LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT) – The omicron variant of COVID-19 has now reached Kentucky, as Gov. Andy Beshear announced positive tests in Campbell, Fayette, and Kenton counties in a Team Kentucky update Saturday.

Beshear added that it was detected in a sample of wastewater in Jefferson County.

“I think we knew that omicron was coming as it became the predominant variant around the world,” said Dr. Ryan Stanton, a Lexington emergency physician.

State leaders are bracing for its potential impact. Beshear urged the importance of masking in school and work settings.

“If we don’t make the decision to put back on that mask, it’s going to disrupt everything we worked so hard to get back up and going,” Beshear said.

Stanton believes masks could make a significant difference.

“I’m going out now and I rarely see masks,” Stanton said. “But I think it’s important that we continue to do so.”

Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack described the infectivity of omicron in comparison to the delta variant.

“One person with the delta variant may infect up to five other people in certain situations,” said Stack. “It may be that one person with omicron could affect up to 18 to 20 additional people.”

Stanton said that contagiousness makes it important to get vaccinated and boosted.

“The majority of those that I see who are vaccinated in the hospital are pretty distant…probably 8 to 9 months out,” said Stanton.

Stack noted the transmissibility of the virus will cause more breakthroughs.

“The number of people who are even fully vaccinated and boosted who could have mild disease, so think about cold symptoms… will go up almost certainly,” Stack said.

But he said that Pfizer or Moderna will provide very good protection from severe disease and death.

Stanton also said that it’s best to just stay home and celebrate the holidays virtually if you’re feeling any symptoms.