Louisville hospital systems consider different metrics when deciding whether to mask or not

By |2023-02-03T19:22:20-05:00February 3rd, 2023|COVID-19|

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, hospital systems are still considering whether to mask up or take them off.Starting next week, masking will no longer be required at UofL Health. "It wasn't a 'We're going to do this,' it's been a long process for us," Dr. Jason Smith, with UofL Health, said.Dr. Smith says they consistently monitor state and county COVID numbers, as well as their own. Since Thanksgiving, Smith says their COVID patient numbers have remained low, around 40.Cases within their workface have been in the single digits. The COVID-19 community levels in Kentucky. (Source: CDC) "So with all of those factors that we kind of looked at, we decided that we had met the criteria that we had set forward for being able to get rid of the mask mandates within our healthcare system," Dr. Smith said.Meanwhile, Norton Healthcare is reinstating its masking policy starting Friday. They based the decision on the county's current transmission rate, which the latest CDC Community Transmission map shows is high."Things have changed throughout COVID," Renee Murphy, Norton Healthcare Senior VP of Communications, said. "It's always been a very fluid situation so we'll continue to stay in contact, take a looking at the transmission rates and take it from there."Baptist Health is masking currently, also basing its policy on the high transmission rate throughout the county."We do have patients that don't have an immune system, we do take care of other patients, so it's our responsibility to take acre of them as well," Dr. Karan Shah, with Baptist Health, said.CDC's COVID Community Map shows Jefferson County in the green. It considers number of new COVID cases as well as hospitalizations. But the transmission map, which shows Jefferson County in the red, is based on the number of new cases and positive tests, according to Dr. Shah. A map of community transmission of COVID-19, which shows Jefferson County in the red. (Source: CDC) "I just want the public to know that 'Hey, there is a rhyme and reason for the way these decision are made,'" Dr. Shah said. "And there are two different maps even though they're called very similar things. There's a difference."According to Dr. Smith, community transmission may show an elevated number since at-home negative tests aren't reported."The transmission levels have still been high. They were hovering right around 12 and a half to 12.7% right around Christmas time. But that has dropped consistently every week since Christmas up until now," Dr. Smith said. "I think right now we're sitting at right around like 10.05% or 10.1%, somewhere around those lines. So you've seen almost a 2% drop and community transmission levels." UofL Health will continue to monitor COVID levels in the community."It's a period of time we're going to drop masking but it doesn't mean it may not have to come back again and people need to be prepared for that," Dr. Smith said.Dr. Shah says while there's been an "overall downtrend" in COVID, it's hasn't gone completely away. He encourages people to get vaccinated if they haven't done so and consider masking when in big crowds."You never know who it's going to protect so it is important that (people remember) COVID is not gone," said Dr. Shah.Related StoriesCopyright 2023 by WDRB Media. All rights reserved. 

Norton Healthcare to reinstate mask mandate in Louisville hospitals – Spectrum News

By |2023-02-03T19:22:24-05:00February 2nd, 2023|COVID-19|

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Norton Healthcare said it's reinstating the mask mandate in its Louisville-area hospitals starting Friday. Norton Healthcare said all employees, patients and visitors must wear one, regardless of their vaccination status. The mandate will stay in effect until further notice. The decision was made following the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which shows the City of Louisville to have a "high" transmission level for COVID-19. As of Thursday, Jefferson County remains in the low transmission level.  "The safety of our patients, staff and community remains a top priority," the health system said in a press release. While Norton Healthcare is reinstating the mask mandate, UofL Health announced it will be lifting the mandate starting Monday.  Related Stories

A micro wedding was a ‘blessing in disguise’ for this Louisville couple. Here’s why – Courier-Journal

