LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department reported almost 500 new cases in the last 24-hours, 494 to be exact.

The last time the county saw records highs was back on Dec. 9, 2020, when 451 cases were confirmed.

The number analysis between the two records highs share one thing in common: both occurrences happened right after the holidays.

The Lexington-Fayette PHD Facebook share the overnight numbers with the public Wednesday morning. (Lexington-Fayette County Health Department)

With the holiday weekend having just passed and many completing their travels, one by-standard is that the omicron variant rapidly spread.

However, FOX 56 News Chief Medical Contributor, Dr. Ryan Stanton said this spike was expected and now hospitals are preparing for what’s to come.

As the saying goes, “History has a way of repeating itself.” That has become clear to health experts researching the omicron variant with respect to measles, which is the last known virus to be as highly transmissible as the omicron variant.

“Very easily hours after somebody left the room with measles, somebody could come in and be infected with that because it was hanging in the air. This is the first strain of covid where we’re actually seeing some of that,” Stanton said. “So it’s an improved velcro.”

Now with the spike in infections after the holiday season, Stanton said it will likely last until January 2022.

With almost 500 confirmed cases in the past 24-hours, Fayette County Hospitals are now preparing for an influx of patients.

According to Stanton, it is taking anywhere between seven-to-10 days for symptoms to show. The good news is that overall, some numbers are still on the decline.

“Well even though each spike has been relatively higher in terms of cases, the number of admissions and deaths rates has consistently gone down relative,” Stanton said.

The omicron variant has not admitted as many new patients into hospitals as the delta variant did. One good sign of hospitalizations and death rates being lower compared to previous spikes has to do with the vaccine’s efficacy.

The state’s Covid-19 dashboard reports that Fayette County is currently 74% vaccinated, but there are still setbacks in the ICU.

“We’re still holding the number is that 90% of ICU patients are unvaccinated, and that’s even with the higher vaccination rates,” Stanton said.

But the biggest setback now will be with staffing shortages. As the county prepares to have a rush of patients coming in, Stanton said the ratio of patients-to-nurses flexes up to about eight-to-one.

“One of the biggest challenges that we probably didn’t see coming at the beginning of the pandemic is having the people at the bedside taking care of those in need,” Stanton said.

As hospitals have no hands on deck to spare, Stanton said that the best thing the public has against the spread of the omicron variant is prevention.

Stanton warns that the elderly are still at high risk with their weaker immune systems, and secondly would be pregnant females between either their second or third trimester.