Health

Metro Louisville is in the red in terms of the incident rate of coronavirus.

That means there is now “uncontrolled spread” of COVID-19 happening in Jefferson County, according to chief health strategist Dr. Sarah Moyer. 

“We’ve clearly crossed the mark of 25 new cases per 100,000 population per day and are at 28.9 [incident rate], which puts us in the red,” Moyer said during a briefing Tuesday, pointing to the Metro’s COVID-19 data dashboard.

She reported 1,552 new cases since last week, and 23 additional reported deaths, eight occurring last week. The county’s positivity rate is 5.2%, down from the previous week, she said.

While the county presently has “adequate hospital capacity,” Moyer said, over the last four weeks, the Metro has seen an increase in the use of hospital beds and ICU ventilators for COVID-19 patients, and that usage continues to “trend up.”

Moyer also said there won’t be any new COVID restrictions for the Metro. She believes there are enough already in place, but people need to follow them. 

“Everyone has different risk tolerance and what they’re willing to do and so just hoping that people take the right road and kind of scale back on what they’re already doing, inline with our COVID-19 precautions that are in place now,” she said.

She did express concern about “pandemic fatigue,” along with this increased risk taking, especially as the days get shorter and colder, making it more uncomfortable for outdoor gatherings.

One “bright spot in the data,” Moyer pointed out, is that “we’re seeing across the country that classrooms that are able to keep the COVID precautions in place, with mask wearing and small cohorts spaced apart, are doing really well with stopping the virus.” 

That’s not the case for school sports though, where there’s been “many sports clusters and an increase in sports clusters in October compared to September.” 

“So, I think it’s just another reminder of what we know, that if you can keep a mask on, stay six feet apart, aren’t clumping together, that coronavirus doesn’t spread,” she said. “I think as sports start to move indoors, [we] definitely seen it there as well, too.” 

The number of student athletes who have had to quarantine has about doubled thus far into October as compared to all of September, and a large share of that has been volleyball or indoor volleyball-related, “but also seeing other cases in football and dance and other teams as well,” she said.

With Halloween approaching, Moyer said the county stands by the guidance from the state — to have everyone wear a mask for trick or treating, stay six feet apart and clean wrappings before eating candy or treats.

But, the safest option is to stay home and celebrate the fall holiday “with your own family and not with others,” she said.

Stephanie Wolf is WFPL's Arts & Culture Reporter.