Mayor Fischer says city’s social distancing strategy is flattening the COVID-19 curve and keeping us safe Tuesday, May 5 2020 

New study warns against easing stay-at-home policy too soon

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 4, 2020) – Mayor Greg Fischer today said that a new study on the effectiveness of social distancing shows that the stringent measures being used in Louisville to slow the spread of COVID-19 are working.

As other states rush to reopen their economies, the Mayor said the modeling study performed by health experts from the University of Louisville and Louisville Metro Government offers a stern warning about the danger of moving too fast.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis we’ve been stressing the need for social distancing, which starts by staying home whenever possible. And now that we’ve been putting these ideas into practice for almost two months, we have new evidence that those measures are working, and saving lives,” Mayor Fischer said.

“Projecting the COVID-19 Weekly Deaths, Infections, and Hospitalizations for Jefferson County, Kentucky” is co-authored by Dr. Seyed Karimi, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Management and System Sciences at the UofL School of Public Health and Information Science; and Dr. Sarah Moyer, Louisville Metro Chief Health Strategist.

Karimi and Moyer concluded that that the city’s decision to shut down large gatherings, close non-essential businesses, and tell people to stay home as much as possible gave the local healthcare system and emergency management officials a chance to build up capacity and keep a wave of coronavirus patients from swamping hospitals and first responders.

But the study also modeled scenarios in which those measures are lifted before there is a sustained decline in new COVID-19 cases and deaths, and projected that as many as 900 more people in Louisville would die and about 2,000 more would be hospitalized by August. Although more than 100 people have died from the virus in Louisville, there has not yet been the exponential rise in deaths that many feared at the start of the outbreak.

“We know from our modeling that decreasing the current social distancing measures without increased efforts to test, isolate, and do contact tracing can move us to an unstable path with increased hospitalization and infection trends that could be catastrophic,” said Karimi, who also is a health economist with Metro Public Health & Wellness.

At the same time, the study offers a hopeful path forward for the community. By maintaining the strict social distancing strategy and enhancing COVID-19 testing/tracing/tracking capabilities, the community could be able to gradually reopen by early June, the model projects.

“This model validates the measures we have put in place to control the spread of COVID-19 in Louisville thus far,” Dr. Moyer said. “The study also serves as affirmation of our state and local efforts to slowly release restrictions.”

Mayor Fischer has previously announced plans to expand the city’s ability to test for the virus and utilize “contact tracing” to isolate people who may have been exposed, but warned that the effort will be massively expensive and would require federal assistance to properly build and staff. The Public Health & Wellness Communicable Illness Team currently has 55 members but would need to grow considerably in order to truly contain the spread of COVID-19.

“This study gives us important guidance on how we can more safely reopen in the coming weeks – which starts with maintaining our current social distancing measures, and adding even stronger containment measures, like expanded testing and contact tracing,” the Mayor said.

Read the study at www.louisville.edu/sphis/documents-and-pdfs/JCCOVID19PredictionWeek1Report5120distribution.pdf

Mayor Fischer urges people to avoid traveling to and from Indiana

Mayor Fischer today also said that Louisvillians should continue to avoid unnecessary trips to Indiana despite that state’s decision to begin reopening some of its non-essential businesses.

“We need to proceed with caution as we look to lift restrictions and rebuild our economy.

This is not a situation where we want to be first to reopen. Being first equals taking the greatest risk,” the Mayor said. “Indiana is on a different timeline, but the virus is still out there. It’s not worth risking you or a loved one’s life to go across the river just because a restaurant or a salon might be open sooner.”

Last week, Mayor Fischer extended Louisville’s COVID-19 state of emergency – first issued on March 13 – until June 1. Although the community has so far prevented the virus from overwhelming local hospitals, Louisville is still very much in the throes a pandemic.

The Mayor said he has spoken with leaders in Southern Indiana about the need for a regional plan to reopen the local economy, and urged Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb to allow counties along the Kentucky border to work in closer coordination with Louisville. In the meantime, he asked residents on both sides of the river to avoid crossing the bridges unless it’s for work, medical treatment, or to care for a loved one.

“We all have the same goal of safely getting back to work and school and a more normal version of daily life,” Mayor Fischer said. “Let’s keep working together so we can all achieve it together.”

Daily COVID-19 data

As of Monday, there have been nine new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Louisville, bringing the total to 1,421 with 767 recoveries. There have been four additional deaths since Sunday, bringing the confirmed Louisville total to 102.

