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LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – COVID-19 cases are rising across the country and in Kentucky. Here in Lexington, the health department is seeing a growing number of breakthrough cases.

A spokesperson for the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department says they’re getting questions about COVID coming back. But he says the simplest answer is that it never went away.

As numbers start rising again, people who have been vaccinated will get the virus. A breakthrough case is when someone who is fully vaccinated gets COVID-19.

In the last month or so, about 20-25% of the cases in Fayette County have been breakthroughs. Health leaders say it was expected that vaccinated people could still catch the virus, but the important thing is they are much less likely to get severely ill as a result.

They say statewide around 99% of hospitalizations are unvaccinated people. But there are a number of reasons vaccinated people are also getting the virus.

“Some of that is likely because of the Delta variant, but also because people who are vaccinated are likely not taking as many precautions as they did before,” spokesperson Kevin Hall said. “This could be compared to wearing your seatbelt. It does protect you, they still don’t go 120 miles an hour down the interstate. You need to still take precautions.”

Hall said they’ve also seen a few cases where unvaccinated people bring the virus home and infect vaccinated family members.

He said even though there isn’t a mandate, those safety precautions, like wearing a mask around crowds, are still encouraged.