Health official says Kentuckians can ‘better manage’ COVID-19 case rise
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - COVID-19 cases are increasing across the state.
Southeastern Kentucky is seeking a spike right now, with Laurel County being back in the red.
The county was seeing about a dozen or so cases a week just a few months ago. Now, it’s several hundred a week.
Cases are climbing and health leaders say they still are trying to encourage people to get the vaccine or get boosted. They say that is the number one and the best defense.
Laurel County still has a low vaccine rate, less than 30% have received their vaccine here in this county of about 60,000 people.
The case increase comes as life has gotten back to normal for most. There are no restrictions and officials don’t anticipate those coming back. Officials say we can manage this better.
“We have a lot more data in regards to COVID. The vaccines are available throughout the commonwealth. We are more knowledgeable about the preventative measures to take,” said Mark Hensley, Laurel County Health Department.
With more cases come more hospitalizations. Hensley says their hospitals are seeing about four to five more people per week admitted than they were earlier in the year. However, most cases aren’t severe.
Corbin Baptist Health Director Dr. David Worthy calls it a mini-surge.
“Not delta, which was huge, not omicron. It’s a baby wave out here,” said Dr. Worthy.
There are still a lot of questions about the future but what he is concerned about, is the staffing shortage that could have severe consequences on the overall health care system. Especially, if COVID-19 were to spiral out of control again.
“Baptist Health Lexington closed beds. About 30 beds they closed. We are having a hard time staffing our units,” said Dr. Worthy.
The positive cases are both from lab results and home tests, but sometimes home tests aren’t reported. So, health leaders say it’s likely there are even more positive cases than are being reported.
Dr. worthy said, while the booster has been shown to be somewhat effective, he and others are looking forward to a possible new vaccine similar to the flu shot which may be more effective against the variants. He says that might be available in September.
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