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Louisville health leaders urge COVID-19 vaccinations, testing ahead of holidays

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer stands at a podium during a July 2020 news conference.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County have nearly doubled in a week, with samples all showing the delta variant.

Although COVID-19 cases are less than half what they were a year ago in the Louisville metro area, city leaders are urging precautions going into the holidays as Jefferson County remains in the red zone of disease spread. 

There were 1,444 new cases reported last week. At this time last year, that number stood at around 3,500, Mayor Greg Fischer said during a weekly Tuesday COVID briefing with city health officials. 

“We’re a couple days away from our second Thanksgiving since COVID-19 entered our lives,” Fischer said. “And while I’m thankful to say the situation is a lot better than it was last year, our entire community still is not where we need it to be.”

The incidence rate is 26.9 cases per 100,000 residents; the area has hovered around the 25-mark in recent weeks, keeping it in or near the red zone.

Fischer and health officials said that anyone visiting friends or family for the holidays should get vaccinated, stay home if sick and take COVID tests before and after the visits. 

Dr. SarahBeth Hartlage, associate medical director at the Louisville Metro Department of Health and Wellness, said while case counts are not as low as they were in early summer, the numbers are stable, with hospitalizations and deaths trending downward.

“The key to this success is vaccination,” Hartlage said. 

She reported that 58.9% of residents, or 451,735 people, have been fully vaccinated, with 68.8% of the population having received at least their first dose. 

More than 11,000 5- to 11-year-olds have received one shot since they were approved for the vaccine at the start of November. 

“I think there’s been some great excitement from parents who have, maybe the rest of the household has already been vaccinated and their first-grader has been the last one out,” Hartlage said. “So I know there’s been a lot of families who are excited to sort of complete the set and get the last of their household vaccinated, especially as we lead into the holiday season.”

For more information, visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/louisville-covid-19-resource-center


Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.

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