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Across the country, the number of COVID-19 cases is rising. It recently has surged in Kentucky, where some 80 counties, including Fayette County, are now in the red zone—and indicator for incidence rates that are 25 per 100,000 or higher.

We are closely monitoring these numbers.

On our campus, since the middle of September, we experienced declining numbers of cases. Over the past two weeks, however, our numbers have increased – 293 active cases, for example, as of Nov. 7. That number remains significantly below the active cases we had in our campus community earlier in the semester.  Nevertheless, it is an increase, and we do not take that lightly.

Because of the modern public health infrastructure we have built on our campus, we are optimistic about our capacity to manage the virus. The University of Kentucky has been more aggressive than virtually any other entity in the state in terms of policies with respect to COVID. We mandate masks on campus. As the governor has suggested, we have strongly encouraged remote work, which many of our employees are doing. We screen every day among students and employees. We significantly limit gatherings. We have done re-testing of particular populations and have ongoing random and wastewater testing that allows us to continually and quickly monitor our campus. We have a more than 50 person team – the UK Health Corps – that conducts contact tracing and provides wellness and academic support seven days a week. 

At the same time, these increasing numbers underscore the importance of students and employees receiving a COVID-19 test before traveling for Thanksgiving Break.

It’s a crucial way we can protect those we love and mitigate the spread of this virus.

All members of the UK community are encouraged to get their flu shot as soon as possible. This is required for all students. More information is available here: https://www.uky.edu/coronavirus/do-your-part/flu-shots

To be sure, we have experienced an uptick in cases. That’s inevitable given the spikes across the state and country.

But we will continue to collaborate with the Fayette County Health Department to manage these cases. We will continue to conduct high-quality contact tracing. We will continue to support our community in every way possible.

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 two months ago, and we believe, with our community working together, we can continue to manage the virus over the next few weeks as we close out in-person instruction for the semester.