Mayor Greg Fischer along with Louisville’s Chief Health Strategist Dr. Sarah Moyer, and several frontline health workers today were the first to receive the city’s first doses of the Moderna vaccine.
“Finally, we can see the light at the end of the long tunnel that we’ve been making our way through in this battle against COVID-19,” said the Mayor. “I and everyone else vaccinated today did so because we want to underscore our belief that the vaccine is safe, and we encourage others to get vaccinated as well.”
Dr. Moyer joined the Mayor in enthusiasm for what the arrival of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines bring going forward.
“Today marks the 286th day my staff has been officially battling a pandemic,” she said. “We’ve not only been battling the pandemic but also for our community. We’ve sacrificed so much and made significant changes to try to save lives, protect our families and our community. We’re tired, but we’re not giving up. The arrival of the vaccine gives me hope that next year at this time we will be enjoying our families, traveling, enjoying in-person events and more. Our sacrifice and efforts will have been worth it.”
More than 20 healthcare workers, emergency medical services personnel and a host of essential employees received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, known as mRNA-1273. Metro Health and Wellness received an initial shipment of 3,000 doses of the vaccine. In phase 1A of its vaccine allocation, the health department is responsible for healthcare workers in Louisville who are not connected to a healthcare system that includes first responders, paramedics, emergency medical technicians and other high-risk health workers. The following people received the first dose of the vaccine this afternoon:
- Sarah Moyer, Director, LMPHW
- John Buchino, Medical Director, The Kidz Club
- Greg Fischer, Mayor, Louisville Metro Government
- Alan Cruse, Sergeant and EMT, Louisville Fire
- Mary Taylor, Major and Paramedic, LMEMS
- Justin Dragoo, Captain, LMEMS
- Natasha Sanders, Occupational Health Nurse, Family Health Centers
- Leo Cruz, Firefighter and EMT, Louisville Fire
- Christopher Sperry, Chief Medical Officer, Shawnee Christian Healthcare Center
- Paula Allen, Paramedic, LMEMS
- David Borders, Paramedic, LMEMS
- Pam Spencer, LMPHW
- Katy Reef, Paramedic, Suburban Fire
- Mark Jorrisch, Medical Director, LMPHW, MORE Center
- Racheal Wiedmeyer, Sergeant / EMT, Suburban Fire
- Miguel Cuoto, Certified Medical Assistant, Park DuValle Community Health Center
- Angie Rarden, EMT, LMEMS
- Joe Hamilton, Firefighter / EMT, Suburban Fire
- Jamie Carr, Firefighter/ EMT, Suburban Fire
- Jeffrey Schreck, Captain and EMT, Louisville Fire
- Ellen Hesen, Deputy Mayor, Louisville Metro Government
- Markel Carr, Sergeant / EMT, Louisville Fire
As the initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the city, the number of positive cases has been on a downward trend from a daily incidence rate of 73.2 last month to 50.6 today. Dr. Moyer cautioned that despite the decrease in cases that residents must remain vigilant with mask-wearing, washing hands and staying socially distant as the virus is still present with Louisville’s current incidence rate being double the 25 cases per 100,000 keeping the city at a critical level.
“While it’s encouraging that the cases are going down, we still have to do what we know works,” Dr. Moyer said.
Here are the key COVID-19 data metrics for the week of December 23, 2020:
- There were 2,715 new cases over the previous week.
- Hospitalization data:
- 9% of patients currently hospitalized have COVID-19.
- 83 patients in ICU with COVID-19 as of December 23, an increase from 73 the week prior.
- 59 COVID-19 patients on ventilators as of December 23, compared to 52 last week.
- COVID-19 cases are in every ZIP code and each of them is in the red.
- Largest increase in cases is in the 20-44-year-old demographic at 2%
We’re seeing a disproportionate number of cases in our African American and Latinx communities. We continue efforts to provide resources for residents needing to quarantine and increasing testing capacity.
With high-level community spread, interactions with individuals outside the household put residents at a greater risk of bringing an infection home. Once a member of the household is infected, it is likely to spread to others.
With continued signs of hope from the arrival of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, Dr. Moyer offered her outlook on expectations for 2021. She emphasized that the initial shipment of vaccine supply was small due to the health department’s focus on healthcare workers, but reassured those in attendance that the health department is committed to ensuring as many people as possible that want to, will get the vaccine.
“We are excited that the first doses have arrived, but it’s going to take many months and even years before our whole community has the vaccine available to them as the distribution and prioritization is controlled by the federal and state government,” she said. “But I pledge to share information and keep you updated. So, stay strong Louisville! Keep wearing your masks, washing your hands, limiting where you go and who you’re around. Keep fighting.”
Holiday Safety Reminder
The winter holiday season is here, and similar to Thanksgiving, risks are present with residents eager to see their families and celebrate. Public health officials with Metro Health state that the safest way to celebrate the holidays is at home with the people who live with you, as travel and attending gatherings with those outside your household can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 and the flu.
“We are all being asked to make a lot of sacrifices right now,” Dr. Moyer said. “I know many people will still want to get together with family and friends. Remember that the actions we take now will impact our lives as we continue the fight against this virus. If we follow the recommendations this year, everyone will be there to enjoy next year and years to come.”
For residents who plan to travel, Dr. Moyer suggested checking state and local government travel restrictions and the Centers for Disease Control travel guidance beforehand. She suggested that Louisvillians who are traveling get tested three days beforehand and three to five days after their return. Additionally, Dr. Moyer strongly encouraged people to reduce non-essential activities and quarantine for 10-14 days after travel. The CDC recommends these actions to protect yourself and others from getting COVID-19 during the holiday season:
Stay at least six feet from people in crowded areas. It’s important to do this everywhere both indoors and outdoors.
Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered in shared spaces outside your home, including public transportation.
Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness.
Watch your health: Look for symptoms of COVID-19, get tested if any arise.
Follow all state and local public health recommendations or requirements.
First Responder Data
Currently, 64 members of LMPD, Louisville Fire, Metro EMS, Metro Corrections and the Sheriff’s Office are off-duty due to COVID-19:
- 30 are off with positive tests and in self-isolation
- 21 are off and quarantined due to exposure to someone who tested positive
- 13 are off with symptoms, pending test results
- Positive test numbers for first responders/public safety since the incident began:
- 434 positive tests
- 404 have fully recovered and returned to duty
- Metro Corrections inmate data:
- Total Tested: 4,776
- Total Positive: 282
- Total Recovered: 276
- Total currently under medical isolation: 6
- Total tests pending: 0
To view the entire COVID-19 weekly update with Public 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.louisville.gov/covid19. The LOU HEALTH COVID19 Helpline is also available: 502- 912-8598.