As Christmas break approaches, UK students urged to be ‘vigilant’ with COVID

0
464

LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Public Affairs) As the University of Kentucky enters its last two weeks of the semester, President Eli Capilouto sent a video message to students, staff and faculty yesterday. Please read below and watch the video.

Dear Campus Community,

- Advertisement -

We are in the home stretch of a fall semester unlike any other we have experienced at the University of Kentucky.

I hope you are proud of what you have accomplished as members of this community. I want to thank you for your work, your continual sacrifices and your commitment — as students, faculty and staff — to our community. As we enter the final two weeks before Thanksgiving break, I also wanted to take a moment to discuss two important items:

  • Where we are with our efforts to manage the virus and mitigate its spread on our campus
  • The importance of our continued vigilance in practicing healthy behaviors

Where are we:

As you have no doubt read and heard, the number of COVID-19 cases has surged in recent weeks across Kentucky. Some 80 counties, including Fayette County, are now in the red zone, in which incidence rates are 25 per 100,000 or higher.

On our campus, since the middle of September, we have experienced declining numbers of cases. Over the past two weeks, our numbers have increased — 271 active cases, for example, on Friday 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.

We will not take the increase lightly. We cannot. At the same time, we remain optimistic about our capacity to manage the virus. Importantly, on all of the factors we examine daily we remain in a strong position to support the needs of our community:

  • Supply of PPE
  • Prevalence of the virus
  • Capacity for daily screening and ongoing contact tracing
  • Capacity for isolation and quarantining
  • Ability to provide residential experience on our campus
  • Guidance from local, state and federal health and public policy officials
  • Number of critical care beds in UK HealthCare to serve both campus and community

However, it’s important that you have information about where we are and how we are managing these issues. You can follow our progress and efforts with respect to testing, numbers of cases and isolation capacity, among other factors, at uky.edu/coronavirus. As the semester closes out, we will continue to provide updates to ensure that our campus community has the information it needs to remain healthy.

Remaining vigilant

Where do we go from here? I know you have undertaken tremendous work this semester in the face of incredible odds and tough conditions. I know, too, that our campus is tired. In so many ways, it has been a long semester.

But now we have to work together and resist the temptation to let down our guard. Now, we must double down on our efforts to keep each other safe. There are several ways to do that:

  • Remember your Daily 4.0 — wear a mask, physically distance, wash your hands and screen every day.
  • Get your flu shot. It is more important this year than ever before. Check here for locations.
  • Students, as you leave campus for the semester, get a COVID-19 test. You can read more about locations for testing here. For our employees, two testing sites on our campus are open every day. Check here for information.

We can do this. We can close our semester strong. We can keep our community — and everyone we love near and far — safe.

Thank you for all you are doing in support of each other and in support of this community.

Eli Capilouto