As COVID cases reach new heights in Louisville and the omicron variant surges, the city’s chief public health strategist is warning that it is “very likely” the city’s hospitals will be in “crisis mode” and over-capacity soon.
“Cases continue to skyrocket, and that is worrisome,” said Dr. Sarah Moyer, during the city’s weekly COVID update.
Hospitalizations in Louisville are currently below September’s surge at 323 people hospitalized, but 10,000 COVID cases were detected in Louisville last week, more than doubling the count from the previous week.
And hospitalizations typically follow COVID case increases.
Of those who are hospitalized and in the ICU, the majority are unvaccinated, said Moyer. But, if hospitals reach capacity, critical and elective surgeries for all patients may have to be postponed, and care for other emergencies might be delayed.
According to a recent study from UofL, vaccination rates of children have a large impact on how many adult hospitalizations there are, said Moyer.
Currently, only 18% of children ages 5 to 9 are vaccinated and 41% of those 10-14. If 40% of kids ages 5-11 had the shot last month, Louisville would have almost halved its number of adult hospitalizations.
So far, 62.5% of all Louisvillians have completed their vaccine series and 72.5% have gotten at least one dose. Only 38.2% of people have received their booster.
If you’re unvaccinated and relying on receiving monoclonal antibodies if you get sick, that might not be the best plan.
Dr. Monalisa Tailor with Norton Healthcare said that wait times are “really long” for the effective COVID treatment. It typically takes a couple days to get an appointment. And not everyone can get one. Supplies are being saved for patients who are older and with chronic illnesses.
Plus, she said, there is only one monoclonal antibody that has been shown to be very helpful for treating the omicron variant of coronavirus.
Omicron has, so far, been shown to be less severe than past variants of the coronavirus, Mayor Greg Fischer said at the briefing: “But it’s still early; we do not understand the long-term impact of this all. So, I don’t want people to kind of diminish the dangers that come with the omicron virus.”
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