Gender/Age data for today’s deaths:

  • Female/89
  • Female/86
  • Male/86
  • Male/69

Currently, 56 members of LMPD, Louisville Fire, Metro EMS, Metro Corrections and the Sheriff’s Office are off-duty due to COVID-19:

  • 21 are off with positive tests and in self-isolation.
  • 28 are off and quarantined due to exposure to someone with a positive test.
  • 7 are “screened off” with symptoms and tested, or due to be tested, but have not received test results.

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

  • 32 positive tests.
  • 11 have fully recovered and returned to duty.

Metro Corrections inmate data for May 4:

  • 131 inmates have been tested.
  • 0 positive tests.

Supplies Over Seas donations hit $1 million mark

Mayor Fischer today thanked Supplies Over Seas for reaching $1 million in donations of personal protective equipment to local healthcare workers and others fighting the virus.

Supplies Over Seas (SOS) is a Louisville nonprofit organization that meets critical healthcare needs in medically impoverished communities around the world by collecting and distributing surplus medical supplies and equipment.

“Since the COVID-19 outbreak, they’ve retooled and are working to provide PPE here in our community,” the Mayor said. “And they have donated more than $1 million worth of medical supplies to our frontline warriors.”

SOS has been providing PPE and equipment to local hospitals, home health agencies, emergency responders, nonprofits, Metro services, clinics in west Louisville and most recently has been focused on nursing homes.

“I am deeply proud of our small team who supported the decision to focus 100 percent on local needs. They knew diverting all of these supplies to donations from revenue programs would put the organization and their jobs at risk, but they knew it was the right thing to do,” said Supplies Overseas President and CEO Denise Sears. “Every member of our team, without hesitation, put others before themselves. I am blessed to work with such compassionate individuals.”

Although local hospitals and first responders have managed to maintain an adequate supply of PPE such as masks, gloves, and shields, more is always needed. If you or your organization has the capacity to donate or produce PPE, please contact Louisville Metro Government at covid19resources@louisvilleky.gov.

Tuesday tele town hall to focus on public safety

Mayor Fischer will be joined by LMPD Chief Steve Conrad and Metro Chief of Public Services Amy Hess on Tuesday morning for a tele town hall on the topic of public safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

To participate, go to www.facebook.com/MayorGregFischer at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

Louisville Digital Pride

Mayor Fischer and Chief Equity Offcer Kendall Boyd will join Louisville Pride Foundation’s executive director Mike Slaton on Tuesday for a community conversation on how the city’s focus on resilience, equity, and compassion has helped during this pandemic

To watch/listen, go to www.Facebook.com/LouPrideFest at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.

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NCCA sends U of L a Notice of Allegations Monday, May 4 2020 

By Cole Emery–

University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi informed the campus community in an email on May 4 that U of L has received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA regarding the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 men’s basketball program. The notice came after a two-year long investigation by the NCAA enforcement staff.

Louisville was given four allegations against them, all regarding improper recruitment. They were given one Level I allegation and three Level II violations, two of the highest possible allegations a university can receive.

In her email, Bendapudi outlined the allegations as follows:

  • “A Level I allegation that an improper recruiting offer, and subsequent extra benefits to the family of an enrolled student athlete; and a recruiting inducement to a prospective student-athlete’s non-scholastic coach/trainer, were provided by certain individuals, purportedly identified and defined by the NCAA as “representatives of the university’s athletics interests,” none of whom had traditional connections to the University beyond their affiliation with Adidas or professional athlete management entities, as well as by a former assistant coach and a former associate head coach;
  • A Level II allegation of recruiting violations by the same two former men’s basketball coaching staff members in providing impermissible transportation and having impermissible contact in the context of recruitment-related activities; 
  • A Level II allegation that the institution failed to adequately monitor the recruitment of an incoming, high-profile student-athlete;
  • A Level II allegation that the former head men’s basketball coach did not satisfy his head coach responsibility when he failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance.”

Following Bendapudi’s email, she and Vince Tyra, U of L’s athletic director, held a press teleconference.

“Throughout the lengthy investigation and enforcement process, because we have nothing to hide, the university worked with the NCAA enforcement staff and shared discovery. However, we aggressively pushed back throughout the process to do all we could possibly do to limit the number and seriousness of the allegations received today,” Tyra said.

Since these are only allegations, U of L is preparing a full and comprehensive response and plans to submit the response within a 90-day period. In her email, Bendapudi said the university will take responsibility for the allegations supported by facts and evidence. 

