Mayor Fischer says direct federal aid to cities is critical to maintaining essential services amid COVID-19 outbreak

499

FROM MAYOR FISCHER’S OFFICE

Outbreak has reached a “rolling plateau” but crisis is not over

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 20, 2020) – Mayor Greg Fischer today urged Congress and the White House to send more help to American cities struggling to maintain essential city services while battling to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although there are indications that the COVID-19 outbreak may be hitting its peak in Louisville, the crisis is not over.

“We appear to be in a rolling plateau as our peak. That’s where the data tells us we are now,” the Mayor said. “We are planning for the day when we can reopen the economy, but we will not rush this. We will go by the data, not the date.”

Mayor Fischer is set to deliver his annual Budget Address to Metro Council on Thursday, a speech that will give Louisvillians a fuller picture of the economic upheaval caused by the city’s massive effort to stop the spread of the virus, which includes an unprecedented shutdown of local business activity.

Although Washington has sent some aid to cities, it has not been nearly enough and was limited to covering costs directly related to fighting COVID-19, not general operating expenses. But the Mayor said that only covers a fraction of the financial damage Louisville is seeing.

“Cities like ours are where the rubber meets the road in fighting COVID-19,” Mayor Fischer said. “My fellow mayors and I, along with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, are calling on Congress and the Administration to make this additional support available to local and state governments.”

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is pushing not just for more money from the federal government, but also for more flexibility in spending it. One of the most devastating impacts from the COVID-19 crisis has been a loss of revenue to fund city services due to the decline in economic activity.

“We need help to address the massive tax revenue declines we are experiencing, so we have the ability to continue providing essential city services, including public health and public safety,” said Mayor Fischer, who is due to become president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in June.

Since the pandemic began, nearly every American city has seen a precipitous drop in revenue. Without federal support, many will be forced to lay off employees and make cuts that will hurt public safety. This is already happening in Louisville, where on Friday the Mayor announced that that 380 Metro Government employees are being furloughed due in part to the financial impact of COVID-19.

Mayor Fischer welcomed news that Congress may be nearing a deal to send more aid to small businesses impacted by the virus and shutdown, but that is only part of the solution. He appealed directly to the people of Louisville to contact the leadership in Washington and demand more support for cities and states.

“I encourage all of you to contact your federal representatives today,” the Mayor said. “Tell them to save America’s cities.”

Daily COVID-19 data

As of Monday, there have been 899 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Louisville, with 395 recoveries. There have been 2 additional deaths since Sunday, bringing the Louisville total to 68.

Gender/Age data for today’s deaths:

  • Female/62
  • Female/62

Currently, 17 members of LMPD, Louisville Fire, Metro EMS, Metro Corrections and the Sheriff’s Office are off-duty due to COVID-19:

  • 3 are off with positive tests and in self-isolation.
  • 8 are off and quarantined due to exposure to someone with a positive test.
  • 6 are “screened off” with symptoms and have been tested but have not received test results.

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

  • 12 positive tests.
  • 9 have fully recovered and returned to duty.

Metro Corrections inmate data for April 20:

  • 92 inmates have been tested.
  • 0 positive tests.
  • 18 tests are pending.

More personal protective equipment (PPE) donations

Mayor Fischer today thanked three local organizations for their donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical workers and first responders.

  • Delta Dental: 2,000 KN95 respirators and 150 surgical masks
  • River City Family Dentistry: 2,000 pairs of gloves
  • Comprehensive Health & Wellness LLC: 5,000 masks

“I’m so proud of the way our city, including our businesses, have answered the call by donating,” the Mayor said. “If you’ve got the capacity to donate or produce PPE, our healthcare partners and first responders really need it.”

Although Louisville hospitals are not yet overwhelmed with virus patients, they continue to be concerned about their supplies of PPE.

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 covid19resources@louisvilleky.gov and someone will respond.

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

Walmart to require employees to wear face coverings.

The Mayor also noted that starting today, Walmart will begin requiring all employees to wear face coverings at work. This includes its stores, Sam’s Clubs, distribution centers, fulfillment centers and corporate offices.

Walmart is also encouraging customers to wear face coverings as well when they shop at their stores.

“I’d like to encourage other employers to do this. It’s especially important for people in customer-facing roles,” the Mayor said. “Let’s do everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19. We all know what that is: Stay home. Limit trips out. Stay 6-feet apart when you do go out. And wear a mask or a face covering in public.”

More info: corporate.walmart.com/newsroom/2020/04/17/our-next-step-to-protect-you-our-customers-and-our-members.

Globalization the topic of Tuesday Tele Town Hall

The Mayor’s Tele Town Hall on Tuesday morning will focus on globalization.

“We’re living in a world that’s more globally connected than ever before,” Mayor Fischer said. “That was true even before COVID-19 and it’s exponentially truer now as the entire world is dealing with this virus. We’ll talk about how our city’s global connections and communities are impacted by COVID-19.”

The Mayor’s guests will be Sabeen Nasim, Director of the Metro Office for Globalization; Kulwant Singh of the Louisville Welcome Academy Alumni; Karina Barillas of La Casita Center; and John Koehlinger of Kentucky Refugee Ministries.

You can participate by going to www.facebook.com/MayorGregFischer at 10 a.m. Tuesday.