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COVID-19 back on the radar in Lexington as weekly new case counts trend upward

A computer rendering of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Radoslav Zilinsky
Getty Images
A computer rendering of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The increase in COVID-19 cases has prompted the Fayette County Health Department to resume sharing updates with the community.

The rise in cases is unmistakable – going from about 38 cases a week in July to more than 100 a week at the start of August. Last week, the city saw 264 cases. And those numbers include only lab-confirmed positives, not those discovered through home testing.

The health department notes the numbers are still relatively low compared to this time in 2022, when new cases were over 800 per week. The same goes for hospitalizations, with just nine reported to the department last week.

But state health officials have cautioned the decline and return to normal life for most doesn’t mean the virus is gone. State health commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said, at the end of the official national emergency, that complacency isn't an option.

"It would be wise to be mindful that COVID-19 is not gone and will not disappear," he said. "Remaining vigilant and supportive of each other is really important, and though it will be done less prominently, the Kentucky public health system and Kentucky Department for Public Health will continue to monitor trends, keep the governor updates, and make sure we share with you important updates as they occur."

So far, Gov. Beshear has said his office is not seeing data that are causing alarm or indicating that the new leading variant is causing more severe illness. But he acknowledged in a recent briefing that cases are trending up and advised that Kentuckians make a personal decision regarding which, if any, precautions they wish to take.

A new revamped version of the COVID vaccine is due out at the end of September. Scientists are evaluating the effectiveness of the new booster against the latest variant.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.