LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Following a record week of new cases, Kentucky is under new coronavirus restrictions. One of the new orders limits private gatherings to a max of eight people with only your household and one other. Dr. Jon Klein, Vice Dean for Research at UofL School of Medicine, said this comes at a time when experts are urging people to cancel Thanksgiving plans and instead eat the holiday meal with just your household.
“We have a series of weeks ahead of us that are going to be very bad. There is no getting around that, when we look nationally and at the region, just 150 miles north of us in Indianapolis, the hospitals are under tremendous pressure at the moment. That can be our future or it doesn’t have to be our future," Dr. Klein said.
Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness Interim Medical Director Dr. SarahBeth Hartlage said contact tracing points to household gatherings as being a common point of coronavirus spread in Louisville. Another new restriction caps attendance at events like weddings and funerals to 25 people per room.
“The one I am particularly excited about seeing is the event restrictions for indoor events like weddings. We have seen a number of events coming out of events like weddings,” Dr. Hatlage said.
Starting Monday, students in both public and private schools will be learning virtually. Middle and high school students will be learning virtually until at least Jan. 4. Elementary schools can reopen Dec. 7 if the county is not in the red zone anymore. Currently, all but three Kentucky counties are in the red zone.
This restriction quickly garnered backlash. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron joined Danville Christian Academy's lawsuit, asking the court to issue a statewide temporary restraining order against banning in-person instruction at religious schools.
Dr. Hartlage said Louisville Metro Public Health had been working closely with schools that were offering in-person instruction to implement proper safety protocol. She did not weigh in specifically on the ban of in-person instruction, but when someone asked if any cases have been tied to schools, she responded that some have.
“I can think of one particular cluster that was in a private school that resulted in several adults getting infected and at least one of those cases died. It’s hard to say exactly how many are associated with schools because sometimes children don’t show symptoms,” Dr. Hartlage said.
She also said there has been a rise in cases among adults under 40, a demographic many teachers are in.
As for other restrictions, fitness centers and gyms must now operate at 33% capacity. Indoor dining is no longer allowed at bars and restaurants. People can still eat outside or order carryout.
Dr. Hartlage said symptoms can appear days after exposure, so it may take a few weeks to see the impact of the latest round of restrictions. Since hospitalizations often lag behind new reported cases, Dr. Hartlage does expect to see a rise in hospitalizations for COVID-19 this week.