "definitely not" get the vaccine. And more than a third say they'll get it "if required" or will continue to "wait and see."
Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, said the vaccine is the best tool communities have against worsening infection rates, especially as the weather cools down, and more gatherings are indoors.
"We do have an opportunity for people who have not gotten vaccinated to still go get vaccine, vaccinated and boosted," Chandler pointed out.
Tailor emphasized older Kentuckians are eligible for additional doses of vaccine, and urged individuals to make appointments with their doctor to discuss if it is a good option for them.
"Anyone over the age of 50, they can do qualify for a third and a fourth dose of the vaccine," Tailor stressed. "I'm seeing a lot of people here in this last week who have not received that fourth dose."
According to the CDC, staying up-to-date on vaccines is critical, because protection provided by the current vaccine against COVID-19 symptoms and the spread is less against severe disease, and it diminishes over time.