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What’s led to Kentucky’s downward trend in COVID-19 cases & hospitalizations?

Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 6:39 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Over the last six weeks, COVID-19 numbers in Kentucky have been going down. For hospitals, that’s also meant less inpatients with the virus.

“Four weeks ago we were at 80 to 100 COVID patients and for the last couple of weeks we’ve been running in the upper 30s, lower 40s,” Colleen Swartz with UK Healthcare said.

They believe part of it, is the calendar.

“I think we’re past the holiday gathering stage of the year. We are past Thanksgiving, we are past December. I think we as a society and we have as a community have gotten good at social distancing, and wearing masks. Those are still really vital,” Dr. Gregory Repass with Baptist Health said.

Another big factor, those most vulnerable were part of the group that was first vaccinated.

“It’s very clear that vaccination in nursing facilities and rehabs have really affected the caseload there. And I think that has really affected our hospitalization rate,” Dr. Repass said.

We’ve also had a few weeks of weather that’s kept people apart.

And it’s also possible more people have had COVID than we realized. Still, experts believe herd immunity is months away.

“Maybe we’ll get to it quicker than we think because we have folks in our communities who’ve been exposed but have been asymptomatic and that may be haven’t ever been tested,” Swartz said.

That lasting immunity from having COVID, is believed to only last a few months. Meaning the vaccine will be the main factor in a return to normal.

“We do think that natural immunity, so someone that has had COVID and has recovered, last at least about three months. And then from then on out we don’t really understand how much immunity there is that remains,” Dr. Repass said.

Swartz said there is some concern those variants could lead to a spike in cases near the end of March.

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