Mayor Fischer urges young people to be mindful of the dangers of COVID-19
Mayor Greg Fischer and Louisville Metro Chief Health Strategist Dr. Sarah Moyer, who is leading the city’s battle against COVID-19, today warned that even young and healthy Louisvillians must take precautions against the COVID-19 virus.
Although data suggests that the virus is not as deadly for young people, it can make them sick, sometimes requiring hospitalization, and they can spread the virus to other, more vulnerable people.
Two of Louisville’s 25 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been in people under the age of 18 – an 8-month-old and a 17-year-old – both of whom did not require hospitalization and recovered at home. There have been a total of 63 confirmed cases in the state as of Friday evening.
“We’ve been hammering away about social distancing and proper handwashing for weeks now, but we still see news reports from other cities of packed bars on St. Patrick’s Day and crowded beaches during spring break,” the Mayor said. “This virus does not care how old or how young you are. Everyone needs to take it seriously.”
Dr. Moyer said parents need to encourage their children to practice social distancing, frequent handwashing, and to avoid touching their faces. She also reiterated the necessity of shutting down schools and daycares.
“These are reasons why closing schools and daycares is essential to help stop the spread,” Dr. Moyer said. “As a mom of four young children, I understand how much these closings can disrupt our daily lives, but it’s vital to slow the spread of COVID-19 throughout the community.”
The COVID-19 outbreak has strained the national supply of surgical masks, face shields, gowns, and other personal protective equipment (PPEs) used by medical workers, and Louisville is no exception.
Mayor Fischer said Louisville Metro Government has acquired a supply of PPEs and is distributing them to the city’s three major healthcare systems and other providers with COVID-19 cases.
“All the hospitals have the supplies they need for now, but we are prepared to help,” the Mayor said. “Louisville Metro Government is monitoring the national supply of PPEs and is working to acquire more.”
Dr. Moyer said the criteria for distributing PPE is at louisvilleky.gov/COVID19.
Mayor Fischer also encouraged the Louisville community to help keep local hospitals supplied with blood during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The pandemic that is disrupting daily life in Louisville and the rest of the nation has forced the American Red Cross to curtail its usual schedule of community blood drives, impacting the supplies on hand at hospitals that are already under stress.
“While we’re all rightfully focused on COVID-19, our hospitals need to know that there will be enough blood on hand to maintain all their vital lifesaving functions,” the Mayor said.
American Red Cross officials said 117 local blood drives had been cancelled in recent days, resulting in nearly 4,000 fewer donations than normal.
“This is a time when many of us are feeling anxious and want to do something – anything – to help the community. Well, this is something you can do,” Mayor Fischer said. “If you are healthy, are feeling fine, and are eligible to donate blood, I urge you to do so.”
The American Red Cross is still accepting donations at its donation centers and will be conducting blood drives. To make an appointment or find a blood drive near you, go to RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.
Red Cross employees are following safety protocols to help prevent the spread of any type of infection, including:
- Wearing gloves and changing gloves often
- Sanitizing beds after each donor
- Routinely wiping down donor-touched areas
- Using sterile collection sets for every donation and preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub
- Checking the temperature of staff and donors to make sure they are healthy
- Providing hand sanitizer for use before entering the drive, as well as throughout the donation process
- Spacing donors to follow social distancing practices
- Increasing enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment.
“For over 100 years, Kentuckians have looked to the American Red Cross during times of uncertainty while joining us in bringing help and hope to others,” said Cyndi Dahl, regional donor services executive at Red Cross Kentucky Blood Services. “In these unprecedented circumstances, we’re so grateful for the community’s generosity. Every day, hundreds of patients across the region are dependent on voluntary blood donors to help them fight for their lives. We’re urging all healthy individuals to join us in helping to ensure they won’t have to fight alone.”
Mayor Fischer lauded the local groceries and retailers that have stepped up to help during the COVID-19 outbreak by offering special shopping hours for the elderly and people who are especially susceptible to the virus.
“These businesses and their employees are under the same stress that we all are, but they have made a commitment to ensure that our vulnerable population has safe access to essential items,” the Mayor said.
Mayor Fischer also admonished people from hoarding essential items like toilet paper and cleaning supplies.
“One area where supply is not an issue is with our grocery stores,” the Mayor said. “Do the compassionate thing and leave essentials for your neighbors. There’s enough for everyone. There’s no need to hoard.”
Mayor Fischer will answer questions from the community during a Facebook Q&A at 10 a.m. Saturday. He’ll be joined by Dr. Jon Klein, Vice Dean for Research at the UofL School of Medicine and an expert in microbiology and immunology.
“We're committed to being as transparent as we can,” Mayor Fischer said. “Send your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can.”
Go to Facebook.com/MayorGregFischer to join the conversation.
The COVID-19 outbreak has brought out the best in the community, but unfortunately it has inspired some to take advantage of their neighbors during this time of stress and confusion.
“Unfortunately, we know a crisis brings out scammers, especially on social media,” the Mayor said. “In a situation as serious as this, we have to do everything we can to fight back against disinformation.”
Mayor Fischer advised residents to get their facts about COVID-19 tests and medical supplies from Louisville Metro Government and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. When in doubt go to www.louisvilleky.gov, www.kycovid19.ky.gov, and the state COVID-19 Hotline, 1-800-722-5725.