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Kentucky surpasses one million COVID-19 cases and still climbing

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Kentucky continues to see record COVID-19 cases, which are putting a strain on the state’s hospitals. 

The state has now surpassed one million cases – with over 72,000 of those happening in the last week alone. This includes the new daily record of almost 15,000 cases reported on Saturday. 

The positivity rate is now over 30% – the highest it’s been during the pandemic. 

“We’d never dreamed that almost one out of every three people being tested would be testing positive,” Beshear said. 

And although the highly contagious omicron variant is less severe overall than previous strains, it’s still putting a strain on hospitals similar to the delta variant, with 2,200 people currently hospitalized in Kentucky with COVID. Beshear said several hospitals in the state have declared crisis levels in staffing. 

And the severity of illness, he said, is usually directly correlated with a person’s level of vaccination. 

“If you are vaccinated and boosted, most people don’t even have a symptom or feel like they have a cold,” he said. “If you are vaccinated but have put off your booster, it hits people – some sick but most of those folks are able to stay out of the hospital. If you are unvaccinated, it hits you like a Mack truck.”

Kentucky health officials say that if the state follows the trajectory of those in the northeast like Rhode Island and New York, there could be a peak and sharp decline in new cases within a few weeks. 

Aprile is WFPL's health reporter. Rickert comes to WFPL from the News and Tribune in Southern Indiana, where she covered crime and courts as a senior reporter. A New Albany native, she spent nearly two decades in Louisville before recently moving back across the river to Jeffersonville.
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