Mayor Fischer urges Louisville to keep the faith, but keep it close to home on Easter and Passover
“For so many of us who’ve grown up in the Christian tradition, this is one of the holiest times of the year – a time of celebration, renewal and family gatherings and worshipping together,” the Mayor said. “And that’s true for me and my family as well. And that’s why it hurts me to say again that, in order to save lives, we must not gather for Easter this year. Not in groups in our homes. Not in public spaces. And we can’t gather in our houses of worship, either.”
In addition to Easter, Jewish Passover began April 8 and continues through April 16 and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins on April 23.
Mayor Fischer cited the example of two churches in Hopkins County, Ky., that held a religious revival in defiance of a request from health officials to cancel large gatherings to stop the deadly spread of COVID-19.
“They saw it as a joyful celebration and affirmation of their faith. Then people started getting sick. And people died,” the Mayor said. “According to the governor, 54 people connected to that revival developed COVID-19 and six of them have died. I’m not here to criticize anyone from those communities because they’ve had enough pain. And my heart goes out to them, too. I share that story because I don’t want anyone else to die in our city.”
Although Louisville has managed to avoid a massive surge of COVID-19 patients overwhelming local hospitals, Mayor Fischer said it is too soon to ease up on social distancing and resume gathering in public again.
“We all want to reopen everything and move to the recovery stage. But looking ahead, if we reopen too soon, the projections are that we could see another spike in cases by the summer, and we’d have to shut back down again,” the Mayor said. “We’re not to that stage yet, locally or nationally.”
Dr. Sarah Moyer, Louisville Metro’s chief health strategist, said that the fact we have not had a surge in COVID-19 shows that Louisvillians are taking the right approach to stopping the virus.
“The virus doesn’t move – people move,” Dr. Moyer said. “We are making progress. You’re doing it. The staying home, the social distancing, and the handwashing are working. But we must stay diligent and focused at it for a little longer. Keep staying healthy at home.”
Mayor Fischer thanked all the local faith leaders who have been working with officials to combat COVID-19 and canceling their services and other events.
“I want every worshipper and house of worship in our city to join the rest of our faith community who have discovered that you can embrace social distancing and still tend to your flock,” the Mayor said. “And your flock may grow as a result. Make the right choice this Easter, so people can still celebrate their faith without risking their lives. Please protect your flock. Keep the faith. And we’ll get through this together.”
Mayor Fischer said local businesses continue to step up and fill the urgent need for medical masks, gloves, face shields, gowns, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and first responders.
“We continue to receive offers and inquiries, but our healthcare teams need more,” the Mayor said. “If you can donate or manufacture any of these much-needed items or know someone who can, you can contact Metro Government and we’ll work with you.”
Louisville hospitals are not yet being overwhelmed with virus patients, but they continue to be concerned about their supplies of PPE. That includes:
- Face shields
- Safety goggles
- Surgical masks
- Surgical gloves
- Sanitizing wipes
- Disinfectant spray
- Hand sanitizer (65% alcohol minimum)
If your company can donate or manufacture any of these items, or know someone who can, and you want to know more, please contact Louisville Metro Government at [email protected] and someone will respond.
You can also contact the state PPE hotline at 1-833-448-3773 or go online at secure.kentucky.gov/formservices/TeamKentucky/PPE
As of Friday, there have been 520 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Louisville, an increase of 25 since Thursday. There have been six additional deaths, bringing the Louisville total to 42.
Gender/Age data for today’s deaths
Currently, 28 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.
- 10 are off and quarantined due to exposure to someone with a positive test.
- 13 are “screened off” with symptoms and have been tested (or due to be tested) but have not received test results.
Positive test numbers for first responders/public safety since the incident began:
- 10 positive tests.
- 5 have fully recovered and returned to duty.
Metro Corrections inmate data for April 10:
- 35 inmates have been tested.
- 0 positive tests.
- 1 test is pending.
- 4 inmates are in isolation due to possible COVID-19 exposure.
With thousands of Louisvillians staying home together around the clock to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the need to help victims of domestic violence is especially acute right now.
According to the New York Times, domestic violence is “an opportunistic infection” that is taking advantage of the nationwide lockdown. Local experts discussed the problem and offered advice during Mayor Fischer’s online town hall this morning.
“Locally, we’re not seeing an increase in reports of domestic violence over last year, although we don’t know how many cases are not being reported in this pandemic. It’s possible with everyone being home together it’s harder for someone being abused to make or execute a safe exit plan,” the Mayor said. “One thing I want to help clear up is that there’s apparently a misperception that during the pandemic police are focused elsewhere and might not respond to domestic violence calls, or that shelters are closed. That could not be more wrong. LMPD is absolutely responding to domestic violence calls. That has not changed. That will not change.”
The inability of many victims to leave their homes has presented a unique challenge for counselors, said Elizabeth Wessels-Martin, president and CEO of the Center for Women and Families. In response, she said the Center is engaging in lengthy phone “conversations around how you stay safe in your own home when you have a perpetrator living in the home.”
In case you missed it, you can watch a replay of the domestic violence town hall at facebook.com/MayorGregFischer.
Get answers to COVID-19 medical questions during online town hall Saturday
Mayor Fischer will host an online town hall on Saturday morning with Dr. Jon Klein, vice dean for research at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.
Go to Facebook.com/MayorGregFischer at 10 a.m. on Saturday to participate.