UK, EKU officials give update on COVID-19 testing on campus

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – As week two of classes comes to an end, leaders at the University of Kentucky say things are still on track to finish the semester.

“I think we still see an environment where our students are really glad to be back on campus. Our faculty stepped up in new and meaningful ways to find different ways to teach students,” says Jay Blanton with UK.

They’ve tested almost 23 thousand students and staff for the coronavirus, but still have some work to do.

“Over the weekend we will try to hone that list down, so I can get more precision who still needs to test. We are in the process over the weekend, maybe even today, reaching out to those.”

Blanton said in some cases it’s just clarifying records of students who may not actually step foot on campus, and therefore don’t have to have a test.

“The bottom line is we’ve got a few thousand students that we still need to test. We are going to be reaching out to them over the next few days, making sure they’ve got avenues to get tested and reminding them that this is mandatory and working through how we make sure we get the fullest level of compliance we can.”

They’ve also planned a second wave of testing for students in the Greek system. Their positivity rate was around 3 percent, about three times the rest of the campus.

“We are going back and re-testing those students,” says Blanton. “Over the last few days, we’ve tested more than 3000 students. Ultimately, that population is going to be 4 to 5000 students we think in our Greek population.”

Not everyone who tests positive at UK is counted as a Fayette County case.

“If they live here, or if they choose to stay on-campus or in Lexington for their isolation, [they’re counted here.]” explains Kevin hall with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department. “If they commute from somewhere else or they go back home, wherever that may be for their isolation, they go to that county’s health department as their numbers.

Eastern Kentucky University also has students back on campus.

On Friday, EKU’s president, Dr. David McFaddin, spoke to Bill Bryant for Kentucky Newsmakers.

He talked about how their Office of Student Conduct is working with students who don’t comply with social distancing or have off-campus parties.

“Will we take that swift and decisive action if it’s needed? Absolutely we will. We will try to coach and educate and support those students? We’re going to do that, too,” said Doctor McFaddin.

The Fayette County Health Department said their numbers for UK students who have tested positive is 578, but that includes a lot of students who got tested outside of UK’s system.

UK said those numbers are also since testing began in March. They plan to add those numbers to their totals in the coming weeks.

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