Louisville health officials expect the city to move from the yellow status for COVID-19 cases into the orange status by the end of the week. The orange status would signify a daily average of 10 cases per 100,000 people. 

The increase is largely due to the delta variant, a more transmissible form of COVID-19 that has been spreading worldwide.  

“Cases have doubled in the last week, with the delta variant becoming our dominant variant in Louisville,” chief health strategist Dr. Sarah Moyer said at a briefing Tuesday.

Just two weeks ago, there were five delta variant cases confirmed in the city, but health officials predicted then that it would become the dominant variant.

City leaders continue to push vaccines to residents to keep themselves protected and slow the spread of the virus. The rate of fully vaccinated people in the city is above 50%, for those eligible for the vaccine, but when children under 12 are included that number drops.

“When you include the entire community, because kids count too, only 47.2% of our population is fully protected,” said Dr. SarahBeth Hartlage, Louisville’s interim medical director. 

Hartlage confirmed that Louisville has seen more than 100 breakthrough cases — cases of COVID-19 in vaccinated people — across all three available vaccines.

Officials said Tuesday that people who contracted COVID-19 after being vaccinated have been less likely to endure severe symptoms or be hospitalized.  

Younger people are increasingly testing positive and being hospitalized due to COVID-19. 

“For the last two weeks, we had the most drastic increase in our 20-44 age category as well as our 0-19,” Moyer said.

With school returning to in-person instruction soon, officials recommend that adults who spend time around children wear their masks and get vaccinated to protect themselves and the kids with whom they interact. 

As for children, it is recommended that they wear masks, keep a safe distance away from each other and frequently wash their hands.  

“I ask the parents to be safe. Let your kids wear masks. Get vaccinated,” said Dr. Beverly Gaines, a local pediatrician.

Gaines says she hopes that vaccines will be available to children younger than 12 soon, but that it most likely will not happen until after school starts.

Louisville officials followed recommendations that Gov. Andy Beshear gave Monday. People who are unvaccinated, who have pre-existing conditions or are working with the public and do not know the vaccination status of those around them should continue to wear masks. 

“Everyone is not trustworthy, that’s the best way I can say it,” Gaines said.

Learn more about COVID-19 rates, testing and assistance available in Louisville.

Breya Jones is the Breaking News Reporter for WFPL.