Mayor Fischer names Lacuna Health to be Louisville’s COVID-19 contact tracing contractor
Mayor Greg Fischer today announced that Lacuna Health has been awarded the contract to conduct contact tracing as part of the city’s effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
In order for Louisville to safely reopen its economy, there must be a robust system for case investigations and contact tracing – identifying those who have tested positive for the virus, tracing those they may have exposed, and working to ensure all are appropriately quarantined or isolated, to minimize the risk of spreading it any further.
Lacuna Health, a subsidiary of Louisville-based Kindred Health, was awarded the contract through a bidding process conducted by the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health & Wellness.
“Beyond staying vigilant as individuals, beating this virus requires that we expand our COVID-19 testing and contact tracing operations,” the Mayor said. “This is a great step forward as we continue to work to protect the health of our citizens while also working to rebuild our economy.”
Lacuna Health CEO Dr. Brian Holzer said the company will immediately begin hiring and training new employees for the effort. Lacuna Health expects to hire 80 - 100 new positions within the next four weeks.
“I am honored that Lacuna Health has been selected for this important initiative, and we look forward to playing a positive role in contact tracing efforts and job creation for the city of Louisville,” Dr. Holzer said. “Effective contact tracing, coupled with robust testing and monitoring, will be vital to safely support a re-opened economy and to protect the ongoing health of our community.”
Job descriptions and an application portal will be available at www.Kindred.com.
Earlier this week, Mayor Fischer announced that Bill Altman, former Chief Strategy Officer for Kindred Health and former chair of the Louisville Board of Health, will lead the city’s new Testing Task Force, while Karen Handmaker, a population health expert and former executive at IBM Watson Health, will help lead the city’s work on COVID-19 contact tracing and follow-up.
Handmaker said the city received a record number of proposals for the contact tracing contract. She cited Lacuna Health’s technology investments and its ability to quickly hire and train staff, as well as the fact that it is based in Louisville.
“It makes us very proud to hire a local firm that will hire locally,” she added.
Mayor Fischer today also announced that he is extending the city’s COVID-19 state of emergency, first issued in March, through June 30.
However, the Mayor said he is lifting some restrictions in Metro Parks. Effective today, Metro Parks tennis and pickleball courts, disc golf courses and the city's five dog parks are reopened. The Mary T. Meagher Aquatic Center will reopen on June 1.“We've determined that these amenities can be used for fun and recreation while abiding by safe social distancing protocols, but we're asking that you follow guidance from the health experts in order to enjoy them,” Mayor Fischer said.
For example, tennis should be limited to singles play and you should avoid touching stray tennis balls from nearby courts. Disc golfers should not share discs.
As the city heads into the Memorial Day weekend, health officials urged everyone to enjoy the holiday in a safe and healthy way. Although businesses are reopening and the state has OK’d gatherings of 10 people or fewer, it’s important to remain vigilant against the spread of COVID-19.
“In a typical year, millions of people hit the road on Memorial Day weekend. But this year, the CDC continues to recommend that Americans stay home and avoid nonessential travel. So, let’s keep it local this year,” said Dr. Sarah Moyer, the city’s chief health strategist. “How successful we have been in keeping our disease numbers and deaths down will determine how we move forward in the upcoming weeks and months. So, stay safe this weekend.”
As of Friday, there have been 89 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Louisville, bringing the total to 2,233 with 1,432 recoveries. There have been two additional deaths since Thursday. The confirmed Louisville total is 146.
- Individual/90+ years-old
- Individual/90+ years-old
Currently, 34 members of LMPD, Louisville Fire, Metro EMS, Metro Corrections and the Sheriff’s Office are off-duty due to COVID-19:
- 11 are off with positive tests and in self-isolation.
- 18 are off and quarantined due to exposure to someone with a positive test.
- 5 are “screened off” with symptoms and tested, or due to be tested, but have not received test results.
Positive test numbers for first responders/public safety since the incident began:
- 48 positive tests.
- 37 have fully recovered and returned to duty.
Metro Corrections inmate data for May 22:
- 695 inmates have been tested.
- 9 positives.
To reduce the possible spread of COVID-19 via crowded polling stations, state officials have lifted restrictions on voting via absentee ballot in the June 22 Kentucky primary. Mayor Fischer today urged everyone to take advantage of the opportunity to cast their ballot this way.
“I normally encourage everyone to get out and vote. This year I am encouraging everyone to stay in and vote.” the Mayor said.
You must be a registered voter, and you only have until 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 26, to register for the primary. To find out if you are already registered, or to register online, visit the Kentucky State Board of Elections Voter Information Portal at www.GoVoteKy.com.
Registered voters must submit an official request for an absentee ballot. Because of COVID-19, all requests to vote by mail must be made online through the Jefferson County Clerk’s website. Go to www.jeffersoncountyclerk.org/AbsAppRequest or call (502) 574-6100.
Mayor Fischer today also thanked the local organization Global Game Changers for taking an innovative approach to providing masks for staff and residents at local homeless shelter.
Global Game Changers, a non-profit dedicated to education and youth empowerment, took a donation of 4,000 t-shirts and turned them into mask-making kits that can be easily distributed to those who need them.
“It’s an innovative and compassionate solution,” the Mayor said. “Thanks to everyone at Global Game Changers.”
Visit https://globalgamechangers.org/makeamask/ for more information.
If you or your organization has the capacity to donate or produce masks, gloves, and other personal protective gear (PPE), please contact Louisville Metro Government at [email protected].
“The Doctor Is In” at Saturday tele town hall
Mayor Fischer will host a Facebook Live tele town hall on Saturday morning with his regular guest, Dr. Jon Klein, to answer medical questions about the COVID-19 outbreak.
Dr. Klein is the vice dean for research at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.
To participate, go to www.facebook.com/MayorGregFischer at 10 a.m. Saturday.