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COVID-19: Positivity Rate at 9.2%, 2,841 New Cases in Ky.; 340 in NKY

The state's COVID positivity rate is again above 9%, Governor Andy Beshear announced Thursday.

There were 2,841 new cases statewide on Thursday including 340 across five Northern Kentucky counties: 142 in Kenton, 95 in Boone, 67 in Campbell, 26 in Grant, and 10 in Pendleton.

The incidence rate, measured by the number of people per 100,000 residents to test positive over a seven-day period, is higher than it had been in local counties, as seen in the image above.

All local counties are in the "red zone" indicating high community spread.

Meanwhile, health officials are cautiously monitoring the new omicron variant of the virus, first detected in Africa. The first COVID case in the U.S. involving the new variant was confirmed this week.

Kentucky Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said that the variant has not yet been found in the Commonwealth and that he is working with local health departments and labs to identify suspected cases as soon as possible.

The variant has several genetic changes. Research is underway to determine if these changes impact transmissibility, severity, immunity, and treatments.

“The question is: What is the impact and what do we do about it? It is important to be careful and concerned but it is not a time to panic,” said Dr. Stack. “We have much better tools than when this pandemic started – the future is not outside our control.”

So far, 60% of all Kentuckians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
 
“I want to acknowledge that 60% of Kentuckians vaccinated is not enough, but this has never been done in the history of the world before,” said Governor Beshear. “It hasn’t even been a year since the first vaccines were shipped out, and we’ve got 60% of every man, woman and child who lives in this state vaccinated. We need to be proud of that accomplishment and use it as motivation to keep going.”
 
Both Beshear and Stack stressed the importance of being vaccinated against COVID. They also encourage those already vaccinated to consider receiving a booster shot to combat any waning immunity.
 
Boosters have been recommended for those who received the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines at least six moths ago, and the one-dose Johnson & Johnson after at least two months.
 
As of Thursday, 581,442 Kentuckians have received a booster, approximately 13% of the population.

From March 1 to Dec. 1, 2021, 82.6% of all COVID-19 cases, 84.6% of all COVID-19 hospitalizations, and 82.7% of all COVID-19 deaths in Kentucky were among partially vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals.

-Staff report