UK crosses 1,000 student cases since first day of classes

Total cases, Sept. 11

Natalie Parks

Based on data from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, the number of student cases at UK is now over 1,000 since the resumption of classes 25 days ago.

LFCHD has reported a total of 1,264 student cases going back to March; LFCHD spokesperson Kevin Hall confirmed that 231 of those cases were reported prior to Aug. 17, making the total reported cases since the first day of classes 1,033 cases. Not all of the cases are active; some are recovered, but the LFCHD does not track recoveries among students.

UK spokesperson Jay Blanton said the 1,000 case milestone underscores the seriousness of coronavirus.

“However, the most important indicators, as reflected in our daily dashboard, are the active cases, those who have recovered, those who are completing the daily screening and our ability to serve and protect our students as indicated by our isolation capacity,” Blanton said. “We are cautiously optimistic about what those numbers show, as we have a higher number of recovered cases than active cases.”

UK is currently reporting 316 active cases as of Sept. 7.

According to LFCHD’S daily update for Sept. 11, UK students now account for 18 percent of all cases in Lexington since March.

UK student cases accounted for 34 percent (51 out of 149) of new cases reported in Lexington-Fayette County today, according to LFCHD’s update.

UK’s COVID-19 dashboard currently shows a total of 1,122 cases as of Sept. 7; that total comes from the number of active cases, 432, and recovered cases, 590, that UK has reported since July 20. The UK dashboard does not show how many of its cases were reported after classes began on Aug. 17.

UK chose to reopen the campus this fall and bring students back for in-person courses. Students who had to come to campus were required to be tested within seven days of their arrival; this baseline testing was completed at the end of the first week of school, on Aug. 22.

UK’s numbers include tests conducted through the university’s partnership with Wild Health, University Health Services, uploaded results and self-reported positives through contact tracing, said Todd Brann, executive director of institutional research, analytics and decision support.

The health department includes positives from students who are Fayette County residents and students who choose to stay in Fayette County for their isolation; a student from another county or state who tests positive and chooses to go home for isolation would not be included in LFCHD’s numbers.

There have been no hospitalizations or deaths reported among UK students.

There are some discrepancies between what UK reports and what LFCHD reports; UK’s total and LFCHD’s total are different, in part because UK’s numbers go back to July 20 and LFCHD’s go back to March.

The two differ on daily reports of new cases: this week, UK’s new cases update have lagged behind LFCHD’s new cases for the same dates. UK reported 34 new cases on Sept. 5, while LFCHD reported 48; UK reported 26 new cases on Sept. 8, while LFCHD reported 35. UK reported 10 new cases on Sept. 7 and LFCHD reported 61, although LFCHD’s numbers for that day include the numbers for Sunday as well.

80 percent of all UK student cases reported by LFCHD since March have been reported in the 25 days since classes began.

According to UK’s dashboard, 82 students are in campus isolation spaces or FSL facilities.

The dashboard also says that UK’s positivity rate is below 2 percent; Brann said UK calculates the positivity rate by dividing the number of active cases (432 as of Sept. 7) by the number of students required to be tested (25,339, which is the number of students UK says is coming to campus). Based on that formula, the current positivity rate is 1.7 percent; although, testing is no longer mandatory, so not all of the 25,339 students who are coming to campus are being tested regularly.

Any student who wishes to get tested can do so at the on-campus testing site, located by William T. Young Library and the 90.  The testing center will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Symptomatic students should go to University Health Services to be tested.