Louisville enters new phase of dealing with COVID-19
On Tuesday, Mayor Greg Fischer said the city is at a different point in the struggle against COVID-19.
For the past three weeks, COVID cases in the city have rapidly increased. The mayor said it’s a reminder that the country is still in a pandemic and everyone must remain humble to a relentless virus.
“A lot of people think they’re done with it, but this virus is not done with us,” the Mayor said. “Its job is to keep coming after us and it’s doing that all over the country right now.”
Mayor Fischer called upon local employers to join Metro Government, Jefferson County Public Schools, Ford and many others in adopting recommendations to wear masks to help prevent further spread of infection in the community.
“Please take the steps to protect yourself and your family,” he said. “Wearing a mask in public indoor spaces is a simple act that can help contain the virus. It’s a small inconvenience and we must be attentive and responsive to the numbers. Let’s keep fighting back.”
Here are the key COVID-19 data metrics for August 2, 2021:
- Louisville is in the orange alert level for community spread of COVID-19.
- There were 1,230 new cases over the previous two weeks, two new deaths were reported.
- Hospitalization data:
- 123 patients currently hospitalized have COVID-19.
- 37 patients in ICU with COVID-19.
- 17 COVID-19 patients on ventilators
- 871,692 total vaccine doses given in Metro Louisville since December
- 57.3% of Louisville residents have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 48.3% have completed the vaccine series
Connie Mendel, Deputy Director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, reported that travel, social events and healthcare settings were the top three patient exposure settings reported by contact tracers for individuals that were contacts of positive cases. She further indicated the increase in cases, hospitalizations and patients in the ICU across the country are the reason the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guidance on mask wearing in indoor public spaces and in K-12 schools. As a result, JCPS and Louisville Metro Government have since adopted these recommendations for all students, employees, and visitors.
“These CDC recommendations were implemented to prevent the spread of the Delta variant, protect others and to prevent outbreaks in areas of substantial or high community transmission,” Mendel said.
With multiple layers of protection to use to stop the spread of COVID-19, Mendel stressed that it will take effort from everyone to limit the virus and its mobility. She encouraged residents to wear masks in public settings and around individuals that are not in their immediate household. Additionally, she stated that residents should continue to sanitize their hands when touching surfaces, refrain from touching their face after, avoid large crowds, use six feet of spacing for social distancing, and ultimately to get vaccinated, which can’t be stressed enough
“The most important preventative public health measure you can use is to get vaccinated,” Mendel said. “We know the virus can evade our defenses sometimes, but the more layers of prevention we use, the better our defenses are at protecting ourselves, our friends and family from becoming sick with COVID.”
Individuals who need assistance scheduling a vaccine appointment or finding a vaccine clinic can call the LOU Health Helpline at 502-912-8598 or visit vaccines.gov to find providers near them. They can also text their zip code to GETVAX (438829) for English or VACUNA (822862) for Spanish to receive an address of nearby vaccination centers.
Medical Expert Discusses Seriousness of the Delta Variant
Dr. Mark Burns, an infectious disease specialist in the University of Louisville School of Medicine discussed the contagiousness of the Delta variant and why it has become problematic in the fight against COVID. Dr. Burns said that the presence of variants is essentially the virus becoming smarter. When the virus replicates it mutates and that mutation occurs in the spike protein that improves the receptors binding to our own cells. This leads to an increase in its ability to evade the body’s immune defense system that ordinarily would try to attack the virus, thus resulting in a more contagious virus.
Dr. Burns indicated that scientists have found an increase in the viral load that was 1,200 times greater in individuals infected with the Delta variant of the coronavirus and the incubation period is also shorter. “This causes this variant to be more transmissible, while scientists have also found that the virus itself can shed at a higher level and for a more prolonged period of time.
Dr. Burns addressed concerns over vaccine breakthrough cases stating that while they are reports they represent less than 1 percent of all vaccinated cases. He said breakthrough cases also report mild symptoms of COVID.
“People who have been fully vaccinated have shown to have effective protection against the virus, even in breakthrough cases,” Dr. Burns said. “They’ve shown to be either asymptomatic, having very minimal symptoms, and very unlikely to be hospitalized.”
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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 www.louisville.gov/covid19. The LOU HEALTH COVID19 Helpline is also available: 502- 912-8598.