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COVID Update: Oregon Sets Another Case Record, Kentucky Hospitals ‘Overrun’, Cruise Ship Docks in SF With Multiple Cases

COVID Update: Oregon Sets Another Case Record, Kentucky Hospitals ‘Overrun’, Cruise Ship Docks in SF With Multiple Cases

As the health experts predicted, January is starting off with skyrocketing COVID cases amid the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant, with new case records being shattered by the day.

Over the past week, Oregon has averaged 4,001 cases a day, a 162% increase since just last Thursday. Infections, fueled by the highly contagious but less severe Omicron variant, have spread exponentially since Christmas. For the fourth consecutive day, Oregon has surpassed previous high marks of daily COVID-19 cases, with health officials reporting 7,615 new cases on Thursday, when nearly one-fourth of the state’s reported COVID-19 tests were positive for the virus. Prior to the first confirmed Omicron variant cases being reported in Oregon in mid-December, the state’s record of single-day cases had been 3,207 in August. Since then the high mark has more than doubled. Health officials in some of Oregon’s largest counties, including Multnomah, where Portland is located, warned Thursday the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations will likely continue to rise during the next several weeks.

Cases are rising in every state, with the country hitting a global record of one million cases reported in a single day just days ago. In Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear (D) says his state’s record surge of COVID-19 cases has renewed concerns that Kentucky’s hospitals could become overrun with virus patients. Continuing this week’s trend, virus infections reached a new daily high Thursday, with 9,836 new cases reported, the state’s highest one-day total since the pandemic began, Gov. Beshear said at a news conference. Kentucky’s test positivity rate has reached 23.67%, also a state record. More than 1,780 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized in Kentucky, including 402 people in intensive care units and 227 on ventilators, the governor said.

In San Francisco, a cruise ship that docked there on Thursday is under observation by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after a dozen vaccinated passengers tested positive for coronavirus. The CDC had recently issued a warning for all Americans to avoid cruises regardless of vaccination status, but to date, 22 cruises that have docked in San Francisco have reported COVID-19 positive passengers or crew. All have complied with CDC and San Francisco Department of Public Health rules and protocols. No reported cases have required hospitalization or medical care. Due to the surge, San Francisco is also asking cruise ships to test passengers who have not received their second doses or booster shots before letting them come ashore.

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Omicron isn’t spoiling everyone’s new year, however. In New Orleans, Carnival season still kicked off as usual on Thursday, ringing in the traditional weeks of celebration leading up to Mardi Gras. The vaccination rate is high in the Big Easy, where 81% of all adults are fully vaccinated, according to the city’s statistics.

This year, the party is going on despite rapidly rising COVID-19 cases driven by the omicron variant. “Without a doubt, we will have Mardi Gras 2022,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell said during a Thursday morning kickoff event, where participants removed protective masks long enough to sample slices of king cake, a seasonal delicacy.

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