By |2023-02-02T06:31:02-05:00February 2nd, 2023|COVID-19|

The COVID-19 pandemic put a hard stop on the large-scale wedding Lindsey Kleyer and her fiancé Junseong Choi had planned for June 27, 2020. But rather than allowing the shutdown of large gatherings to crush their dream, the young couple, like thousands of others around the world, revamped their expectations and went ahead with a micro wedding."Our small wedding turned out to be a gift in ways we never would have expected," Lindsey Kleyer Choi told the Courier Journal. "I was worried a very small wedding would be awkward or it wouldn't feel special but the opposite happened. We look back on the day and say we wouldn't have wanted it any other way."Three years later, even though the pandemic has started to slow down, micro weddings are turning out to be more than just a fad. On Tuesday, Feb. 14, Whitehall, a historic mansion at 3110 Lexington Road, will hold a series of six micro weddings similar to the ceremony the Chois experienced in 2020.The cost for February's Whitehall micro weddings is $500 per ceremony. Like a traditional larger marriage ceremony, each wedding will include an officiant, cake and champagne, and a complimentary wedding portrait with the option to purchase additional photos. Up to 20 guests may attend. Couples may also choose to renew their vowsYou may like:'I love it.' How one man creates magic with liquid nitrogen ice cream and cocktail company"We sold out all six-time slots within a couple of hours," said Whitehall Executive Director Kristen Lutes. "Based on the popularity, we will be offering another series of micro weddings in May and we'll see where it goes from there."One positive outcome of the pandemic is that it has given couples permission to choose the size of wedding that feels the best for them and fits their values, lifestyle, and budget.There were more than 1.9 million traditional weddings held in 2022. According to The Wedding Report, an industry research company, the average cost for each wedding was $27,063.A significantly reduced price tag was a fringe benefit of Lindsey and Jun Seong Choi's scaled-back affair but in their case, the cost wasn't the catalyst. Social distancing to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus was the primary reason for their smaller, yet elegant ceremony and reception."The pandemic made it impossible for some of our guests to travel so there were only 18 people including our bridesmaids and groomsmen," said Choi. "Everyone still dressed up. I wore my wedding dress, and the bridesmaids were in their gowns and the grooms in suits."You may like:'We have come quite a ways': A Louisville couple finds 1894 Courier Journal behind mantelLike the wedding attire, the couple decided to keep the marriage ceremony similar to what they had planned for their larger wedding. Members of the wedding party read passages of scripture and the pastor delivered a short sermon prior to the vows.They said the music during their marriage ceremony turned out to be the icing on the cake during their intimate gathering."Junseong and I both sing, we met through a vocal group. Since our wedding was so small, we decided to provide the music ourselves at our own ceremony," Lindsey Choi said. "Junseong played the guitar and I sang and we printed out the words so the guests could sing along, too. It was very special, very sweet, but I don't think it would have felt that intimate at a larger wedding."While traditional weddings aren't going away, small, intimate wedding celebrations, the type the Chois experienced in 2020, are having a moment."So many people told me before our wedding that the day itself would be a blur because of the number of things that needed to be done," Choi said. "However, since the wedding was smaller, I could really live in the moment that day. I was able to enjoy talking with my family and friends and enjoy my reception dinner."You may like:What's a food club? 6 ideas to help you plan your own elevated foodie experienceAfter their garden ceremony at Whitehall's historic mansion, the Chois and their guests proceeded to a private room at a nearby restaurant. Nearly everything aspect of their wedding day was dictated by safety concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Lindsey and Jun Seong Choi said the changes to their original plans turned out to be a sweet blessing in disguise."The memories from our day are very special," she said. "Because there were fewer people, I had much less to worry about and I could really focus on the reason we were there. The day didn't feel stressful like I had anticipated. It was sweet and intimate and turned out to be an unexpected surprise we will treasure for the rest of our lives."Reach features reporter Kirby Adams at kadams@courier-journal.com.

Norton Healthcare reinstates mask mandate to Louisville hospitals | News – wdrb.com

By |2023-02-02T06:31:04-05:00February 2nd, 2023|COVID-19|

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Norton Healthcare announced it is restoring the mask requirements for Louisville-area hospitals starting on Friday, Feb. 3. A Norton Healthcare spokesperson said Norton Healthcare monitors the "transmission rate" of Covid-19 and not the "incident rate."They recommend all Norton Healthcare employees, patients and visitors wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. WDRB reported on Feb. 1, 2023 that UofL Health is ending its mask requirement on Monday, Feb. 6. UofL Health also announced they are ending mandatory COVID-19 testing prior to admission. Copyright 2023. WDRB Media. All rights reserved.

