Mayor Fischer sees signs of hope, but stresses patience, vigilance in battle against COVID-19
Mayor Greg Fischer today discussed the impact that COVID-19 is having on Louisville including a ZIP code-by-ZIP code look at the spread of the virus, as well as its racial breakdown in the community. He also stressed patience and vigilance in the battle against COVID-19, while discussing a three-phase plan for resilient recovery from this crisis.
“Right now, our overall COVID-19 case numbers and fatalities are relatively low compared to larger cities that have been hot spots for the disease, which means it’s difficult to make too many conclusions about the data we are seeing,” said the Mayor. “But we are mindful of the health equity issues that we face in Louisville and the nation even in normal times, and we must address those issues as we develop strategies to respond to COVID-19.”
The Mayor said we continue to see some positives signs, here and around the county. Still, he warned about lifting the restrictions too soon.
“I know some people are anxious to reopen our community,” Mayor Fischer said. “But, COVID-19 has not peaked in Louisville nor Kentucky. Right now, we must all continue to stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19 and work with our health care professionals, first responders, and public health experts to tackle this immense challenge. When the data indicates it is time, we will begin to take steps to emerge from our homes, lift some of the emergency restrictions, and consider a return to some sense of normalcy.”
Moving out of our current situation will require greatly expanded testing for residents, as a plan to trace and contact anyone a person with a positive test has come into close contact with. And following that, the Mayor is focused on building and executing a resilient and equitable recovery that addresses the economy, infrastructure, health, safety, arts, sports, hospitality and other sectors.
“Lifting restrictions too soon could allow COVID-19 to come roaring back. We are going to use data and science, not anger and emotion, to guide us here,” said the Mayor. “Making some tough sacrifices now means we will emerge from this safer and stronger than before. We don’t set the timeline. The virus does.”
Mayor announces $500,000 matching grant challenge issued to support Small Business Continuity Loan Program
The Mayor today announced a $500,000 matching grant challenge, including a virtual 5K walk/run event, in support of the Small Business Continuity Loan Fund Program. The fund is
providing zero-interest loans, with no payments for 12 months, to Louisville’s smallest businesses impacted by COVID-19. Small businesses can receive up to $25,000 to meet short-term debt obligations and remain viable.
Since opening the application process on April 6, Louisville-based community development financial institution LHOME has approved $346,110 in loans for 16 small businesses, 15 of which are minority and/or woman-owned businesses. To date, LHOME has 455 open applications from local small businesses in need.
Donations toward the $500,000 match can be made at www.lhomeky.org.
In addition, the Small Business Continuity Loan Fund Program is partnering with Louisville Entrepreneurship Acceleration Partnership (LEAP) and startup Moolathon to host “The Grind,” a virtual 5K walk/run event to help raise funds and encourage people to get outdoors. The program partners are Louisville Metro Government, LHOME, Render Capital, Greater Louisville Inc., and Lenderfit.
“The same small businesses that add to Louisville’s unique character are, by nature, more vulnerable to the changing economic tides. Widespread support for these businesses is imperative to ensure that our small businesses emerge strong after the COVID-19 economic recession,” said the Mayor. “Participating in the 5K run/walk is a great way for all to get involved in supporting small businesses while remaining healthy at home.”
Getting outside and being active can help reduce stress and anxiety — two things people are experiencing while weathering the COVID-19 pandemic. When walking or running, you're asked to follow social distancing guidelines. Participants have until May 15, 2020, to complete their goal. Sign up now at www.louisvilleleap.com/thegrind.
LHOME is administering loans through the Small Business Continuity Loan Fund Program, and local loan application software startup Lenderfit is managing the application process. For more details about eligibility and to apply for a small business continuity loan, visit www.lhomeky.org.
A week-long event is underway to recognize the efforts of our Public Safety Communicators, the men and women that serve the residents of Louisville Metro. Congress designated the second week of April as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week to honor and celebrate public safety telecommunications personnel for dedicated service to their communities.
“It’s an honor to celebrate these exemplary individuals who demonstrate the highest levels of professional conduct and extraordinary performance,” said the Mayor. “Their dedication and hard work touch the lives of countless people daily. It is an honor to work with the many people
who make sure that no call for help goes unanswered in Louisville.” In Louisville Metro, the MetroSafe 911 Communications Center serves as the primary point for dispatching police, fire, and EMS responses. In addition, telecommunicators also provide medical pre-arrival instructions, activate weather alerts, assist with hospital communications, and handle the callouts for specialized response teams such as hazardous materials and search and rescue responses. Tonight, the Big Four Bridge and Lynn Family Stadium will be lit gold in their honor.
As of Wednesday, there have been 687 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Louisville. There have been 7 additional deaths, bringing the Louisville total to 55.
Gender/Age data for today’s deaths
Currently, 16 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.
- 8 are off and quarantined due to exposure to someone with a positive test.
- 3 are “screened off” with symptoms and have been tested but have not received test results.
Positive test numbers for first responders/public safety since the incident began:
- 11 positive tests.
- 6 have fully recovered and returned to duty.
Metro Corrections inmate data for April 14:
- 42 inmates have been tested.
- 0 positive tests.
Mayor Fischer reminded citizens that while the numbers of domestic violence calls continue to be down, that does not mean abuse is not happening. With thousands of Louisvillians staying home together to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the need to help victims of domestic violence is even greater.
“Although we have not seen an increase in police calls, experts worry that with so many families staying at home 24/7 during this pandemic, there may be a silent rise in abuse and violence,” the Mayor said. “Obviously, you can always get our help by calling 911. However, it is important for us to remind everyone that the Center for Women and Families is always open and always ready to help. If someone needs help or advice on this issue, they should call the Center’s 24/7 Hotline, which is 1-844-237-2331.”
Each spring, students from across the Commonwealth of Kentucky come together for WE Day to celebrate service and compassion. From collecting personal goods to be donated to those in need, empowering youth to become social entrepreneurs and lifting up our community with the annual WE Walk, WE Day Kentucky brings the next generation together and gives them the tools to change the world. This year, the in-person event was cancelled due to COVID-19.
“Usually on WE Day we would see our downtown streets filled with youth and teachers carrying messages of hope and empowerment during the annual WE Walk parade,” said Mayor Fischer. “That's not happening today, but I’m happy that hundreds of students and their family members were able to experience a Virtual WE Day today. They’re keeping the spirit of WE alive and well!”
For more information, go to www.WEDayKY.org.
The arts take center stage on Thursday’s online town hall
Join Mayor Fischer for an Arts Town Hall on Thursday morning with special guests Christen Boone from the Fund for the Arts and Aldy Miliken from KMAC Museum. They will be joined by Dave Christopher of AMPED, Dave Howard of the Louisville Folk School, and Kristen Miller of Sarabande Books doing a poetry reading.
“With so many theaters, museums, and galleries shut down, our artists are hurting just like the rest of us, but they are also doing a lot to keep our spirits lifted,” said Mayor Fischer. Go to Facebook.com/MayorGregFischer at 10 a.m. on Thursday to participate.