The University of Louisville Journal of Respiratory Infections



The author(s) received no specific funding for this work


Introduction: The trends in the numbers of active hospitalizations and fatalities caused by the COVID-19 in Jefferson County, Kentucky, were projected over the period May 7 to August 20, 2020.

Methods: The projections provided in this report are from a susceptible-exposed-infectious-recovered (SEIR) model. The model was calibrated using the COVID-19 transmission dynamics parameters from relevant literature and clinical dynamics parameters from the county’s data. The model was used to measure the impact of public health policy interventions designed to contain the infection. The policy was modeled by its intervention day and impact on the transmission of the virus such that the resulted fatalities resembled those observed in Jefferson County.

Results: By May 6, 2020, there were 1,557 cases and 109 COVID-19 deaths in Jefferson County. The average age of deceased individuals was 76.5 years; 76% of them had a previous medical condition, and 28% were African American. Among the hospitalized, 53% were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), and 43% used a ventilator. The model’s status quo scenario, which produced the observed fatalities in the county, was identified assuming that the transmission of the virus was reduced by 70% with a policy intervention on April 7. Projections based on the status quo showed 91 active hospitalizations and 147 total fatalities, on average, on May 14. By June 4, the average number of active hospitalizations was projected to decrease to 61, but total fatalities to increase to 195, assuming that a 70% reduction in transmission of the virus was maintained since the implementation of the policy intervention. By late August, the average number of active hospitalizations and total fatalities were projected to be 12 and 269, respectively.

Conclusion: Had the county practiced weaker containment strategies, it would have been on an upward path with increased hospitalization and fatality trends. Therefore, decreasing the current social distancing measures without efforts regarding testing, isolating, and contact tracing could move the county to an unstable status. Had Jefferson County practiced stronger containment strategies, it could more safely plan to open in early June. Still taking newer and even more effective measures could make a manageable early-June opening more likely.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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