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No cases yet, but Omicron is expected to come to Kentucky

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Governor Beshear said indications are that Kentucky is again trending upward as it relates to coronavirus cases. During his briefing Thursday, the governor said hospitalizations are up. With the likelihood of the new Omicron variant coming to the Commonwealth, increasing vaccinations remains a key goal. “I do believe every variant that we see ends up encouraging more people to get vaccinated. But that’s not the way to win the ultimate battle. Certainly, opening up to five-to-11-year-olds is a big win as well. Again, it remains to be seen how Omicron will impact people in terms of severity,” said Beshear.

Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Steven Stack said no Omicron cases have been confirmed in the Commonwealth yet. He said he anticipates the variant will arrive eventually. On the question of boosters, Stack noted he doesn’t envision a six-month schedule for repeated injections, but he could see shots administered annually.

Vaccination is still viewed by doctors as the key in battling a changing coronavirus. The state’s public health leader doesn’t believe community immunity in Kentucky is out of the question. “If we got our vaccination rates up over 90% and if we were able to help the rest of the world also get their vaccination rates up, we could get the reproductive capacity of this virus to fall less than one, meaning that each person doesn’t infect someone else, and then it starts to wind down and fade away,” explained Stack.

Kentucky’s current vaccination rate for those receiving at least one shot is around 60%. Lexington’s rate exceeds 70% along with Woodford County.

Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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