Lou Vax COVID-19 mass vaccination site at Broadbent Arena

The Lou Vax COVID-19 vaccination site at Broadbent Arena. Image courtesy Louisville Metro Health Dept. 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- For the first time since October, Louisville is officially in the orange zone when it comes to COVID-19. But the news comes as another variant of the virus has been detected in Louisville.

A local expert calls the discovery alarming because of how contagious it is. The California variant is a strain of COVID-19 now dominant in the Golden State.

The University of Louisville's Co-Immunity Project has been monitoring the waste water in Louisville for COVID-19. On Feb. 2, the project detected the variant in southwest Louisville.

The variant is thought to spread more easily, and some research suggests it might be resistant to antibodies of people previously infected by COVID-19.

"So there is some concern that this variant is here, and it might be spreading," said Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar of the Co-Immunity Project. "And so it certainly suggests now is not the time to let our masks down and feel that we have overcome, we're out of the woods. You have to be more vigilant." 

It's still unclear if the strain is spreading in Louisville.

In a news conference Tuesday morning, officials said Kentucky is expected to get between 30,000 and 40,000 doses of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Louisville hopes to get a few thousand of those doses. A representative from the Louisville Metro Public Health Department says instead of administering those shots at the drive-thru clinic at Broadbent Arena, they will be focused on using those for Louisville's transient population, since it does not require a second shot.

Copyright 2021 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.