Mayor Fischer says Louisville is entering critical time as COVID-19 cases begin to increase
As the number of COVID-19 cases in Louisville jumped significantly this week, Mayor Greg Fischer stressed today that residents must take seriously the need to practice social distancing.
“The more rapid increase is something we’ve known would happen, something we’ve been preparing for, and something we’ve been trying to prepare the community for,” the Mayor said. “As testing ramps up, we’ll find more cases, and that gives us a better handle on the size of the community spread in our city. And that will help us be more effective in slowing it down.”
But that’s only possible if everyone makes the sacrifices that this moment demands, Mayor Fischer said, including social distancing, washing your hands, and avoiding gathering in large groups to slow the spread of COVID-19 before it overwhelms the healthcare system.
“There are people still acting like this isn’t a crisis. We have to take every step we can to limit interpersonal contact, because that’s how the virus spreads. And that leads to more people getting sick,” Mayor Fischer said. “Around the world, we’ve seen that that leads people dying and to hospitals filling up beyond capacity. That’s the brutal truth.”
Mayor Fischer has extended the COVID-19 state of emergency in Louisville to May 10, and took the additional step of closing tennis courts, ballfields, and basketball courts in Metro Parks to discourage people from gathering.
“I’m upset about this because people are putting the lives of others in danger,” the Mayor said. “When you play basketball, tennis, soccer – anything where you’re standing within six feet of anyone – you are risking the lives and the health of friends, relatives, and fellow Louisvillians, as well as your own. It’s selfish. It’s shortsighted. And it’s unacceptable.”
Mayor Fischer made a special appeal to parents, asking them to talk with their children about the need to stay off the ballfields and avoid gathering with their friends.
“They can’t play with their friends and risk bringing this virus home,” the Mayor said. “Do what you know you need to do as a parent and have that conversation with your kids.”
Mayor Fischer acknowledged the difficulty for a sports-loving town like Louisville to sit on the sidelines as the weather warms up.
“These simple, beautiful games that we love could get people killed,” the Mayor said. “And that’s hard to hear. It’s hard to say. But it’s the truth.”
Louisville Metro Government is joining with Passport Health Plan, the University of Louisville and U of L Health to launch Better Together by Staying Apart, a new initiative to encourage social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Passport Health Plan, University of Louisville, and U of L Health are stepping up and collaborating with us to remind everyone to social distance and flatten the curve by being ‘Better Together by Staying Apart’,” Mayor Fischer said. “You’ll start to see some billboards, posters in TARC shelters, on buses, and other places. And, of course, social media graphics to help spread the word even more.”
The posters and social media graphics will be available for free download.
Key messages of Better Together by Staying Apart will include:
- To protect yourself and others, limit your outings to essential needs only
- Avoid close contact with others in social settings
- Wash your hands and avoid touching your face as much as possible
- Clean and disinfect surfaces frequently
The Mayor echoed the words of Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who is managing that country’s COVID-19 crisis: “Let’s keep our distance today so that we can embrace each other better tomorrow.”
For more information, go here.
The COVID-19 outbreak has created an unprecedented demand for alcohol-based hand sanitizer, so several Louisville bourbon distilleries are jumping in to help.
“It’s heartening to see so many people and organizations stepping up and offering to help the rest of us, often through innovation,” Mayor Fisher said. “One great example is our bourbon distilleries. They have adjusted and are producing hand sanitizer, which is incredibly important right now.”
The Mayor cited Rabbit Hole, Heaven Hill, and Brown-Forman for providing thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer to hospitals, the Kentucky Emergency Management agency, and first responders.
Ralph de Chabert, Brown-Forman senior vice president, said the distiller has produced 14,000 bottles of hand sanitizer as well bulk amounts in barrels that it has shipped to Kentucky Emergency and Metro EMS.
“This reflects our level of caring for this city,” de Chabert said. “We can’t do enough for the people on the frontlines.”
In addition, Brown-Forman has donated $1 million to COVID-19 response efforts, including the One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund, which has been established to help individuals and groups impacted by the outbreak.
“The benefits of being the home of Bourbonism just go on and on,” Mayor Fischer said. “Bourbon is coming to the rescue. Let’s thank our distillers for stepping up.”
Online town hall Friday to focus on mental health
Mayor Fischer has invited local mental health experts to answer questions from parents concerned about helping their children navigate the COVID-19 crisis.
You can participate by going to facebook.com/MayorGregFischer at 10 a.m. on Friday.
Please report establishments that won’t comply with COVID-19 shutdown
The Mayor again called on local business operators to comply with the COVID-19 shutdown.
Although essential businesses are staying open, such as groceries, pharmacies, and restaurants that provide takeout meals, some businesses have been defying the order to close or curtail their activities.
Residents who see establishments that refuse to comply can report violators in several ways:
State of Kentucky – 1-833-KY-SAFER / 1-833-597-2337 (tollfree)
City of Louisville – Metro311
Due to an increased volume of phone calls, city officials are asking residents to contact Metro311 via the web if possible. Your complaints will still be addressed, and your questions will be answered.