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‘There’s only one answer to this’: ARH officials see alarming increase in COVID-19 cases

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 4:42 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 2, 2021 at 9:02 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Three weeks ago, Appalachian Regional Hospital officials said that they had just eight in-patient cases of COVID-19.

On Monday, they said that number is nearly ten times as many.

“Today, I have 72 and 15 of those in the ICU,” Dr. Maria Braman said. “This is getting close to some of the highest numbers we’ve ever seen.”

Officials said that they are starting to see a recurring trend among hospitalizations.

“90 percent of the people that are in-patient are people who chose not to get vaccinated,” Dr. Braman said.

Both Dr. Braman and Dr. Fares Khater, along with other health officials, have all been on the record about the vaccine’s effectiveness.

“No vaccine is 100 percent effective, we already said that from the beginning, you can still get COVID-19 if you’ve been vaccinated,” Dr. Khater said. “The chance is low, it’s extremely low.”

All agree that getting the vaccine is the right option for anyone 12 and older.

“Even if you’ve been vaccinated and you get COVID-19, you will have a very mild illness,” Dr. Khater said. “It helps preventing progression to severe disease, hospital admission and severe consequences.”

With social distancing guidelines and mask mandates making a return, Braman and Khater urge people to think of others.

“We can transmit the virus, so that’s why it’s so important for us to be good stewards for our neighbors and wear masks,” Dr. Braman said.

Those looking to view Kentucky’s COVID-19 numbers as well as an incidence map can do so here.

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