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Lexington hospitals all seeing surge in COVID-19 cases

Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 11:24 AM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Doctors from UK HealthCare, Baptist Health, and CHI Saint Joseph Health say they are all seeing a surge in COVID-19 numbers. They attribute the increase to the highly transmissible omicron variant.

They say more people are being hospitalized for the virus, especially the unvaccinated. With staffing shortages, Baptist Health plans to cut back on some of its inpatient elective surgeries starting Wednesday.

Doctors stress getting tested is important if you are symptomatic. They say knowing your COVID status will help you protect others by not spreading it.

However, they’re telling people not to head to the emergency room. Instead, get tested at your local pharmacy or even your primary care physician.

Doctors say at-home testing kits are hard to come by and testing sites often have long lines. So, if you can get a test, they recommend staying away from others especially if you’re symptomatic.

“It’s important to know what risk you have of spreading that disease to those people around you who you love, and, again, you may not know who in your life is immunosuppressed and can’t get vaccinated,” said Dr. Ashley Montgomery-Yates, chief medical officer for inpatient and emergency services at UK HealthCare.

With students heading back to school this week, pediatricians are worried about low vaccination rates for children. They say kids hospitalized for COVID-19 are usually unvaccinated. They believe masks should be worn in schools to keep children in school.

While parts of last year showed hopes of the virus slowing down, doctors say they’re not sure what 2022 will look like, especially with the omicron variant.

“I think that this variant is obviously so contagious and so transmissible that a lot of people that have been vaccinated or unvaccinated are going to get exposed to this,” said Dr. David Dougherty, Baptist Health.

Doctors have been stressing again and again that getting vaccinated and boosted is the best way to protect yourself against this virus. They say natural immunity doesn’t last as long as vaccinate immunity.

They also say monoclonal antibodies and the new COVID-19 pills used to treat infections are in low supply.

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