Norton Healthcare reinstates mask requirements in Louisville | whas11.com

By |2023-02-02T06:31:07-05:00February 2nd, 2023|COVID-19|

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Norton Healthcare is reinstating its masking requirements for its Louisville-area hospitals on Friday. According to a statement from the hospital, they said the safety of their patients remains their top priority. They say their health care accrediting agency tracked data in Jefferson County and recommended all employees, patients and visitors wear masks regardless of vaccination status. "Jefferson County has experienced continued community transmission of COVID-19 as detailed in the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) COVID Data Tracker that lists Louisville as being at a "high" level of transmission," they said in the statement. There is no timeline for when the mandate could be lifted again. Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users.

Mask requirement lifted at UofL Health – Louisville – WHAS11

By |2023-02-02T06:31:11-05:00February 1st, 2023|COVID-19|

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The universal mask requirement at UofL Health will be lifted on Monday.  "While masks will no longer be required for team members, patients and visitors after that date, we will not discourage anyone from wearing a mask if they wish," Jason Smith, chief medical officer at UofL Health, said.  Smith urged the public to continue practicing good hand hygiene and to keep following UofL Health – Employee Health’s recommendations if you are sick or showing signs of illness.  He says the hospital will also end mandatory COVID-19 testing of admissions/procedures and only start testing people who are "symptomatic on presentation."  "COVID-19 has certainly tested all of us and our organization. I’m beyond proud of where we are today," Smith said. "Thank you all for your continued work to support our mission and for your dedication to our patients." Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users.

Louisville football adds grad transfer Allan Houston III – 247 Sports

By |2023-02-01T04:20:26-05:00February 1st, 2023|COVID-19|

Louisville is adding Brown University wide receiver Allan Houston III to its roster. Yes, the 6-foot, 190-pound grad transfer is the son of Louisville native and former NBA star Allan Houston.Houston joins Louisville as an invited walk-on. He has two seasons of eligibility remaining.Houston spent four seasons at Brown, totaling 39 receptions for 259 yards and a touchdown. An injury sidelined him for much of his freshman, while his second year was cancelled when the Ivy League chose to not play the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns. This season, he finished with 18 catches for 120 yards and a score.Per his profile on the Brown football roster, Houston, a native of Greenwich, Conn., attended high school at Rye Country Day where he garnered first Team All-State honors and was an All-League selection in football and basketball. Also a standout on the track, Houston was a 2019 FAA and NYSAIS Boys track & field champion.His grandfather, Wade Houston, was a long-time assistant for Hall of Fame coach Denny Crum at Louisville from 1976-1989.His father was a first-round pick by the Detroit Pistons, where he spent three seasons before signing a free agent deal with the New York Knicks. He played nine seasons with the Knicks. He was also a gold medal winner with USA basketball in the 2000 Summer Olympics.[embedded content]********247Sports text alerts are now available for you to get in on. You can sign up to receive text alerts for breaking news and exclusive news from Cardinal Authority.Please subscribe here: https://247sports.com/college/louisville/my/settings/alertsText alerts will be used for breaking and exclusive content only.Click the following link to learn how to sign up: LINKIf something happens regarding U of L athletics that is a major news development, we will be on top of it and you will be the first to get that news.

