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Official: As Louisville Coronavirus Cases Explode, 'Pretend It Is Illegal' To Leave Home

new cases JeffCo

Louisville's average daily coronavirus incident rate has doubled since October, and nearly the entire county is considered to be in a red zone for community spread.

During a briefing Tuesday morning, Dr. Sarah Moyer, the director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, said the city is experiencing exponential increases of coronavirus infections. While the positivity rate is relatively stable because testing is increasing, the incident rate is skyrocketing.

"This is not going to slow unless our activities start changing," Moyer said.

Moyer and Mayor Greg Fischer pleaded with Louisvillians to follow Gov. Andy Beshear's red zone recommendations and realize that they're at risk of infection every time they leave their homes. Fischer said the city is monitoring health care capacity very closely in assessing whether mandatory restrictions, like those in place from March through May, are necessary again.

When Fischer asked if Moyer had anything to add, she said, "Pretend it is illegal right now, and please stay home."

There are 270 people hospitalized because of the coronavirus in Jefferson County and 36 on ventilators at the time of the briefing. Fischer said hospitals could be over capacity within a few weeks if things don't change.

Business Enforcement

Louisville Public Health will transition back to COVID-19 enforcement only and no longer conducting routine inspections, Deputy Director Connie Mendel said.

"We will also be reaching out to businesses, private and others that are not following (the governor's) recommendations for the red level and working with them to try to get them to comply with those," Mendel said.

The health department will cite and fine businesses in violation of current rules, Mendel said.

But a reportedly crowded Butchertown Halloween party has highlighted one gap in enforcement. Mendel said they haven't issued any citations, even though they heard about the crowded warehouse party without masks or social distancing, because inspectors didn't witness the violations personally.

Kate Howard is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.