Mayor Greg Fischer was joined by Dr. Sarah Moyer, Director of the Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness to discuss the state of COVID-19 in the community.
For the sixth consecutive week, COVID-19 cases in Louisville declined placing the city’s average daily incidence rate at 28.4 cases per 100,000 people.
Mayor Fischer said the downward trend is encouraging, but that the city is not out of the clear of the virus.
“We have hope and optimism with where we are with COVID-19, but we have learned throughout this journey that you always have to stay humble to the virus,” the Mayor said. “While we’re hopeful, we’re also guarded about what could happen. These things can switch in several days with this virus.”
Here are the key COVID-19 data metrics for the week of February 23, 2021:
- There were 1,527 new cases over the previous week.
- Hospitalization data:
- COVID-19 cases remain in every ZIP code
- 175,609 total vaccine doses given since December in Metro Louisville
- 13.4% of Louisville residents have received at least one dose of vaccine and 6.3% have completed the vaccine series
Dr. Moyer said community-wide testing is down with only 16,000 tests conducted in the past week. She encouraged residents and community members that are traveling through to the city to get tested as often as possible.
“We have plenty of capacity at our community sites, and it is free to residents,” she said. “If you’re going to work or you’re out at the store, please get tested as it helps us at the health department to track the spread of COVID in our community.”
COVID Vaccinations for Senior Housing Communities
To ensure residents of public and private senior housing communities have an opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness has partnered with Norton Healthcare, University of Louisville Health and Walgreens to provide COVID vaccinations for the residents and staff of 55 public and private senior housing communities.
Connie Mendel, Deputy Director of Metro Health and Wellness and COVID-19 Incident Commander, said senior public housing facilities with 70 or more residents will have vaccinations handled through a state contract with Walgreens. Facilities with less than 70 residents, including private housing facilities will be handled by Norton and UofL Healthcare. Mendel said residents need not worry about travel as clinical staff with the vaccine providers will come to them.
“Our seniors have been the hardest hit during COVID with some of our highest mortality rates and that’s why long-term care and assisted-living facilities were some of the first groups that we reached out to during phase 1A,” Mendel said. “This segment of our population is at higher risk for serious complications from a COVID-19 infection, and we’re thankful for our partners for stepping up to offer vaccination clinics in those communities.”
Additionally, Walgreens, Norton Healthcare and University of Louisville Health will handle first and second-dose vaccinations for the residents. All three vaccine providers have begun reaching out to senior housing communities. Any senior housing community with less than 70 residents can express their interest by emailing [email protected] or calling the COVID Helpline at 502-912-8598.
Observational Study of Mask Use in Jefferson County
Dr. Seyed Karimi, Health Economist with the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness revealed results from a study of mask use in Jefferson County’s indoor public areas on 14-20 December 2020 (Wave 2) and 25-31 January 2021 (Wave 3). Three-hundred eighty-two and two-hundred fifty-four public areas were observed in the second and third waves and observational study arranged in sections by county district, retail trade and size.
According to Dr. Karimi, 6% of visitors to Jefferson County public areas did not wear a mask, a 2% increase from December 2020. In addition to this, 9% of staff in these public areas did not wear a mask, a 1% increase from December. Dr. Karimi said that 10% of visitors wore a facial mask incorrectly where their nose or mouth was not covered, a 4% decrease from December 2020. By comparison, 11% of staff wore their masks incorrectly, a 2% decrease from the month of December.
The highest rate of incorrectly masked visitors was observed in grocery stores at 13%, down from the 18% surveyed in December. Similarly, the highest rate of incorrectly masked staff occurred in grocery stores at 16%, which matched December. The rate of unmasked staff in grocery stores rated the highest at 13%, higher than December when it was observed at a rate of 7%. Dr. Karimi said that in comparison visitors at furniture, equipment, building material and garden supply stores unmasked rate was 10%, an increase from 2% in the same areas in December.
“The study results are part of our larger project of projecting COVID-19 trends in the county,” Dr. Karimi said. “We want to know as behavior in mask use increase or decrease what does COVID-19 trends look like in Jefferson County.”
“A decrease in mask wearing is disappointing,” said Dr. Moyer. “We know mask wearing is effective in stopping the spread of viruses. Kentucky Healthy at Work guidelines are still in force for all businesses. If anyone in the community observes businesses not enforcing mask wearing or any of the COVID safety guidelines, we encourage them to report it to 311.”
First Responder Data
Currently, 32 members of LMPD, Louisville Fire, Metro EMS, Metro Corrections and the Sheriff’s Office are off-duty due to COVID-19:
- 16 are off with positive tests and in self-isolation
- 14 are off and quarantined due to exposure to someone who tested positive
- 2 are off with symptoms, pending test results
Positive test numbers for first responders/public safety since the incident began:
- 546 positive tests
- 532 have fully recovered and returned to duty
Metro Corrections inmate data:
Total Tested: 6,089
Total Positive: 398
Total Recovered: 393
Total currently under medical isolation: 5
Total tests pending: 0
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To view the entire COVID-19 weekly update with Public Health officials click here. The city’s COVID-19 data dashboard, a complete list of COVID-19 testing sites, information on symptoms, prevention and contact tracing can be found at www.louisville.gov/covid19. The LOU HEALTH COVID19 Helpline is also available: 502- 912-8598.