Ex-Louisville Metro Police officer gets probation in case tied to David McAtee’s death

By |2023-01-30T15:35:24-05:00January 30th, 2023|Breonna Taylor, David McAtee|

Former Louisville Metro Police Officer Katie Crews, charged with using unreasonable force in the run-up to West End barbecue chef David McAtee’s 2020 death, was spared prison time and given probation Monday during a sentencing hearing in federal court. U.S. District Judge Benjamin Beaton sentenced her to two years of probation and 200 hours of community service and gave her a $500,000 fine. Crews, 30, was indicted last year with deprivation of rights under color of law after a grand jury found she “willfully deprived” McAtee’s niece, Machelle McAtee, of her constitutional right "to be free from an unreasonable seizure, which includes the right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer."   As part of a plea deal, Crews was later charged in a superseding indictment with a misdemeanor instead of a felony, facing up to a year in prison instead of 10 years. Crews, who spent a decade in the National Guard, also agreed to surrender her law enforcement certifications and not seek any future employment in law enforcement.Federal prosecutors recommended one year of probation as part of the deal for Crews, who is now working as an explosive canine handler for a private security company and "mostly screening air cargo" for dangerous items, according to court documents. Her attorney, Steve Schroering, agreed with the probation recommendation, noting in court filings that Crews had no prior criminal history and has a wife along with a "large, loving and supportive family."Louisville police officers in court:These are the ex-LMPD officers charged by feds with unlawful forceIn a sentencing memorandum, prosecutors also recommended Crews serve 100 hours of community service.The federal indictment said that on June 1, 2020, Crews “fired a pepperball at M.M., striking M.M., while M.M. was standing on private property and not posing a threat to (Crews) or others.” The nonlethal pepperball projectile caused “bodily harm” to Machelle McAtee, per the indictment. Crews, of Jeffersonville, Indiana, was among the LMPD officers and Kentucky National Guard members who responded shortly after midnight on June 1, 2020, to a crowd that had gathered near David “YaYa” McAtee’s barbecue stand at 26th Street and West Broadway after a 9 p.m. curfew that then-Mayor Greg Fischer had put in place amid protests over Breonna Taylor's killing by police.   The night would end with the shooting of David McAtee, 53, a beloved cook who would offer food to LMPD officers while they were on their beats.  Crews, who joined LMPD in 2018, was on paid administrative leave after the shooting until LMPD fired her in February 2022 following internal investigations into her actions and also into a Facebook post published days before McAtee’s death in which she celebrated a protester getting hit by pepper balls. A lawsuit later filed on behalf of David McAtee’s mother and niece described YaYa’s BBQ that summer as a safe haven, blocks away from downtown protests and unrest.  David McAtee's death:Police action marred by 'poor communication,' confusion and mistakesMachelle McAtee previously told The Courier Journal she was standing in the doorway of her uncle's shop just after midnight when she was hit at close range with at least three projectiles before her uncle pulled her inside.  Video from a neighboring business shows Crews standing at the fence line shooting projectiles at McAtee's door, even though no one was outside.  Surveillance footage shows that after pulling his niece inside from the doorway, David McAtee leaned out the door, fired his handgun twice above his shoulder and was almost immediately hit by return fire.  An investigation determined a bullet from a Kentucky National Guard member killed him instantly, though another National Guard member and two LMPD officers, Crews and Officer Austin Allen, also fired their weapons.  In May 2021, Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney Thomas Wine announced he would not prosecute the two National Guard members or LMPD officers for firing weapons that night.  "The repercussions from her actions took an extensive toll on Ms. Crews," Schroering, her attorney, wrote in a sentencing memorandum ahead of Monday's hearing. "She permanently lost her career. Her reputation was destroyed as the incident and her subsequent charges were covered extensively by the local and national media for months."Along with Crews, several other now-former LMPD officers have faced federal charges since 2020 that relate to the unlawful use of force against civilians. The U.S. Department of Justice has also been conducting a "pattern-or-practice" investigation into LMPD over potential abuses and constitutional violations.In addition, the DOJ announced indictments in August 2022 against four LMPD personnel accused of lying on the drug-related search warrant or recklessly firing bullets into a neighboring apartment during the raid at Taylor’s South End apartment on March 13, 2020.  Kala Kachmar contributed to this story. Reach Billy Kobin at bkobin@courierjournal.com 

‘The work has never stopped’: Tyre Nichols’ death prompts more reform calls in Louisville

