Amid outbreak at senior community, Louisville working with state to protect vulnerable nursing home residents

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Mayor Greg Fischer on Thursday said that Louisville Metro officials are working closely with the state of Kentucky to enforce safeguards to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Louisville nursing homes and retirement communities.

Thursday morning, Louisville Metro was part of a coordinated response to an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Treyton Oak Towers senior living community in Old Louisville, transporting 17 residents to Norton Healthcare Pavilion on East Broadway.

There have been 29 cases of COVID-19 – 21 residents and eight staff members – at Treyton Oak Towers, and tragically five deaths. Health experts say that the virus has proven especially deadly to people over 60 and those with underlying health conditions.

“Retirement communities around the country have been especially hard hit by COVID-19, and our city is not immune to that,” Fischer said.

The 17 Treyton Oak Towers residents who were transported to the hospital were living on the complex’s skilled nursing floor, the mayor said. They were moved because the needs of the patients began to exceed the capacity of Treyton Oak Towers. The transport started at 9 a.m., with two ambulances each from Louisville EMS, Suburban Fire and a private company, American Medical Response. Each ambulance made three trips, following all protocols for personal protection and decontamination of equipment.

The Kentucky Office of the Inspector General has oversight of all nursing homes, long-term care facilities and skilled nursing facilities in the state and has been providing COVID-19 guidance to them for several weeks. The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health & Wellness has also consulted with the medical director at Treyton Oak Towers and verified the facility has been following recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control for staff and resident screening, visitor limitation and social gatherings within the facility.

“We are very grateful to Norton, which has set up an area for these folks to receive the care they need,” Fischer said. “The transfer went off without a hitch, and I’m grateful for the care, compassion and professionalism of everyone involved.”

Metro Public Health & Wellness is working in partnership with the Kentucky Health Department’s Healthcare Acquired Infection team and will be providing ongoing assistance at Treyton Oak Towers and other facilities throughout the city.

Community responds to call for personal protective equipment (PPE) donations

Fischer has asked Louisvillians to help healthcare workers and first responders by donating medical masks, gloves, face shields, gowns, and other personal protective equipment (PPE), and the community is answering the call.

The mayor cited the example of Dr. Sandra Payne, a Louisville dentist with River City Family Dentistry who donated 1,000 pairs of nitrile gloves to help protect those on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19.

“Healthcare workers and first responders are putting their lives on the line in our hospitals and out on our streets. Donations like this one from Dr. Payne let them know that we have their back,” the mayor said. “Thank you, doctor. And we’d love to hear from more folks in our dental community – and every business community that has the capacity to donate or produce PPE.”

Although Louisville has a stable supply of PPE, the situation could change quickly. Fishcer said hospitals are not being overwhelmed with virus patients but are concerned about their supplies of PPE. The mayor is urging Louisville companies that have PPE in stock or the capability to make PPE to step up and help.

That includes:

  • Coveralls
  • Face shields
  • Respirators
  • Safety goggles
  • Surgical masks
  • Surgical gloves
  • Sanitizing wipes
  • Disinfectant spray
  • Hand sanitizer (65% alcohol minimum)

If your company can donate or manufacture any of these items, or know someone who can, and you want to know more, please contact Louisville Metro Government at [email protected] and someone will respond.

You can also contact the state PPE hotline at 1-833-448-3773 or go online atsecure.kentucky.gov/formservices/TeamKentucky/PPE

Fischer urges Louisvillians to skip Easter gatherings

Fischer again stressed the need for Louisvillians to stay home and resist the temptation to gather with family and friends over Passover and Easter weekend.

“The virus doesn’t care about faith, family, traditions or love. It just wants to spread to as many people as possible. And it kills,” the mayor said.

Dr. Sarah Moyer, Louisville Metro’s chief health strategist, said there is hard evidence that family gatherings are helping to spread COVID-19 in other cities. She cited data from the Centers for Disease Control indicating that two family gatherings in Chicago last month led to 16 cases of coronavirus and three deaths. A single infected person attended both events.

“Sunday is Easter and Ramadan begins later this month,” Moyer said. “This may tempt us to let down our guard on social distancing and we might be thinking about having family and friends over to our house to celebrate the religious holidays. But please don’t do it. Keep up your social distancing and connect with family and friends through technology this holiday.“

Moyer said there is growing evidence that social distancing is working and that COVID-19 cases in Louisville may plateau in the next two to three weeks. But now is not the time for the community to let its guard down.

Daily COVID-19 data

As of Thursday, there have been 495 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Louisville, an increase of 17 since Wednesday. There have been five additional deaths, bringing the Louisville total to 36.

Gender/age data for Thursday’s deaths

  • Female/87
  • Female/83
  • Male/69
  • Male/59
  • Female/52

Currently, 37 members of LMPD, Louisville Fire, Metro EMS, Metro Corrections and the Sheriff’s Office are off-duty due to COVID-19:

  • 6 are off with positive tests and in self-isolation.
  • 18 are off and quarantined due to exposure to someone with a positive test.
  • 13 are “screened off” with symptoms and have been tested (or due to be tested) but have not received test results.

Positive test numbers for first responders/public safety since the incident began:

  • 10 positive tests.
  • 4 have fully recovered and returned to duty.

Metro Corrections inmate data for April 9:

  • 35 inmates have been tested.
  • 0 positive tests.
  • 1 test is pending.
  • 4 inmates are in isolation due to possible COVID-19 exposure.

Walkers, runners and cyclists getting more room to roam

To allow more space for walkers, runners and bicyclists to enjoy the outdoors in a safe, socially distant manner, Fischer banned motor vehicles from the loop roads in Iroquois, Cherokee, and Chickasaw parks.

All 120 Metro Parks and the Louisville Loop remain open. Municipal golf courses also continue to operate.

“I am so proud, impressed and grateful to all the thousands and thousands of people who are practicing good social distancing in our parks system, and this will help people spread out even more,” the mayor said.

Fischer noted that there are many options for people who might not live close to Iroquois, Cherokee, and Chickasaw parks, such as Jefferson Memorial Forest, the Ohio River Levee Trail, and the Parklands of Floyds Fork.

“We are looking at another beautiful weekend, and even if we can’t gather together, we can all still get outdoors and now you can find more space to do that in our parks,” Fischer said.

You can find more information about Metro Parks at www.bestparksever.com.