“We will not hesitate — repeat, not hesitate — to push back on those allegations that we simply don’t believe are supported by facts, NCAA law or by precedent, “Bendapudi said during the conference. “What we have done together as a Cardinal family, to be a model of compliance, a model of ethical conduct. I truly believe that we have gone above and beyond any other institution.”

Since taking office in 2018, Bendapudi said the university has made more than a dozen changes, including a change in leadership with a new university president, new athletic director, new coach and new assistant coaches; new chains of reporting; a revision of the head coach contract to reflect NCAA compliance expectations; and the athletic department has enhanced its rules education and compliance monitoring for all staff and began an ethical leadership series required for all athletics staff.

“The university remains committed to a complete and transparent reform,” Bendapudi said in her email. “None of the men’s basketball staff members involved in the allegations are still representing the university and neither of the involved men’s basketball prospects referenced in the allegations ever represented U of L in athletic competition.” 

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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Cardinals Football Preview Sunday, Apr 26 2020 

By John McCarthy —

Cardinal fans have much to look forward to as the 2020 football calendar rolls around in the spring.

Louisville’s 2020 recruiting class consists of two four-star recruits and 25 three-star recruits.

There is plenty of hype surrounding Louisville’s football program after the Cardinals finished the 2019 season with an 8-5 record. With Coach Scott Satterfield at the helm, the Cardinal’s victory over Mississippi State at the Music City Bowl proves promising things are to come in the 2020 season.

Junior Micale Cunningham was a standout player for the Cardinals in 2019. Cunningham, the most improved player at the quarterback position in the ACC, threw for 2,061 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2019 while only tossing five interceptions. In 2020, the Cardinals will look to Cunningham to navigate the offense as effectively as he did in 2019.

Louisville will be replacing both their punter and kicker in 2020. Seniors Blanton Creque and Mason King will be graduating. This opens the door for some friendly competition among the potential Cardinal kickers.

Touted-kicker Brock Travelstead, from Atworth, Ga., signed to join the Cardinals in the offseason. Junior Ryan Chalifoux also has the potential to take the spot of starting placekicker for the Cardinals this year.

More than anything though, the Cardinals will look to improve their defense in the 2020 season.

Louisville’s ACC competitors got the best of them with the size and strength of their offenses. With fresh faces joining the Cardinals’ defense in the spring, there is only room for improvement.

The Cardinals are also welcoming a widely-skilled recruiting class for the 2020 season.

The class is led by four-star offensive tackle Trevor Reid. Reid, a junior college transfer student from Georgia Military College will add depth and experience to the Cardinals’ offensive line. Reid is also the 16th ranked recruit in the country and ranked second at his position.

Other strong defensive players coming from Georgia Military College is defensive end Yaya Diaby. He is ranked 42nd in the nation as a recruit and third at his respective position.

Outside linebacker Marvin Dallas will also be joining the defense as a JUCO transfer. He is the 43rd ranked recruit in the nation and the fourth-ranked outside linebacker in the country.

Louisville will also be welcoming freshman Ja-Darien Boykin to campus.

Boykin is a defensive tackle from Jones County High School in Gray, Ga. Boykin will aid the Cards struggling defensive line in the spring.

A couple of local recruits signed with the University of Louisville as well.

Butler’s Jordan Watkins signed on as an athlete and is ranked 48th in the nation as an athlete. Evaluation by national recruiting analyst Allen Trieu discusses Watkins’ exceptional speed and does a nice job making contested catches.

Ballard’s Josh Minkins Jr. signed on as a safety and is ranked 72nd at his position. Minkins Jr. received Special Teams Player of the Year for Ballard last season. He also snagged three interceptions during his junior and senior years.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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What to expect at 2020 Welcome Week Tuesday, Apr 21 2020 

By Matthew Keck — 

Whether you’re a freshman or transfer student, stepping onto a new campus can be a bit overwhelming. The potential of not knowing many familiar faces, where everything is and the new life ahead can seem daunting. But rest assure, the University of Louisville’s 2020 Welcome Week will wipe all of those fears away.

Aug. 13-16 new U of L students, and those returning, can expect a week filled with events to get themfamiliar with campus and make new friends. From the Cardinal Kickoff to Student Outreach Uniting Louisville, there is a plethora of events for new students.

No event is mandatory, but there are a number of events that freshmen specifically are expected to attend. These are called “signature events.”

The first signature event offered for students is the Cardinal Kickoff on Aug. 13. This is the first event of the week, and here you get a free meal, gifts and the chance to start building new relationships.

The next day of Welcome Week, you’ll get a chance to spend time with your Cardinal Crew for another day full of events. Time spent with your Cardinal Crew is valuable because that’s when you can ask your burning questions. It’s also a great time to just be able to talk with new friends you’ve made in your group.

