COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations continue to trend high in Louisville

September 21, 2021

Today Mayor Greg Fischer was joined by Dr. SarahBeth Hartlage, Associate Medical Director for the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and Dr. Paul McKinney, Professor and Associate Dean, University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences and member of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices (ACIP), for an update on COVID-19  and the latest information on booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Louisville still at red alert level

“We remain deep in the red category, with an incidence rate of 69 cases per 100,000 population,” said Dr. Hartlage. “We had a bit of a dip in new cases last week, but unfortunately, it appears to be just that – a blip, not a trend, as we are back up again this week.”

Here are the key COVID-19 data metrics for September 21, 2021:

  • Louisville remains in the red alert level with a daily incidence rate of 69.1 cases per 100,000.

  • There were 3,710 new cases over the previous week.

  • There were 24 additional deaths over the previous week

  • Individuals 20 -44 are experiencing the highest number of cases followed by those who are 0-19.

  • Hospitalization data:

    • 320 patients currently hospitalized have COVID-19.

    • 101 patients in ICU with COVID-19.

    • 67 COVID-19 patients on ventilators.


  • 63% of Louisville residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

  • 54.7% have completed the vaccine series.

“We saw about 6,000 first doses of vaccines given last week,” said Mayor Fischer. “While every new dose is good, and our community is grateful to everyone who’s made that decision to protect themselves and those around them, we can definitely do more.”

“The science is telling us that about 90% of the people hospitalized by the virus are unvaccinated,” he added. “And many of the vaccinated people who end up in the hospital with the virus are immunocompromised or have other chronic underlying health conditions.  Talk to your doctor. Talk to a pharmacist. Talk to a loved one who has been vaccinated. Then please get vaccinated.”

Pfizer vaccine booster doses

Currently, booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been recommended only for those who have severely compromised immune conditions, about 2-3% of Louisville’s population.

Dr. McKinney offered insights on the FDA’s latest decision to recommend Pfizer booster doses for an additional group of people, those 65 and older and those with underlying chronic health conditions.

“The FDA advisory committee felt there was strong evidence that people 65 and above will benefit from a third booster dose as well as those with high-risk medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and COPD,” he said.

Dr. McKinney noted that the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices would be meeting tomorrow and Thursday to review the data and the FDA’s recommendation. If approved, individuals who fall into those categories could begin making appointments for booster doses immediately.

Dr. McKinney noted that a lot of promising news has come out lately with results of vaccine trials for children ages 5-11, as well as Johnson & Johnson’s announcement about a likely booster dose for their vaccine. He said that the next steps will be for the FDA and CDC’s ACIP committee to examine all the data and then make recommendations.

“The preliminary info looks very promising, very heartening, and there appear to be no alarm signals about adverse events,” he said. “The bottom line is there’s more review to come.  The timeline is a little bit uncertain, but we could expect FDA action on these issues in four to six weeks.”

“For now, the focus is on those whom we know have waning immunity,” said Dr. Hartlage. “If you take medicines or have a condition that suppresses your immune system, or if you are over age 65, you should look into getting a third dose. If you don’t fall into those categories, the odds are very good that you continue to have a strong response.”

Both Dr. Hartlage and Dr. McKinney emphasized that the highest priority is getting first and second doses to as many people as possible and the most important measure we can take to stop the spread of COVID and limiting the Delta surge.


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View this week’s COVID-19 briefing with public health 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 The LOU HEALTH COVID19 Helpline is also available: 502-912-8598.

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