The Green River District Health Department on Tuesday reported its highest number of new COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, as the omicron variant continues circulating in the community at an unprecedented rate.

The report showed 4,773 new cases in the seven-county region for the Jan. 19-24 reporting period. In Daviess County, there were 2,488 new cases during the same timeframe, also an all-time high.

The previous record for both was reported last Wednesday, Jan. 19, when 3,089 cases were reported in the region between Jan. 14-18, with 1,365 in Daviess County.

Additionally, the regional weekly average for new daily COVID-19 cases reached a record high Tuesday at 813.7, rising significantly from the previous report of 538.1, which was also a record.

Incidence rates in the district surpassed 200 new cases on average per day for a population of 100,000, with Daviess County’s rate at 316.64.

Omicron has circulated quickly through the region as numbers have spiked significantly, and while it is uncertain when cases might peak, it’s possible it could be fairly soon, according to Clay Horton, public health director for GRDHD.

“The good news — if there is any — is that even though rates are still going up, pace of that growth has slowed somewhat,” he said. “It is too soon to tell if we will start to see that trend change direction, but it possibly could soon.”

Owensboro Health is reporting an influx of patients with COVID-19 at its three facilities in Owensboro, Greenville and Leitchfield, with 58 patients reported as of Monday evening, 13 in critical care.

OH Regional Hospital has 46 COVID-19 patients housed, including 11 in critical care and nine intubated.

OHRH said 14 of the patients are vaccinated, including three that are intubated.

OH stated that while some patients hospitalized with COVID-19 may come into the hospital for other reasons — such as giving birth — and test positive, “the vast majority of cases … represented here are being treated for COVID-19.”

The hospital estimated that roughly 90% of COVID-19 patients were hospitalized specifically for the virus.

Although Horton said it is possible there may be an end in sight to the current surge, he expressed that the health department’s message remains the same — everyone who is eligible to do so should get vaccinated and boosted to help combat the spread of the virus.

He said masking should continue to be practiced and anyone who is sick should stay home.

To schedule a vaccine appointment, visit OwensboroHealth.org/Vaccine.

Vaccines are available to anyone ages 5 and older, with 5-11-year-olds receiving a smaller dose than those ages 12 and older.

Anyone ages 12 and older who has been fully vaccinated for at least six months with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is eligible for a booster. Anyone ages 18 or older who has been vaccinated at least two months by the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also eligible for a booster dose.

Christie Netherton, cnetherton@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7360

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