Today, Mayor Greg Fischer, along with Dr. SarahBeth Hartlage, Associate Medical Director of the Louisville Department of Public Health and Wellness, said the pandemic is a personal health concern for everyone and urged people to take steps to protect themselves and their families, including their children.
Cases of COVID-19 in Louisville have surged over the past three weeks, and today’s data resembles that of mid-February, ahead of widespread vaccine availability in the city. With the Delta variant causing the spike in new cases, Mayor Fischer said, “The unvaccinated are victims of new infections and practically the entire load of serious illnesses.”
The mayor stressed that anyone who is hesitant to receive the vaccine should speak to a medical professional about any questions about the vaccine.
“The Delta variant, clearly much more contagious than the previous version of the virus, is causing this tragic spike in new cases largely by finding unvaccinated ones,” he said. “It’s understandable if you have questions about the vaccines, but raise your concerns to a doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible.”
Here are the key COVID-19 data stats for August 17, 2021:
Louisville is in high alert red with an incidence of 41.5. There were 2,226 new cases in the past week. The number of cases continues to grow exponentially. Hospital admission data: 251 patients currently hospitalized have COVID-19. 76 patients in the ICU with COVID-19. 46 COVID-19 patients on ventilator Increase in cases in the age group 20-44 years. Group of greatest concern.
895,276 total vaccine doses given in Metro Louisville since December 59% of Louisville residents have received at least one dose of vaccine and 51.2% have completed the vaccine series
With the Delta variants, the level of infectiousness increased, said Dr. Hartlage that one person infected with the Delta variant has the potential to infect five to seven people. She said the virus is similar to chickenpox, a viral infection that has up to a 90% chance of infecting people who are not immune to it. She said the development of the two-dose varicella vaccine has helped to prevent transmission by protecting friends, family members and the community.
“The Varicella vaccine was introduced in 1995 and my generation may have been the last with 95% of us contracting chickenpox as children,” said Dr. heartbeat. “Since the vaccine was introduced, the incidence has fallen by 97%. That chickenpox vaccine, like the COVID vaccine, is highly effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death from the viruses they work against.”
dr. Hartlage said residents should continue to follow the public health and safety precautions of wearing masks, use five feet of space to distance themselves and often disinfect their hands when in the community to work, run errands, travel and get around. groups.
“The most important step you can take is to get vaccinated,” said Dr. heartbeat. “Children under 12 don’t have that option. When you get vaccinated, you help protect not only yourself, but also the children in our community. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, now is the time. There is sufficient availability. Go outside and make your move.”
Individuals who need help scheduling a vaccine appointment or finding a vaccine clinic can call the LOU Health Helpline at 502-912-8598 or visit vaccins.gov to find providers near them. They can also text their zip code to GETVAX (438829) for English or VACUNA (822862) for Spanish to receive an address from nearby vaccination centers.
UofL Public Health Expert shares the latest information on booster vaccine doses
dr. Paul McKinney, Professor and Associate Dean at the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences, and member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), shared his expertise on COVID-19 booster doses. Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced an updated recommendation approving an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in moderately and severely immunocompromised individuals. dr. McKinney said the announcement was a major breakthrough for Americans with these high-level health complications. He said 40 to 45 percent of individuals hospitalized with breakthrough cases are immunocompromised, which he attributed to not getting a primary antibody response in the first round of vaccine doses.
dr. McKinney said people who are immunocompromised include those who receive organ transplants, stem cell transplants and cancer treatments, as well as individuals who have been immunosuppressed since birth and other high-level conditions. This group makes up nearly seven million adults in the US, he estimated.
“The concern was that the additional doses of the mRNA vaccine should first target people who were unlikely to have had a good primary response to the vaccine,” he said. “Among those with compromising conditions of a severe nature, it is estimated that only about 35 to 40 percent of them had developed a primary antibody response that would be protective against the coronavirus and its variants in circulation. These individuals, if infected, will harbor the virus for a longer period of time, they can transmit it to many people, and there is a greater chance of mutations developing as the virus continues to multiply in their system. It is important that they are protected.”
dr. McKinney said a third dose of the vaccine should help improve the antibody response in that group from 35 percent to 70 percent. Speaking further, he said the third dose would not be modified in any way to focus on the Delta variant, but instead will be exactly the same as previous doses, from the amount of mRNA present to the volume of the injection.
“I think there will be changes to mRNA vaccines over time, but the plan now is to use the same one because at the moment it seems sufficient to provide the necessary protection,” he said.
For other groups that are not immunocompromised, said Dr. McKinney that there is data indicating a decrease in the effectiveness of preventing symptomatic disease in people who have received the vaccine. He said studies are ongoing and data is being monitored closely, adding that protection against mortality and hospitalization is still high, but shows a decrease in the incidence of symptomatic disease after six months.
“I think very soon there will be a reconsideration for that extra dose in those individuals,” said Dr. McKinney. “I would expect that in a month or so, maybe a few months, it will also become a sacrifice. The focus now is on the immunocompromised. Hopefully all those people get the message, either directly or through their healthcare providers, that this is the Now is the time to get vaccinated, which should generally help with some of the hospitalizations that are happening and reduce the pressure on our healthcare facilities in the US.”
Norton Children’s Hospital medical director discusses COVID in pediatrics
dr. Mark McDonald, Norton Children’s Hospital medical director and pediatrician, has cared for patients during the pandemic and provided an inside look at what the hospital is seeing regarding COVID cases in adolescents. He said the virus hit adults early in the pandemic, while sparing the pediatric population. At the height of the previous spike in cases, Dr. McDonald that in the entire hospital there were about two to three patients with one ICU patient. During this latest wave of the Delta variant, he said children have been hit harder with 11 inpatients and four ICU patients with three new admissions of COVID patients.
“The patients are much sicker with the Delta variant and they need a lot more support than before,” said Dr. McDonald’s. “We have established and distributed treatment guidelines for pediatric practices across the state.”
None of the children in the hospital have been vaccinated, he said. He said Norton promotes vaccinations because children can certainly spread the virus to adults.
“The message about vaccinations is important, especially for the pediatric population,” he said. “If you have kids 12 and older, you can get the vaccine for them. We are actually going to start vaccinating children within the hospital, who are admitted, who have not been vaccinated.”
Speaking about long-term COVID complications in adolescents, Dr. McDonald that some children experience myocardial dysfunction, fatigue, memory fog, headaches and an inability to concentrate when they read after recovering from the virus.
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Check out this week’s COVID-19 briefing with public health officials. The city’s COVID-19 data dashboard, a complete list of COVID-19 testing sites, information on vaccines, prevention and contact tracing can be found at www.louisville.gov/covid19. The LOU HEALTH COVID19 Helpline is also available: 502-912-8598.