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Mayor Fischer: Vaccination rate ‘still not where we need it’ before holidays

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 5:08 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) -Leaders of Louisville metro are concerned the city has not met its vaccination goals ahead of the holiday season.

Metro Public Health and Wellness encouraged residents to take precautionary measures to safely gather on Thanksgiving.

“While I’m thankful to say that our situation is much better than it was last year, our entire community still is not where we need it to be for everyone to be safe from the virus,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “The promising news is that we’re seeing vaccination rates go up again as more people become eligible.”

Here are the key COVID-19 data metrics for Nov. 23, 2021:

  • Louisville remains in the alert level red with an incidence rate of 26.9%.
  • There were 1,444 new cases over the previous weeks.
  • There were eight deaths.

Hospitalization data:

  • 140 patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19
  • 47 of those patients are in ICU
  • 19 patients with COVID-19 are on ventilators

Vaccines:

  • 68.8% of Louisville residents have received at least one dose of vaccine.
  • 58.9% have completed the vaccine series.

“While 1,400 new cases are troubling, we were closer to 3,500 this time last year,” Fischer said. “That’s the vaccines at work. Most people in our community are vaccinated. But there are still many who are not and that presents some challenges for holiday gatherings.”

Although Louisville’s COVID-19 cases remain in the red zone, the Mayor noted that vaccination rates are greatly improving.

Currently, more than 11,000 children ages five to 11 across the Louisville area have been vaccinated.

“There’s been some great excitement for families to have vaccines available for their kids, especially as we head into the holiday season,” Dr. SarahBeth Hartlage said. “There are many sites in the area that are offering vaccines, including boosters for adults. Many of our public health sites offer that service along with our private-sector partners.”

Dr. Hartlage noted that the FDA has simplified the eligibility and approved booster doses for anyone over 18.

“If your first shot was Janssen, you can get your booster after two months, and if you received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, you can get your booster shot after six months,” Hartlage said. “Everyone is eligible, and there are no qualifying factors. Vaccination is the number one tool to prevent COVID-19.”

She urged people who will be celebrating at family gatherings to get vaccinated.

“If no one is vaccinated, the risk of someone bringing the virus to the table is much higher,” Hartlage said. “If anyone has symptoms, we recommend that you stay home and not put your family members at risk.”

Dr. Hartlage also recommended that people get tested before joining festive gatherings.

‘Say Yes! Covid Test’ home kits are still available. As more people gather for the holidays, residents are encouraged to pick up the ‘Say Yes! COVID Test’ at pick-up locations around the city. The home kits will help residents to perform a test twice a week, regardless of symptoms, to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep the community healthy.

Frequent testing, combined with vaccination, wearing a mask, hand washing and social distancing, can help to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The home tests do not replace workplace, travel or school testing policies.

To find a location to pick up a free test, visit covidhometestlouisville.org or call the LOU Health COVID Helpline at 502-912-8598.

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