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COVID numbers could soon rise in Louisville amid omicron variant concerns, health official says

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 1:52 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2021 at 5:34 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The number of COVID-19 cases in Louisville is similar to where they were earlier this summer.

Last week, there were just over 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Louisville, nearly identical to the figures from July, before the number of cases in the city skyrocketed. Thanksgiving will almost certainly result in an increase in those figures, Louisville’s Chief Health Strategist Dr. Sarah Moyer said.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the omicron variant of the virus was just declared a global health concern as it makes its way around the world. The first case of the variant was identified in the United States in California on Wednesday.

“It’s more severe than a variant of interest but less than a variant of high concern,” Moyer said.

Moyer, who leads the Department of Metro Health and Wellness, said it’s concerning because experts don’t know how omicron will spread or how it could possibly evade vaccines.

Despite the fact that no cases of the omicron variant have been reported in Louisville, Moyer said they are keeping an eye on it. Because of what is known about COVID-19, she recommends booster shots.

“At the Epicenter of where Omicron was first identified, a majority were not vaccinated,” she said, “and the rest were only half vaccinated.”

The global pandemic has been going on for over a year and a half, but there is some good news: Metro Health employees and other essential city employees who worked during the pandemic received their first premium pay from the American Rescue Plan this week, Moyer said.

“I know that was something questionable for a while, so I’m glad they were able to get that especially in time for the holidays,” Moyer said.

The City of Louisville is spending a total of $25 million on premium pay for city employees as part of their efforts to use federal American Rescue Plan funds.

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