Louisville Heath Leaders Talk ‘Huge’ COVID Jump, Urge New Year’s Eve Caution

The city has recently seen a massive jump in COVID cases, right as one of the biggest party nights of the year approaches. 

During a livestream on Wednesday featuring several local health leaders, Dr. SarahBeth Hartlage, associate medical director of Louisville’s health department, said that last month COVID case numbers in the county stood at around 500 a day. On Monday, there were 1,060 cases. On Wednesday, there were 1,742.

Last month, the county’s positivity rate 8.25%. A week ago, it was around 11.5%. As of Monday, it was at 15% and by Wednesday it was almost 20%.

“A really dramatic increase over a very short period of time,” Hartlage said.

Dr. Sarah Moyer, the health department’s director, was also on the call. Moyer urged people to exercise caution during this time.

“A huge increase in COVID cases in just this last week, and usually, traditionally, when we have holiday weeks our numbers are down because people are testing less — even more reasons to be concerned — so I want to encourage everyone, if you did gather last weekend for Christmas and you’re planning to go out this weekend, please try to find a test.”

Moyer also said the health department believes that the majority of the current cases are being driven by the omicron variant, after seeing large increases at testing sites this week.

Dr. Steve Hester, chief medical officer at Norton Healthcare, said that more than 80% of the hospitalized COVID patients at Norton facilities are unvaccinated, and “very, very, very few people are getting admitted that have gotten the booster.”

Hartlage said that prevention measures are the key to staying healthy during this time.

“As we’ve said for two years now: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Hartlage said. “So, you know how to avoid infection — wearing your masks, staying home, being vaccinated, surrounding yourself with vaccinated people and just being risk conscious.”

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