LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Barely anyone mustered a word about COVID-19 in Kentucky this spring but heading into summer, the community spread is rising.
The Lexington-Fayette County metro area is seeing a positivity rate of 13.3% for the week of May 23. The county moved from green to yellow on the CDC's map.
"Unfortunately, with graduation and Mother's Day that is part of what our researchers are saying has kind of brought this uptick upon us," said Nicole Merz, Director of Clinical Advancement at Wild Health.
In December and January, during the omicron surge, Wild Labs in partnership with Wild Health tested around 4,000 people a day at their College Way location. Now they see around 400 and expect to close the location at the end of the month due to an end in funding.
Merz says testing is down because community spread isn't as bad as it was earlier this year, and a lot of people are at-home testing.
She says they are also signs that people are getting better at managing and living with the virus.
"We are learning from our past and working to not create another situation where we shut everything down," said Merz.
The adaptation is why health experts and state leaders aren't as worried as they have been in previous waves. Combined with low hospitalized and ICU COVID-19 patients.
Cassie Prather, Woodford County Heath Director says how you handle COVID now should be in line with how the maps look for your community.
"I think we're just going to have to get used to watching the levels," said Prather.
The levels in Woodford County right now are in the medium community spread level, where the CDC suggests putting on a mask in public spaces.
"Masking has definitely not gone away. Some people are tired of it, and I completely get that, but it is still the best way to protect if you are vaccinated and wearing a mask you've got double layer protection," said Prather.
This time around if you're exposed, health experts suggest taking a test and then wearing a mask until you re-test on day five.
Overall, the vaccination rate in Kentucky is 66%. However, Metz and Prather say immunity is waning. Health leaders are banking on updated vaccines so we can finally enter the endemic phase.
Their advice is to keep a mask handy and prepare to get a booster when you can.