By |2023-01-30T05:29:00-05:00January 30th, 2023|Breonna Taylor, David McAtee|

Citizens around Louisville hosted marches and peaceful protests Sunday afternoon in the aftermath of the release of body cam footage from the altercation that led to the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, a Black man killed by the Memphis Police Department during a traffic stop earlier this month.Several dozen people marched from the corner of Baxter Avenue and Broadway to Mid-City Mall on Bardstown Road and more gathered at Jefferson Square Park in downtown Louisville to call for police reform and for members of the community to start looking out for each other in the wake of Nichols' death.Who was Tyre Nichols?:Video shows police kicking, pepper spraying, beating Tyre Nichols after traffic stopAmber Brown, who organized the Baxter Avenue march, led the chant "no justice, no peace," echoing protests held during 2020 after the murder of Breonna Taylor. Protestors took up an entire lane of traffic on the busy street, carrying signs that read "Tyre Nichols: From Louisville to Memphis to the world" and "Louisville stands with Memphis" as they marched."Another Black man has been killed by police ... we have been out here fighting for justice for so long," Brown said. "And yet, once again, it's slapped in our face that no one cares."The body cam footage released Friday shows officers shouting expletives while using pepper spray and a Taser on Nichols during the Jan. 7 traffic stop, who at times called out for his mother. Police struck Nichols in the face, torso and head at least 13 times while being physically restrained by other officers.The beating, which has been widely condemned by other members of the law enforcement community, left Nichols hospitalized. He died three days later.Five Black officers involved in the beating have since been fired from the department and charged with several crimes connected to the death, including second-degree murder, according to USA TODAY reports.Brown said even though she hadn't watched the video of Nichols' murder, it was still important to march in the streets."We have to continue to make sure that people know that we're not going to leave. We haven't stopped," she said. "Throughout all of this, the work has never stopped."'We're tired'At the gathering in Jefferson Square Park, many of those who took the stage said it was time for widespread reform not just in Memphis, but in other cities, including Louisville.Dennisha Rivers, founder of Vision of Life Outreach Ministries, said she organized Sunday's vigil because she felt it was time to bring the community together to do something different to curb violence."It's time to restore, rebuild and reeducate, because apparently, we're doing something wrong and our system is doing something wrong," she said.Jamie McAtee, the brother of David McAtee, who was killed by law enforcement officers at his West End restaurant in 2020, said the video was difficult to watch, but is proof more work needs to be done."Here we are three years later, after ... so much has happened, we're tired," he said. "We're tired of being out here on the streets and trying to get some change. We're tired of saying 'we want peace' ... how long do we have to keep having peaceful protests to be heard?"Rivers said she's been in touch with members of Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg's administration who have been supportive of efforts to bring the community together to talk."They are very supportive and encouraging of what I did because we're just trying to make a difference," she said.Ray Barker, a retired Louisville Metro Police officer, said while he applauds Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn "CJ" Davis for taking immediate action regarding the officers, he said it will take more compassion among neighbors to start making a difference."(Speaking) as a Black person that still lives in one of the roughest neighborhoods in Louisville, please take this opportunity to evaluate our community," he said. "Stop living in fear. ... Step out on faith and open the door to see what's going on in your community."Some residents call for returning power to communitiesOther marchers, like Maxwell Mitchell, said one solution to overcoming police violence is putting "the power in community." By diverting money from police institutions, he said, and putting money toward people working on the ground, it can make changes in communities.Mitchell said communities can be just as powerful as institutions, like the police, because of trust."I know the people in my community. I'm friends with them. I'm neighbors with them. We say hi to each other and whatnot," he said. "If there's an infraction, something that happens, in my opinion, we have the best chance to deescalate the situation, to be there for one another, because we're right there."Antonio Brown, another marcher as Sunday's protest, said the fact the officers were Black reflects how embedded white supremacy is in policing."If it was a white man, these Black officers wouldn't have done it," he said.Brown called for an end to qualified immunity — a legal principle that prevents state and local officials, including law enforcement, from lawsuits alleging someone's constitutional rights have been violated, except in cases where the violation is clear — to better hold police officers accountable.Weekend editor Keisha Rowe contributed. Contact reporter Rae Johnson at RNJohnson@gannett.com. Follow them on Twitter at @RaeJ_33.

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