COVID-19 vaccine key to economy reopening
Mayor Greg Fischer and Dr. Sarah Moyer, Director of the Louisville Department of Public Health and Wellness updated the community on the state of COVID-19 in the city, responded to frequently asked questions regarding the virus and vaccine.
As the health department continues its focus on mass vaccinations at the LouVax site at Broadbent Arena, Mayor Fischer spoke to the excitement from the community centered around the hope that the vaccine will eliminate COVID-19 in Louisville and around the country.
“The way to get individuals safe, their families safe and reopen the economy is through the vaccine,” he said. “We’re going to get enough people vaccinated so that we have herd immunity.”
Speaking further about the vaccine, Dr. Moyer stated that vaccine doses are slowly trickling in and demand exceeds the capacity for the health department and its partners to administer them. She added that it will take months to get the ideal vaccine supply for distribution.
While the city awaits additional vaccine doses, Dr. Moyer emphasized the challenges still posed by COVID-19, which include the impact of viral spread in the community.
Here are the key COVID-19 data metrics for the week of January 19, 2021:
- There were 3,732 new cases over the previous week.
- Hospitalization data:
- 18.2% of patients currently hospitalized have COVID-19.
- 88 patients in ICU with COVID-19 as of January 19, a decrease from 89 the week prior.
- 54 COVID-19 patients on ventilators as of January 19, compared to 59 last week.
- COVID-19 cases are in every ZIP code and each of them is in the red.
- 20-44-year-old demographic accounts for the majority of cases at 42%
- COVID-19 cases continue to impact our African American and Latinx communities at disproportionate rates. The health department will continue to provide and promote resources to include information and education for residents needing to quarantine and increase testing capacity.
- With high-level community spread, interactions with individuals outside the household put residents at a greater risk of bringing an infection home. Once a member of the household is infected, it is likely to spread to others.
Dr. Moyer reported that Louisville hit its third-highest total ever for COVID-19 with 3,732 new cases. She expressed concern that the numbers are lower due to the rate of testing decreasing. In November, Louisville averaged 45,000 tests weekly and that number was only 22,000 last week.
“I think people are ready to be done and this is a reminder that we are not,” Dr. Moyer said. “COVID-19 is more present now than back in November. Some of that could be to employees being off for the holidays and workplaces not screening as much.”
Additionally, Dr. Moyer said the health department saw an increase in cases with schools reopening and workplaces after the holiday. She stressed that for individuals who are out running errands, going to church, traveling or attending small gatherings need to get tested.
“COVID is getting into people’s homes, but they are coming from outside the home,” she said. “If you experience any symptoms such as fatigue, headache, runny nose or loss of taste and smell, please go get tested. “We want to make sure we get the testing numbers up so that we can catch all the new cases.”
Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccine
During Tuesday’s weekly update, Dr. Moyer answered questions that highlighted concerns surrounding vaccine availability, ways to register for an appointment and many others.
One of the more frequent questions that arose was “How can individuals ages 70 and older sign up for an appointment or to show interest if they don’t have computer access?” The health department encourages those individuals to have a friend, family member or neighbor that is internet savvy to help with signup. Other options include calling the LOU HEALTH Helpline at 502-912-8598 for assistance.
“This is the same team doing disease investigation, so if those who call get sent to voicemail, please leave a message with a proper callback number so that the health department can return your phone call. They will call you back,” Dr. Moyer said.
Other questions included “What should I do if I go to register online and the slots for appointments are full?” Dr. Moyer stated that residents can fill out the interest form and will receive an email from the health department when it is their turn and a slot opens.
First Responder Data
Currently, 75 members of LMPD, Louisville Fire, Metro EMS, Metro Corrections and the Sheriff’s Office are off-duty due to COVID-19:
- 31 are off with positive tests and in self-isolation
- 25 are off and quarantined due to exposure to someone who tested positive
- 13 are off with symptoms, pending test results
Positive test numbers for first responders/public safety since the incident began:
- 481 positive tests
- 450 have fully recovered and returned to duty
Metro Corrections inmate data:
Total Tested: 5,326
Total Positive: 323
Total Recovered: 291
Total currently under medical isolation: 32
Total tests pending: 38
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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.