City officials offer hope, but urge caution as COVID cases rise
Mayor Greg Fischer and Dr. Sarah Moyer, Louisville’s Chief Health Strategist, today provided an update on COVID-19 in Louisville and addressed questions and concerns about resuming the use of the Janssen vaccine.
Following the 147th Kentucky Derby, the Mayor said the weekend was a good sign for the city’s economic future after a year of challenges. He said the Derby gives people hope about what’s possible if the pandemic comes to an end. Despite the encouraging signs, Mayor Fischer said in order for Louisville’s economy to reopen in greater capacity more individuals need to get vaccinated to help limit the spread of the virus.
“The more people that get the vaccine, the more we can continue to reopen in greater capacity. “Economic growth and getting rid of the pandemic go hand-in-hand,” the Mayor said. “We’re coming down toward the finish line. We can see it, but we’re not there yet and we’ve got a lot of work left before we end the pandemic.”
Here are the key COVID-19 data metrics for the week of May 3, 2021:
- There were 859 new cases over the previous week, 9 new deaths reported
- Hospitalization data:
- 114 patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19, compared to 85 last week.
- 23 patients in ICU with COVID-19 as of May 4, compared to 27 the week prior.
- 16 COVID-19 patients on ventilators as of May 4, compared to 16 last week.
- 652,025 total vaccine doses given in Metro Louisville since December.
- 45.4% of Louisville residents have received at least one dose of vaccine and 34.4% have completed the vaccine series
“The pandemic is not over, and our increase in cases show that,” Dr. Moyer said. “The minute we let our guard down or get relaxed in our efforts the virus is ready to rise up and spread in our community.”
Dr. Moyer said that the current status of COVID cases does not reflect Derby weekend, but she reminded everyone that cases grow exponentially. Dr. Moyer encouraged unvaccinated individuals who attended the races at Churchill Downs to get tested. She said it’s important for people to monitor their symptoms and quarantine if they attended small gatherings or were around large crowds because they may have been exposed to COVID.
“Our case count from July 4, started out small with a few people infected, but as it grew exponentially and found more people that case count grew at the end of July,” she said. “So, we have to be able to test, isolate and vaccinate or that same thing might happen again. Testing allows us to track the spread of COVID and helps us find new variants that are driving spikes in cities across the U.S. and the globe, and helps us make sure people get timely access to medical treatment."
Infectious disease specialist addresses concern about Janssen vaccine
On April 23, after a thorough safety evaluation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention independent Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the CDC lifted the recommended pause on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The pause was recommended after reports of six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the vaccine.
Dr. Mark Burns, an infectious disease specialist and assistant professor at the University of Louisville School of Medicine said the pause enabled ACIP to accomplish two things: First was the ability to review data and identify additional cases where the rare event occurred following administration of the vaccine. Second, he said it allowed the panel to alert vaccine providers on how to treat patients if they had that disorder.
“Based on the fact that the risk was very low, the CDC and FDA felt the benefits outweighed the risks,” Dr. Burns said. “If recipients still have concerns about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine there are two other very safe and effective vaccines available.”
Dr. Burns said that individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should monitor their symptoms for three weeks for blood clot complications such as persistent headaches and abdominal pain, shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, and easy bruising. He reminded that patients should communicate with their primary care provider or call 911 if they need emergency medical attention.
First Responder Data
Currently, 14 members of LMPD, Louisville Fire, Metro EMS, Metro Corrections and the Sheriff’s Office are off-duty due to COVID-19:
- 7 are off with positive tests and in self-isolation
- 2 are off and quarantined due to exposure to someone who tested positive
- 5 are off with symptoms, pending test results
Positive test numbers for first responders/public safety since the incident began:
- 565 positive tests
- 558 have fully recovered and returned to duty
Metro Corrections inmate data:
Total Tested: 7,608
Total Positive: 415
Total Recovered: 415
Total currently under medical isolation: 0
Total tests pending: 0
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View this week’s COVID-19 briefing with city officials here. The city’s COVID-19 data dashboard, a complete list of COVID-19 testing sites, vaccine information, prevention and contact tracing can be found at www.louisville.gov/covid19. The LOU HEALTH COVID19 Helpline is also available: 502- 912-8598