FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky reported its highest weekly total ever for new COVID-19 cases with 52,603. The second highest week for new cases was the week ending Sept. 5, 2021 when 30,680 cases were reported.
Gov. Andy Beshear made the announcement during a Team Kentucky update Monday. He also announced the state's highest ever positivity rate of 26.33%.
In a statement from the Governor's office: "Omicron continues to burn through the commonwealth, growing at levels we have never seen before. Omicron is significantly more contagious than even the delta variant,” said Gov. Beshear. “If it spreads at the rate we are seeing, it is certainly going to fill up our hospitals.”
Beshear is also deploying 445 Kentucky National Guard members to 30 health care facilities to provide needed support.
“We are now in a nearly vertical spike the likes of which dwarf all prior escalations,” said Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH).
Stack reiterated omicron appears to cause less severe illness, especially among people who are vaccinated. Stack provided the following tips:
- If you are sick, stay home until you feel better.
- Get vaccinated or boosted, if eligible. Boosters dramatically bolster your protection against severe disease and death.
- Wear a well-fitting mask at all times when indoors in public places such school, work, stores, etc.
- If you think you have COVID-19 and/or have had a high-risk exposure and you are able, get tested.
Dr. Stack also said K-12 schools guidance is changing in light of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updating its K-12 isolation and quarantine guidance last week.
If a school requires universal masking then it:
- Does not have to do contact tracing within the school population if a positive person is identified in the school population, and
- Does not have to quarantine any of the students or staff in the school population due to finding a positive person in the school setting.
In schools that do not require universal masking, the schools are urged to maintain contact tracing when positive persons are identified in the school setting and to quarantine all persons not up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccination if exposed in the school setting.
Regardless of a school’s masking requirements, individuals who test positive should isolate for at least five days.
Individuals who are not up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccination and who are exposed to COVID-19 at home or outside school should quarantine for at least five days unless participating in a test-to-stay modified quarantine program as described by Kentucky Department of Public Health.