Weekly COVID-19 update from the Department of Public Health and Wellness

October 6, 2020

During the city’s weekly COVID-19 update, Mayor Greg Fischer and Public Health and Wellness Director Dr. Sarah Moyer said Louisville’s COVID-19 cases continue to increase.

Mayor Fischer said that with the recent increases we should reflect on our actions individually and get back to the basics to help diminish the chance of COVID-19 spreading.

"Make your mask wearing as normal to you as putting your pants and shirt on in the morning,” the Mayor said. “Plan your day but put that extra layer on top of it by asking what does this activity do relative to me doing my part to decrease the spread of COVID-19.”

Louisville remains in alert level orange, but the city’s upward trajectory of COVID-19 case counts is getting dangerously close to red, according to Dr. Moyer.

An orange alert level includes a combination of data metrics, but most notably means there are 10-25 positive cases per 100,000 people per day, based on the most recent 7-day average.

Louisville’s current rate is 24.9 cases per 100,000 people per day. The prior week it was 20.6.  

Here are the key data metrics for the week of October 6, 2020:

  • COVID-19 cases increased over the previous week for a total of 18,591 cases.
  • Louisville’s rolling two-week average positivity rate is at 6.2 percent.
  • Hospitalization data:
    • 10% of patients currently hospitalized have COVID-19.
    • 27 patients in ICU with COVID-19 as of October 6.
    • 18 COVID-19 patients on ventilators as of October 6.
  • Cases continue to be in every Louisville ZIP code with higher numbers in west and south Louisville.

Hospitalization data is holding steady, though we are starting to see an increase in cases in our nursing homes, therefore we are expecting these numbers to change soon.

Louisville is actively hiring to meet the needs of these increased cases, evidenced by the 198 staff on Louisville Metro’s contact tracing team, Dr. Moyer said. The team is reporting that the majority of cases come from household guests and workplace contacts.

Many of the cases in Louisville in the younger age groups are attributed to activities outside of school such as sports, parties, and congregate settings. Last week, the CDC reported that young adults account for more than 20% of all confirmed cases in the U.S.

Dr. Moyer acknowledged COVID-19 fatigue in Louisville could be contributing to people letting their guard down with mask wearing and social distancing. She urged community members to stay vigilant in these defenses to help to break the chain of transmission of COVID-19.

 “We can do this, we can stop the spread of COVID-19,” Dr. Moyer said. “I challenge everyone to find the joy in this new normal of wearing masks, exercise and enjoying the outdoors. If we want to continue working or be able to send our kids back to school this is our new normal. So please, wear a mask, wash your hands as much as possible and remember that the virus doesn’t move, people move.”

University of Louisville Co-Immunity Project                                                                                  

Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar, Director of The Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute at the University of Louisville presented the institute’s research findings on its community research for Phase II of the Co-immunity Project’s community study.

Researchers sent out 32,000 letters looking for volunteers, for random sampling, throughout Louisville to get equal representation and to make a reasonable estimate on the rate of COVID-19 infection in the city and where it may be.

Of the 32,000 letters, Dr. Bhatnagar said 1,500 people came forward to be tested. Researchers tested an additional 500-600 people across Jefferson County. From this random sampling, the Co-Immunity Project found that 4.4 percent of people tested have antibodies to COVID-19.

Dr. Bhatnagar estimated from that 4.4 percent, in relation to Louisville, roughly 34,000 people may have been infected with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

The data compiled did reveal vulnerabilities such as location and age distribution, according to Dr. Bhatnagar.

“Young people are just as likely to get infected as older people, though they might have fewer adverse outcomes,” he said.

Also, Dr. Bhatnagar said he could not pinpoint race or location as reasons for higher concentration of COVID-19 infections due to varying factors.

“In neighborhoods that are denser with people living close to each other, it could result in more infection rates,” he said. “There are people who are professionals (essential workers) who need to be out in the community, so they’re more likely to be exposed resulting in greater rates of infection.”

Dr. Bhatnagar also said in order to have better control of COVID-19 we need to reach out to people more efficiently and effectively through methods like robust testing and contact tracing.

First Responder Data

Currently, 58 members of LMPD, Louisville Fire, Metro EMS, Metro Corrections and the Sheriff’s Office are off-duty due to COVID-19:

  • 40 are off with positive tests and in self-isolation
  • 7 are off and quarantined due to exposure to someone who tested positive
  • 11 are off with symptoms, pending test results

 

Positive test numbers for first responders/public safety since the incident began:

  • 219 positive tests
  • 173 have fully recovered and returned to duty

Metro Corrections inmate data: 3,564 inmates have been tested

  • 229 positives
  • 1 test is pending

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To view the entire COVID-19 weekly update with Mayor Fischer and health officials, click here. The city’s  COVID-19 data dashboard, a complete list of COVID-19 testing sites, information on symptoms, prevention and contact tracing can be found at www.louisvilleky.gov/covid19.  The LOU HEALTH COVID19 Helpline is also available: 502- 912-8598.