Mayor Fischer and Metro Public Health commemorate 100,000 vaccinations and final week of LouVax operations
On Tuesday, Mayor Greg Fischer and Dr. SarahBeth Hartlage, Associate Medical Director for the Louisville Department of Public Health and Wellness, provided an update on COVID-19 in Louisville, commemorated the work of LouVax vaccinating thousands of Louisvillians and discussed the current efforts to use mobile vaccine missions to meet residents in the community to get them vaccinated.
Since January 4th, LouVax has played an essential role in vaccinating tens of thousands of individuals across the Metro area. A feat the mayor described as remarkable considering where the city was prior to the initial approval of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
“This is an incredible accomplishment,” Mayor Fischer said. “That’s lives saved, and the legacy of LouVax goes beyond the people who received their shot of hope here. So many of the vaccinations here have gone to healthcare heroes, first responders, and educators. People who used the protection the vaccine provides to resume or continue their work helping others.”
Dr. Hartlage, who spent the last four months managing LouVax operations, reflected on the site’s achievements in administering more than 100,000 vaccinations. She said the success and effectiveness of the site wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of staff and volunteers.
Overall, 76,074 total volunteer hours were accumulated at LouVax from 2,572 volunteers ranging from ages 18 to 84, comprised of pharmacists, physicians, nurses, students and residents across the Metro area.
“It is truly incredible that we have carried out an operation of this size with volunteers,” Dr. Hartlage said. “But let’s not forget the Metro staff who bring leadership and continuity to LouVax as well. We began this project with three team members, but over the course of it, we’ve built it to include 112 total staff members, representing 20 metro agencies.”
Dr. Hartlage said that with increased vaccine capacity from partners like Norton Healthcare, University of Louisville and Baptist Health, the timing for Metro Health to shift to its LouVax-Mobile vaccination efforts is just right. She said LouVax-Mobile missions are targeted events that aim to go into the community where people live and work.
“We seek to vaccinate those with the least access, and those at the highest risk from COVID-19,” Dr. Hartlage said. “Some of the events are hosted by faith-based groups, community organizations and others. The LouVax team is not going away, and we hope to see you in your neighborhood soon!”
If you are a group or organization in need of a mobile mission, please contact the health department at [email protected] or call the LOU HEALTH Helpline at 502-912-8598.
Kentucky Nurses Association Partnership with LouVax-Mobile
Delanor Manson, Chief Executive Officer for the Kentucky Nurses Association, described the role of nurses in helping staff mobile missions as essential and added that the organization is proud to partner with Metro Health and Wellness in the immunization and education of patients.
Manson said the potential for misinformation spreading contributes to a lack of understanding about the vaccines. She added that communication is a vital component of patient care, and nurses have stepped up to use these mobile mission opportunities to alleviate concerns.
“Our nurses are ready and willing, as they have always been to listen to their patients’ concerns,” Manson said. “We need them to know that their fear is real, it is human nature, and it is OK. Our communication ensures better understanding, reduces fear and supports patients making informed decisions for themselves regarding their health.”
Here are the key COVID-19 data metrics for the week of April 26, 2021:
- There were 599 new cases over the previous week.
- Hospitalization data:
- 5.6% of patients currently hospitalized have COVID-19.
- 27 patients in ICU with COVID-19 as of April 27, compared to 22 the week prior.
- 16 COVID-19 patients on ventilators as of April 27, compared to 11 last week.
- 615,653 total vaccine doses given in Metro Louisville since December.
- 44.5% of Louisville residents have received at least one dose of vaccine and 31.6% have completed the vaccine series
Following a thorough safety review by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and decision by the CDC and FDA to lift the recommended pause on the Janssen vaccine, Dr. Hartlage announced that the health department will resume use of the vaccine following state and federal guidelines.
Dr. Hartlage said she understands the concerns some people may have, but that the recommendations made by health and science members of ACIP are an example of the scientific process working the way it is intended to.
“I understand how scary these types of reactions can seem,” she said. “We have a robust system for identifying side effects from vaccines, and it did its job. The experts reviewed the data, and we are happy to report that the blood clot issues are, in fact, as rare as we thought. Having three vaccines available means that millions of people will be able to be vaccinated, and they will be able to do it sooner. Vaccination is the path forward. This is the way we end the pandemic.”
UofL’s Co-Immunity Project in Need of Study Participants
During Tuesday’s weekly update, Mayor Fischer announced the University of Louisville’s Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute, which has been conducting the Co-Immunity Project to understand the impact of COVID-19 in Jefferson County for the last year, needs about 1,000 more residents to participate in community testing for COVID-19 and antibodies through Thursday, April 29.
Researchers with the Co-Immunity study state that the antibody results indicate whether someone has had the virus in the past or, if they have received the vaccine and whether it is creating antibodies. Individuals tested by this Thursday will have their results before Derby weekend. Testing for the free study is a quick, drive-up test, and residents get a $10 gift card for participation in the study. Individuals interested in participating can find out more by emailing [email protected], calling 833-313-0502, or visiting https://www.primarybio.com/r/louisville?key=community.
“The UofL Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute is one of our great city partners in the effort to eliminate COVID-19,” Mayor Fischer said. “It may seem like getting tested is less important now, but it still is very important. We have COVID variants in Louisville and we have to be on the lookout for any possible spikes, which other communities are experiencing. This testing will also help the research team better understand what they are finding as they are testing wastewater for evidence of the virus.”
First Responder Data
Currently, seven members of LMPD, Louisville Fire, Metro EMS, Metro Corrections and the Sheriff’s Office are off-duty due to COVID-19:
- 5 are off with positive tests and in self-isolation
- 1 are off and quarantined due to exposure to someone who tested positive
- 1 are off with symptoms, pending test results
Positive test numbers for first responders/public safety since the incident began:
- 561 positive tests
- 556 have fully recovered and returned to duty
Metro Corrections inmate data:
Total Tested: 7,479
Total Positive: 414
Total Recovered: 414
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.louisvilleky.gov/covid19. The LOU HEALTH COVID19 Helpline is also available: 502- 912-8598