Health

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has extended the state of emergency as the city faces a resurgence in cases of COVID-19.

Metro officials say they have traced the rise in cases to social gatherings among young adults. Fischer singled out bars as a culprit, warning that he would consider rolling back reopening plans if health officials do not see better compliance with guidelines this weekend.

The executive order Fischer signed Tuesday extends the state of emergency through August 31. Fischer said the order would allow the city additional flexibility to respond to the virus in the city, but did not elaborate.

“This crisis has to be taken seriously. That means we have to adjust our behavior or we are going to see more suffering and more deaths,” Fischer said. “That’s the bottom line.”

As of Tuesday, Louisville Metro confirmed 5,331 cases of coronavirus including 145 new cases and 231 deaths.

Louisville’s Chief Health Strategist Dr. Sarah Moyer said the city has also seen an increase in hospitalizations, but that there remain plenty of empty beds in hospitals and intensive care units in the city.

Moyer pointed to family gatherings and out-of-state travel as a second source of community spread.

“When we look at the data, people in Louisville are moving almost as much as they were in March,” Moyer said. “In order to reverse these trends again, we need to slow down and reduce the number of people we are coming in contact with.”

Officials are not currently seeing signs of community spread at protests and in factories such as the JBS Swift pork processing facility, Moyer said.

Moyer said Louisville residents should only get tested if they feel symptomatic because of the slow response in results due to turnaround times at national laboratories, which can take 7 to 10 days.

Ryan Van Velzer is WFPL's Energy and Environment Reporter.