As Lexington reports its highest COVID-19 case counts in months, clusters have contributed to the recent jump in infections.
The Hope Center, a housing facility for those experiencing homelessness and suffering from substance abuse disorders or mental health issues, has reported 21 recent coronavirus cases, according to the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department. Twenty of them were residents. Most of those were newly reported on Friday when 77 new coronavirus cases were reported in Lexington.
“We’ve always been on top of it,” said Carrie Thayer, director of development at the Hope Center. “We’ve been testing weekly all of our clients. We’ve kept our social distancing. We’ve always been very cautious.”
The Hope Center tests incoming new residents and quarantines its positive cases, Thayer said. Most of the population is vaccinated, and most of the cases have been asymptomatic, she said. Most of the cases have come from the men’s recovery center program, which has been quarantined, Thayer said.
A mask mandate has also been reimposed at the emergency shelter.
Friday’s new case report came one day after Lexington reported its highest increase in cases since February. Lexington’s rolling seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases has increased to about 48. The last time it was this high was early March.
Other sources of recent Lexington infections
Minors between 5 and 17 years old have contributed nearly 20 percent of Lexington’s COVID-19 cases in July, according to the health department. The same age group contributed less than 10 percent of the city’s total cases in June.
“We don’t know yet what’s leading to the rise,” said Kevin Hall, a spokesperson for the Lexington health department. “However, it’s more reason for someone who isn’t vaccinated to get the shot — to help protect those who can’t get vaccinated yet.”
Part of the jump in cases stems from summer camp clusters. The Lexington health department has identified 46 cases at Blue Grass Christian Camp. Hall said the cases are not associated with the camp’s reopening. Six additional cases have been identified at other camps, Hall said.
Hall previously said the health department was working with the camp to handle the cluster.
Hospitalizations significantly higher for unvaccinated people
Unvaccinated individuals still account for three-fourths of the new cases and are largely driving the spread of coronavirus, according to the health department. Hospitalizations and deaths are also significantly higher among unvaccinated people. As of Thursday, only 33 vaccinated Fayette residents had been hospitalized, and only three vaccinated people had died.
Lexington has reported 39 total COVID-19 hospitalizations in July.
The number of “breakthrough” cases, or cases in which a vaccinated person gets infected, have increased in recent months. Breakthrough cases have accounted for about 24.3 percent of cases in July, according to the health department.
About 56.1 percent of Fayette County residents are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The percentage of vaccinated residents who have contracted COVID-19 is less than 1 percent, according to vaccination data and population data.