LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Coronavirus cases are rising across the U.S. after many states have eased restrictions in recent weeks.
Experts are divided on whether the country is on track for a fourth wave in the pandemic that started more than a year ago.
Tuesday, the City of Louisville released its latest COVID-19 report, showing an increase in new cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
In Jefferson County, 635 new cases and 51 deaths were reported last week, which is a slight increase. Health leaders continue to encourage the public to wear face masks, social distance, and get vaccinated to prevent another surge.
The increase comes as another variant was detected in Jefferson County. The P.1 variant, also known as the Brazil variant, was diagnosed in a local patient over the weekend. The strain was prevalent in Florida, so doctors believe it could have been brought back from spring breakers.
The highly contagious B.1.1.7 UK variant is now the prevalent strain in Louisville. The city has partnered with the University of Louisville to conduct a wastewater study to monitor where the virus is spreading in the community.
So far, 298,000 people in Jefferson County are now vaccinated. City leaders are encouraging more to sign up after the new mass vaccination site opened at Cardinal Stadium this week.
“The governor did say we can lift restrictions once we get to 2.5 million Kentuckians vaccinated,” Chief Health Strategist Dr. Sarah Moyer said. “That means in Jefferson County, we need about 150,000 more people to sign up. We have the capacity to get that done in three weeks. So I just really encourage you to talk to your friends and neighbors and get signed up because that is how we are going to get back to the lives we used to have.”