Lexington is in COVID-19 red zone, involving extra guidelines


Cases 11/9

Haley Simpkins

Fayette County is currently designated as a red zone county for the week of Nov. 9-13.

This designation means that there are an average of 25 or more positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. As of Nov. 5, Fayette county had an average of 49.1 positive cases per 100,000, according to the Kentucky Department of Public Health.

The Kentucky Department of Public Health recommends the following for counties who fall in the red zone:

Working from home when possible

Non-critical government offices should operate virtually

Reduce in-person shopping

Avoid eating at restaurants or bars, and instead, order takeout

Reduce, postpone, or cancel events

Do not host or attend gatherings of any size

Avoid non-essential activities

Reduce overall activity and contacts, and continue following existing guidelines

The rise in case numbers can be felt across the entire state and country with 80 of the 120 Kentucky counties currently designated as a red zone county. The U.S. as a whole is reporting over 100,000 new cases a day as of last Wednesday.

The rise in cases can also be seen here among UK students. According to data from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, weekly cases have nearly tripled since the week of Oct.19 – 24, when only 54 cases were reported, compared to 148 new cases reported last week.

UK has also seen a rise in daily case numbers. Daily case numbers throughout October remained low, often in the single digits and very few times passing 20 daily cases until later in the month.

However, November seems to be a different story so far. LFCHD’s numbers since Nov. 2 show a jump in cases with 31 cases for Nov. 2, then numbers in the teens for a few days before spiking back into the 30s with 37 cases on Nov. 6, 34 cases on Nov. 7 and a jump to 43 yesterday.

“Over the past two weeks, our numbers have increased – 271 active cases, for example, on Friday [Nov.6] from a low of 83 only 12 days ago. That number remains significantly below the active cases we had in our campus community earlier in the semester. Nevertheless, it is an increase for us to watch from this point forward,” UK president Eli Capilouto said in an email to students on Monday.

UK spokesperson Jay Blanton said UK was aware of the increase in cases and believes the policies they have in place are strict enough to fight against a larger increase.

“We take this issue very seriously. We cannot and will not let our guard down. At the same time, we are far below the high we had for active cases about two months ago and we believe with our community working together we can continue to manage and mitigate against the virus over the next few weeks as we close out in-person instruction for the semester,” Blanton said. 

Blanton said the school remains in a good position to continue daily operations with ample isolation space available if needed. 

UK has recommended that students get tested before heading back home for winter break. The health department has temporarily stopped reporting cases by demographic due to a transition to the state reporting methods.