COVID cases nearing all-time high in Louisville, hospitals approaching capacity

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 1:32 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2021 at 7:07 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - COVID-19 in Louisville Metro is again spreading at a rate it hasn’t spread since vaccines became widely available.

Case numbers are quickly approaching all-time high with 3,226 cases of COVID-19 were reported over the course of the last week in the city. That’s 1,000 more more the the week prior (2.2k) and only a few hundred away from the highest total since the pandemic started (4k).

Doctors in Louisville have said until people realize what the medical field realizes, these numbers won’t be re-directed.

“Our reality as a health care worker, we’re seeing this disease very day,” said Dr. Ruth Carrico of UofL’s School of Health. “We’re seeing the impact every day, but this is not the reality so many people in our community are seeing.”

Some of Louisville’s top medical doctors said that with the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine, more people might be willing to get vaccinated.

Currently, unvaccinated people make up 90 percent of hospitalizations at Norton Health, and even though vaccinated people are in the hospital, there’s still a big difference in who’s making up those numbers, according to Dr. Steven Hester, the Chief Medical Officer.

“The folks that are vaccinated, their average age is 74,” Hester said, “and we know that when people get vaccinated they get a less immune response as they get older, sometimes to the vaccine, but the average age of those that are not vaccinated is 53.”

At UofL Health, of the 40 patients in the ICU, none are vaccinated. The hospital is not at capacity, but as it gets closer elective surgeries have been scaled back in hopes they don’t get there.

“The system is stressed but it it is far from failing,” said Dr. Jason Smith, UofL Chief Medical Officer. “We’re able to handle this right now and urge everyone to get out and get a vaccine.”

Dr. Smith said he believes there’s no reason to re-open mass vaccination sites, saying it’s easier to find your local pharmacy or physician.

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