New COVID-19 cases and deaths in Louisville are at their lowest since last June, but infections continue to spread among the city’s unvaccinated population. Louisville public health officials shared the statistics in their first bi-weekly health update following the end of state COVID-19 restrictions.
The 44.6% of residents who are fully vaccinated can return to pre-pandemic activities without having to don a mask, but those who aren’t need to continue to take precautions, said Dr. Sarah Moyer, director at the Louisville Metro Department of Health and Wellness.
“If you are part of that 55% that is not vaccinated fully yet, please continue to wear your mask,” Moyer said.
Louisville reported 170 new cases last week. That’s down from a weekly high of 4,000 cases in January. Deaths too, are on the decline. However, there are currently 38 COVID-positive patients in the hospital, 14 in intensive care units and 13 on ventilators. All of them are unvaccinated, Moyer said.
“All of our cases that have been hospitalized so far have not been vaccinated,” Moyer said.
The city has now delivered over one million doses of the vaccine within Jefferson County. The east side of Louisville continues to see higher vaccination rates — from about 50 to 60% — while rates in the city’s West and South end are much lower — 0 to 30%.
Pregnant women are among the least likely to be vaccinated, especially those between the ages of 18 and 24 and those who Black or Latina, said Dr. SarahBeth Hartlage. Pregnant women who test positive for COVID-19 are at higher risk for complications from the virus, but a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the vaccine is safe for pregnant women, Hartlage said.
A new variant that originated in India has been identified in Louisville in the last week. The so-called “Delta” variant is more infectious, tends to make younger people sicker, and requires people to be fully vaccinated to ensure its effectiveness, Moyer said.
The Delta variant is not yet common in Louisville, but the CDC is predicting it will become the dominant version of the virus by fall, she said.
“So that gives us time to get fully vaccinated,” Moyer said.