A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

COVID surge from Omicron now clear in Kentucky: long lines for NKY testing as nation’s cases soar

Staff report

COVID testing sites in Northern Kentucky have been inundated, as long lines and wait times reflected the demand.

Pictures here show the high demand at the Royal Drive testing site in Fort Mitchell on Wednesday. Covington police warned of long lines at the drive-in site in Covington and had to close off new cars as it created traffic problems downtown on Tuesday. Users complained of long wait times at the site at the former Sears building in Florence Mall as well.

In the line at the Royal Drive testing site in Fort Mitchell — line ahead and behind

The COVID surge from Omicron has definitely hit Kentucky, which now reports a record COVID-19 positivity rate of 14.46%. The previous high was 14.16% on September 8.

The Governor urges Kentuckians to get vaccinated and to get a booster shot.

The Omicron variant was first reported in Kentucky on December 17.

Beshear announced the first case of the omicron variant in Kentucky on Dec. 17. Kentucky reported 5,530 new coronavirus cases and 21 virus-related deaths Wednesday. 911 new cases involved those 18 and under.

Approaching the test site.

On Dec. 29, there were 1,424 Kyians hospitalized, with 369 in ICUs and 220 on ventilators.

Kenton reported 262 new cases on Wednesday, Boone 207 new cases and Campbell County 115 new cases.

A total of 12,118 people have died of the virus in Kentucky.

New cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. have soared to their highest level on record at over 265,000 per day on average, driven largely by the highly contagious omicron variant, according to multiple national reports.

Johns Hopkins University says that new cases per day have more than doubled over the past two weeks, eclipsing the old mark of 250,000, set in mid-January.

Thousands of flights across the country have been canceled amid staffing shortages blamed on the virus.

Officials are warning against large New Year’s Eve gatherings in favor of small home gatherings with vaccinated-and-boosted family and friends.

An hour and a half later, almost there.

The number of Americans now in the hospital with COVID-19 is running at around 60,000, or about half the figure seen in January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

Omicron is not making people as sick as previous versions of COVID — if people are vaccinated.

COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have climbed over the past two weeks from an average of 1,200 per day to around 1,500.

CDC data already suggests that the unvaccinated are hospitalized at much higher rates than those who have gotten inoculated.

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