LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jefferson County continued its decline in confirmed COVID-19 cases for the thirteenth consecutive week, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced during his weekly town hall Saturday.
Jefferson County reported 624 confirmed cases of COVID-19 for the week of April 3. It's the first time Louisville has been below 700 reported cases for a week since July 18, 2020.
Health officials reported nine new deaths in which the virus was a contributing factor this week, surpassing 1,000 deaths of Jefferson County residents since the pandemic began.
"Obviously a really sobering milestone," Fischer said. "When you think about everything that people have been through over the past 14 months or so, the death, the suffering. Everybody knows somebody that has had some type of COVID experience."
Of the active cases of COVID-19, 5.1% patients are hospitalized. Eighteen patients are in the ICU, 10 of whom are on ventilators.
In Jefferson County, progress continues to be made in vaccinating residents. A total of 444,096 doses have been distributed in Jefferson County while 37.3% of residents have received at least the first dose.
Kentucky's largest vaccination site is scheduled to open at Cardinal Stadium on April 12.
"Vaccines are now being administered to the tune of 10 to 11,000," Fischer said. "That's going to increase even more than when we started."
As more people are vaccinated, the COVID-19 cases could decrease, according to Dr. Jon Klein with University of Louisville.
"The bottom line is the more people we vaccinate, the better chance we see for that to not only be a plateau, but then to begin its decline," Klein said.
In Indiana, residents are no longer required to wear masks in public after the state-wide mask mandated ended. Fischer admonished the removal of the mask mandate earlier this week.
During the town hall, Klein wouldn't put a timetable on when the mask mandate could be safely lifted.
"The masks will begin to come off in closed environments, the restaurants, grocery stores, retail shopping, when we reach 75 to 85% of the community has been immunized," Klein said. "If and when that shows that it has driven down the amount of virus circulating in the community, the virus literally has nowhere else to go. Then I think we can start to see some of the masks come down."
Dr. Laura Slone of Baptist Health shared information for pregnant women who could be hesitant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The obstetrician-gynecologist based in Louisville said there's no scientific evidence that the vaccine causes infertility. The American College of OBGYN and Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine both recommend that vaccines not be withheld in pregnant women.
Slone said all pregnant women should be offered the vaccine.
"From what we learned over the last year, pregnant women are in that more high risk category," Slone said. "They're more likely to experience severe symptoms, and even more likely to have ICU admissions."
Pregnant women can receive the vaccine in any trimester, according to Slone.
"With some vaccines, usually there's better antibody passage from mom to baby through the placenta in the third trimester, but we don't know that yet with these vaccines," Slone said.
While Fischer shared optimism in hopes of Louisville eventually reaching herd immunity, he encouraged citizens to continue to practice social distancing and mask wearing.
"Your individual action can help us make sure we lose as few people as possible from here on out," Fischer said. "Stay focused, let's get this thing across the finish line."
Watch the virtual COVID-19 town hall in full below:
- How to register for COVID-19 vaccine in Kentucky and Indiana
- PODCAST | Dr. Jon Klein on getting to 'herd immunity' in Louisville
- CDC wants to track health of pregnant women after COVID-19 vaccination through V-safe app
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