To round out the signature events is Student Outreach Uniting Louisville. For this event you’ll learn about all of the service and leadership opportunities U of L has to offer.

Between all of these signature events are a multitude of other events. But with the uncertainty of when things will be back to normal because of COVID-19, the 2020 event list hasn’t been released.

Events that students can possibly expect during welcome week include:

Late Night Pancakes, Field Day, Latinx Student Welcome/Open house, Night at the Museum: Speed Museum After Hours, Welcome Week Yoga.

All of these events were offered last year during Welcome Week and are likely to return if things get back on track.

With Welcome Week always comes the skeptics: Why should I go to any of these events you may ask And that’s a valid question but here’s why you should This will potentially be the only time you ever get to do any of these events; you get free food quite a bit, and free gear; and this is the perfect chance to meet new friends.

Welcome Week isn’t just U of L’s way of introducing you to campus, rather it’s our way of showing why it should be your home for the next four or so. Start your college career off on the right foot and make the most of Welcome Week 2020.

File photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L researchers using computers in schools to help find new drug to fight COVID-19 Wednesday, Apr 15 2020 

By Matthew Keck — 

University of Louisville researchers are using computers from schools across Kentucky to aid their search to find a drug that fights COVID-19. These computers are a part of DataseamGrid, which was developed to support research, education and workforce development in these schools.

Deputy director of basic and translational research at U of L Health – James Graham Brown Cancer Center, John Trent is helping conduct this research. By using virtual screening on the DataseamGrid, Trent and researchers are able to identify drugs that can potentially fight COVID-19.

“We’re applying all of the methods we use for cancer drug discovery to the new COVID-19 proteins that have been dried recently,” said Trent. He said that they have retooled their research to target these new proteins.

Trent and his team began this research in mid-March to help identify drugs and compounds that could help in treating or preventing COVID-19. Up to 80 percent of the computation used for the research comes from the DataseamGrid.

Their first approach in this research is to test 2,000 drugs that are already on the market currently. In addition, they will be testing 9,000 investigational drugs and nutraceuticals that have been tested and may be the most effective against the virus.

“We take a library of small molecules and we see individually on a computer, which one fits into the place where we want to block particular activities,” said Trent.

The molecular part of this research involves screening 37 million molecules to see which ones target the protein in SARS-CoV-2. This testing could help develop a new drug to treat COVID-19, but would have to be approved by the FDA.

“For the immediate approach, we are testing drugs that already are approved by the FDA or have been tested in humans. If we find activity with those drugs, we could get them into patient trials a lot quicker,” Trent said. “However, these drugs obviously were designed for something else and they may not have the same efficacy of a very selective drug.”

They have identified 30 potentially effective drugs that may treat the virus. These drugs are being tested in the U of L Center for Preventive Medicine for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases (CPM).

If any of those drugs are found to be effective at CPM, they will be moved into the next phase of testing.

Photo Courtesy of the University of Louisville 

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U of L processing more coronavirus test results Thursday, Apr 9 2020 

By Matthew Keck — 

The University of Louisville has increased its efforts with coronavirus testing to help fight the fatal pandemic.

Researchers at U of L are processing test results from 12 different hospitals, U of L Campus Health and four outpatient clinics in the Louisville area. As of April 1, they have processed 1,797 tests, with more than 1,000 of them coming from Norton Healthcare.

Out of the 1,797 tests thus far, there have been 204 positive results.

U of L executive vice president for research and innovation Kevin Gardner said they now have to capacity to test up to 1,000 cases per day. Other U of L researchers have put their duties on hold to devote their time to fighting this virus.

Last week, U of L Health opened the first drive-thru testing in Kentucky. As a part of this effort, the drive-thru testing will be processing up to 200 cases per day.

According to Gardner, U of L’s efforts are producing test results within 24 hours. This quick turnaround allows hospitals to isolate patients and healthcare providers with COVID-19. Along with that, they can move others out of isolation, saving protective medical equipment that is low across the state.

This processing is also an effort to help researchers answer questions about the deadly COVID-19. They are hoping to find how the virus has spread, how it progresses and who gets it. U of L is also working on long-term approaches to the virus.

Kenneth Palmer, director of U of L’s Center for Preventive Medicine, is testing potential treatments, one of which was developed at U of L in partnership with the National Cancer Institute and the University of Pittsburgh.

