Lexington infectious disease physician urges people to stay cautious as cases surge after holidays


(Photo: WDKY/Chelsea Jones)(WDKY)

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – Today marks two weeks since Christmas Day, but doctors warn COVID-19 can still be spreading, and Governor Andy Beshear has announced more than 15,000 cases in just the last few days.

“We certainly have a lot of cases in our community still and we could still see another surge,” said Dr. David Dougherty, an infectious disease physician at Baptist Health Lexington.

Dr. Dougherty says some of the cases he’s treating are a result of Thanksgiving gatherings.

“Hospitalizations follow, trail infections a little bit, and so do deaths,” he said.

Baptist Health is currently treating around 60 people for the virus. Dr. Dougherty says even though this number is down from a high point of more than 80 cases, people must stay vigilant.

“We don’t want to get overrun and we do need the general public to really stay cautious over the next few weeks, especially, but over the next few months,” Dr. Dougherty said.

He hopes with more vaccine rollout and warmer weather to come, things will look up and numbers will go down.

“We always hope for the best,” Dr. Dougherty said.

Even with the vaccine, he warns there is still a risk.

“The first dose, especially with these two-dose vaccines, is not going to fully protect you,” Dr. Dougherty said.

This comes as news circulates of the UK variant popping up in more states.

“The UK variant seems to be much more transmissible, but as far as the death caused by the new variant, they haven’t really found any association with that,” he said. Making it that much more important for people to practice good hygiene.

Relief is on the horizon, but the consequences of decisions made in the past have yet to be seen.

According to UK hospital, the number of hospitalizations there have been stable this week. The number of inpatients is down from their December total.

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