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COVID-19 surge continues to strain hospitals and mental health

Coronavirus cell
Fusion Medical Animation
Coronavirus cell

The omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to cause high case counts.

On Tuesday, the city reported a positivity rate of 34%. Officials confirmed more than 16,000 new cases from last week and several days where the incidence rate exceeded 300 per 100,000 people.

The current COVID-19 surge has had a huge impact on the city’s total coronavirus numbers.

“In the first 14 days of 2022, we logged 28,698 cases. That’s a two-week count, and that count represents 16% of all-time COVID cases in Jefferson County,” associate director for the Department of Public Health and Wellness Dr. SarahBeth Hartlage said.

Now, hospitals face a major influx of COVID-19 patients.

“The latest figure is 527 admitted to local hospitals which is a 31% increase over the previous record of 399,” Hartlage said. 

She said that there are currently 77 people in the ICU and 50 on ventilators, citywide. The number of deaths has not significantly increased, but those numbers usually increase following a jump in hospitalizations. 

Beyond concerns over physical health, the pandemic has deeply affected people’s mental health.

Dr. Stephen Taylor, chief medical officer of the University of Louisville Health Peace Hospital, said that the pandemic has caused real trauma.

“Trauma has a very powerful impact on how we think, how we feel and how we interact with one another,” Taylor said. “And a lot of those impacts happen without our conscious awareness.”

Taylor said throughout the pandemic he has seen an increase in anxiety and depression. It’s a sentiment that clinical trauma specialist Lauren Muir shared. 

Both expressed the importance of seeking help when overwhelming feelings begin to impact everyday life.

“In the circumstances that we’re in right now, I think if you have that feeling that ‘I’m just not myself right now, and I need somebody to talk to,’ it’s definitely okay to reach out,” Muir said.

Breya Jones is the Arts & Culture Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.

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