Kentucky is investigating whether cases impacting a nursing home facility are linked to a new variant that has not been previously identified, Gov. Andy Beshear said, adding that people should get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“What we do know, is that it is not one of the common variants, the ones we associate with the United Kingdom [B.1.1.7] or South Africa [B.1.351] or Brazil [P.1], but it is a cluster, and it looks like it's the same infection in a group of these individuals,” Kentucky Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said. “And so, what we'll do is genetically sequence all of these, map it out, and compare it against the larger database that the sequencing labs report to, and then see if we can find any patterns or any lessons we need to learn here.”
The state is presently aware of 41 people who have tested positive for Covid-19 at the nursing home facility, the health commissioner said. It appears that an unvaccinated person brought Covid-19 into the nursing facility, where 85% of residents and 48% of health care staff were vaccinated, Stack said.
Of the 41 persons infected, 27 are residents and 14 are health care workers. Notably, of the 41 infected persons, 30% of the vaccinated individuals have been symptomatic, while 83% of the unvaccinated people have been symptomatic, Stack added.
Five of the infected residents have been admitted to the hospital, four of whom are unvaccinated, according to the health commissioner.
“The more people who get infected, the more opportunity it has to mutate, and then eventually find combinations that help it to be more dangerous. So, the good news is that the vaccines appear to be doing their job in protecting people,” Stack added.