Omicron detected in Louisville, Northern Kentucky, likely to spread fast

Dec 21, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The omicron variant of COVID-19 has made its way to the commonwealth, and health care professionals are offering up information Kentuckians need to know to stay safe. 

What You Need To Know

  • The omicron variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Kentucky

  • The state announced the virus has been detected in Campbell, Kenton, Fayette and Jefferson counties

  • Researchers in Louisville were able to detect the variant early through wastewater

  • Doctors recommend vaccination as the best method of fighting the variant


Doctors know the variant is in Jefferson County in particular from the testing of wastewater.

Whereas the traditional method of detecting COVID variants is through clinical sampling, relatively few of those samples go on to get sequenced. Wastewater testing, however, is both passive and comprehensive, said Dr. Ted Smith.

“There's a lot of heightened concern that we might need to know how quickly this is displacing the delta variant in our community. It has implications for the health care system, implications for lots of other things,” Smith said.

Smith is the director of the Center for Healthy Air, Water and Soil for the University of Louisville Christina Lee Brown Environ Institute.

Louisville researchers in the institute have been analyzing wastewater samples provided by the Louisville/Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District for the presence of COVID-19 since June 2020.

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