Louisville’s COVID-19 cases are again on a “steep slope,” and with flu cases since last year, it looks like it’s going to be “a very rough winter,” said Louisville Chief Health Strategist Dr. Sarah Moyer Tuesday.
In the 2020-21 flu season, there were 19 cases of flu in Jefferson County during the entire flu season, out of 184 in the state, said health department medical director Dr. SarahBeth Hartlage, during a virtual morning press conference.
This season, Jefferson County has had 58 cases so far.
The last flu season was almost non-existent as COVID-19 boomed and pandemic-related precautions held it back. Moyer previously warned that this season may not be that low.
“So last year we all wore masks or stayed at home; the schools weren’t open. So in a very different situation we had one of the best flu years I’ve ever recorded,” she said in September. “We expect this year to be a lot worse because we’re back together.”
Background:Last flu season was a breeze. Louisville health chief says don’t expect that this year
Last year:How the COVID-19 Pandemic Changed Flu Season in Kentucky and Beyond
In the year 2019-20, Hartlage said, Jefferson County had more than 8,000 flu cases.
“This year we’re still very low compared to 8,000, but they’re showing an upward trend,” Hartlage said. “And you definitely don’t want to get infected with both (flu and COVID-19) at the same time. I’m sure that would be miserable.”
Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases in Louisville have doubled from a week ago. The city reports 2,211 active cases this week. The city’s incidence (cases per 100,000 people) went from 24 to 41 and the positivity rate is 9%.
The spike is caused by several factors, Moyer said.
“People are moving more. Looking at our mobility data, we’re back to almost pre-pandemic moving, traveling, going to the shops, going to work. That’s really increased in the last month,” she said. “And the more people interact with each other, the more COVID will spread.”
Other factors include new variants and declining immunity.
Those who can should get their booster vaccine dose, Hartlage said. “For the majority of the population, the vaccine will be very effective at keeping you out of the hospital and keeping you alive.”
There are many places in the city that offer flu vaccines, such as pharmacies and primary care providers. In addition, people can find the closest COVID-19 vaccination site to them at https://www.vaccines.gov/ or by texting their zip code to 438829.
Hartlage said more than 1.5 million doses of vaccine have been distributed in the province, meaning 70% of people have had at least their first dose and 61% have completed the series.
More:COVID-19 cases are on the rise again in Kentucky. Are we seeing the beginning of a winter storm?
Reach health reporter Sarah Ladd at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @ladd_sarah.