Support for this research includes $500,000 in funding from U of L, but the university is asking for those able to make a donation for further support.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal 

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School of Medicine Dean named vice president for academic medical affairs Friday, Apr 3 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

The University of Louisville named Toni Ganzel, School of Medicine dean, vice president for academic medical affairs March 30.

“I’m pleased to announce that School of Medicine Dean Toni Ganzel has agreed to take on an additional role in leading our Health Sciences Center,” said President Neeli Bendapudi.

Ganzel will be taking on the role of vice president for academic medical affairs while also remaining the School of Medicine dean.

Her duties as vice president will include overseeing research activity at the Health Sciences Center, areas regarding diversity and inclusion and faculty development and student health. She will be reporting the overseen activity to Bendapudi and provost Beth Boehm.

Alongside U of L Health CEO Tom Miller, Ganzel will be in charge of making sure that teaching and researching are successful at U of L Health.

“Dr. Ganzel has done an excellent job as dean of the School of Medicine,” said Bendapudi. “I value her expertise and her leadership and look forward to continuing to work with her in this new role. She and Tom Miller are a great team to lead medical education, research and care in our community.”

Ganzel has served as the School of Medicine dean since 2012. She joined U of L in 1983 as an assistant professor in otolaryngology and has held other various roles with the school since.

Bendapudi said she wishes Ganzel well in educating U of L’s health professionals of tomorrow.

Photo Courtesy of The University of Louisville

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Graphic design student combines both art and social impact in her work Monday, Mar 30 2020 

By Zoe Watkins —

For Virtual Portfolio Preview Day, a senior graphic design major shared some of her work and reflected on her journey.

Though she is from Louisville, Taylor Simone first began her college career at Arizona State University before transferring to University of Louisville. Her time at ASU was what first started her interest in graphic design.

“ASU is where I gained my love for visual communication, although I was studying film at the time,” she said. “In my first semester attending U of L, I took an intro class to graphic design and immediately switched my major.”

Simone said the reason she loves graphic design is because it combines both of her two passions, art and social impact.

“I love graphic design because I can address topics like racial injustice and be creative while doing it,” She said.

Even if her designing process varies on each of her pieces, Simone states that she loves the research aspect.

“Having a strong understanding of the content is always the first step in my design process,” Simone said.

When finding inspiration for her pieces, Simone looks in a lot of different place, but is mostly inspired by real stories and experiences.

“I am intrigued by how a design can speak to a certain emotion or an experience that we all go through. I am heavily inspired by designs that bring people together in hopes of creating dialogue and discourse.

She said that her favorite piece in her portfolio is a book called “When Words Unravel.” The book goes over the historical and cultural analysis of the n-word. Simone designed and wrote the book during her third year in a Bookforms class at U of L.

“This book is my favorite piece because it captures so many of my interests in one project. I also learned so much since I got to interview different people about their experience with this word and its history,” she said.

When asked for advice for students who are also in graphic design or considering in majoring, Simone said to take their time to absorb as much as they can.

“As a design student, you don’t need to focus in one area. Learning as much as you can about all kinds of design methods and processes is the most rewarding part about studying graphic design.” Simone states.

Photo courtesy by Alexis Simone // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L Health opens drive-thru COVID-19 testing Thursday, Mar 26 2020 

By Matthew Keck — 

The University of Louisville began drive-thru COVID-19 testing March 26. The drive-thru is located in the U of L Health parking lot on Brook Street between Muhammad Ali and Liberty Street.

Dr. Hugh Shoff, chief quality officer for U of L Health, said that the drive-thru is an effective way to keep potentially infected patients from spreading the virus.

“Really what we want to do is centralize this to get it away from our clinics so that our patients aren’t exposing those other patients that are just there for routine care,” Shoff said.

Patients who want to be tested at the drive-thru must be referred by their doctor first.

Healthcare workers in protective gear are set up to swab the inside of patient’s noses while they remain in their cars. After the swabbing, the sample is placed in a test tube and sent to a lab to be tested for COVID-19.

The typical turnaround time for testing results is several days, possibly longer. There were around 12 patients tested at the drive-thru March 26.

Currently, the state of Kentucky has tested 4,016 people for the COVID-19 virus. Of that number, there have been 248 positive cases confirmed. Jefferson and Fayette County have the most reported cases in the state.

U of L Health said they plan to have more patients approved for their drive-thru testing in the coming weeks.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Father of Louisville wide receiver dies of coronavirus Thursday, Mar 26 2020 

Cardinals coach Scott Satterfield expressed “deepest condolences” to Corey Reed Jr. and his family in a release and said the program is there to support them.

        

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