Louisville COVID-19 cases reached a new high last week with 3,627 new diagnoses.

The city broke its previous weekly record despite testing opportunities being limited because of Thanksgiving weekend, said Chief Health Strategist Dr. Sarah Moyer. She's worried that holiday gatherings will lead to an even larger spike in the event.

“I'm very concerned that more than the following fourteen days, we will see some unprecedented spread,” Moyer said. “Remember that the risks that people take today show up as positive cases and hospital admissions Ten days to 2 weeks from now.”

At a Tuesday briefing, Mayor Greg Fischer expressed optimism concerning the potential deployment of a vaccine in the coming weeks. But more should be completed to slow the “alarming” rise in infection rates in the meantime, he said.

“The final point here is that too so many people are enhancing the virus out,” Fischer said. “By that, I mean having an excessive amount of unprotected connection with other people that are spreading the virus. Herpes obviously loves that.”

The number of ICU patients has quadrupled, and ventilator usage has tripled since Oct. 1, Fischer said. Nearly 100 Louisvillians are in the ICU, while 55 are on ventilators.

Moyer said 10% of hospital patients were there for COVID-19 last month. That figure has since jumped to 22.8%.

“Hospitals already are feeling the strain, so let's all do what we should can perform to ensure we have healthcare workers there when we need it, be it for COVID or other emergency,” she said.

Settings that resulted in the highest spread in recent weeks include schools, retail, bars, restaurants, supermarkets and traveling. Churches, gyms, sports and private care were the next most typical settings, Moyer said.

Fischer said people must follow restrictions from Gov. Andy Beshear in order to save more lives and get the economy back in line.

“I notice that these restrictions are causing a lot of difficulty and inconvenience in the city,” he said. “They're in position for just one reason – to save your lifetime, reduce suffering, save lives of individuals you like and reduce suffering of those that you like.”

Beshear's restrictions are set to expire Dec. 13. Some Louisville restaurants have announced intends to reopen on Dec. 14 regardless of any potential extension to the orders.

Moyer said if more people follow the orders for the next fourteen days, the restrictions might be lifted. But the city is prepared to take action against businesses that decide to ignore them.

“Hopefully, the numbers will be down which won't be a controversy on Dec. 14,” she said. “If it is still a restriction, i will be following state assistance with that, and they're at risk of losing their food license when they decide to not stick to the executive order.”

Moyer also reported 30 new deaths last week. She cited a recent study that showed 900 lives might be saved by January if restrictions are followed.