New COVID-19 Variant Discovered in Eastern Kentucky Nursing Home

A new strain of the coronavirus is drawing the attention of Kentucky healthcare leaders after dozens of cases were identified within a nursing home.

Posted: Mar 17, 2021 1:58 PM
Updated: Mar 17, 2021 2:11 PM

Kentucky's governor says a new strain of COVID-19 is impacting an eastern Kentucky nursing home.

"We believe that we've detected a new variant here in Kentucky," Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear explained. "It has impacted a nursing home in eastern Kentucky where we have seen those not vaccinated and those vaccinated become infected."

While 85% of residents and 48% of staff have been vaccinated for COVID-19 at the affected facility, 41 individuals have tested positive for the virus so far. Of those individuals who tested positive, 27 are residents, and 14 are staff.

Five of the residents who tested positive for the virus have been hospitalized. Four of those hospitalized residents had not received the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to Kentucky Department for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack, individuals who tested positive for the virus who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 seem to be faring better against the virus than individuals who haven't received a vaccine.

"Notably, of the 41 infected persons, only 30% of the vaccinated individuals have been symptomatic - but a much larger 83% of the unvaccinated people have been symptomatic," Dr. Stack explained. "So vaccination appears to have reduced symptomatic disease."

Dr. Stack says the situation sends an important message.

"Until we all get vaccinated, you've got to wear your mask, socially distance, and wash your hands - it's absolutely imperative," he said. "If we all get vaccinated here over these next couple months, we have the best chance of minimizing the risk of this disease spreading, and also of minimizing the creation of new variants or mutations, which could cause us further harm in the future."

Dr. Stack says the outbreak is being attributed to an unvaccinated individual who brought the virus into the facility.

The exact name/location of the affected facility was not specified.

You can hear the full update on the new variant from Gov. Beshear and Dr. Stack by clicking here.

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