UK positivity rate, COVID cases up again; state to report all colleges

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The number of University of Kentucky students testing positive for the coronavirus hit a one-day high for a second day in a row on Aug. 16, according to the latest numbers released by the university.

And the state is working on a reporting system for all colleges in the state.

As of Aug. 16, 225 students had tested positive, up 36 from 189 students who had tested positive as of Aug. 15.

The university reported testing 18,921 students through Aug. 16, up 1,636 students from the numbers released the previous day.

The positivity rate hit 1.2 percent, rising for the third straight day.

The increased numbers come as more students were on campus as classes were set to start Aug. 17.

“UK is releasing its information,” Beshear said, calling it a “very good” system because “students ad parents have a right to know” what is going on.

The state is working on an overall reporting system for every college and university in the state to make at least some kind of information available. Most colleges and universities don’t have testing in place like UK, but they do track cases through health agencies.

“We were working o that today,” Beshear said of the reporting system.

“We are monitoring the colleges ad universities,” he added, noting it’s something” we have to do” like with secondary schools.

The daily test results are released by the university as it works to control the spread of the virus and establishes a baseline of student and staff infections.

Between Aug. 3 and Aug. 22, testing for all students — undergraduate, graduate and professional — will be available at no cost to students at five sites on campus and offered through a third-party expert — Lexington-based testing and genomics company, Wild Health — that has been retained by the university.

The idea is to create a baseline for university officials as plans are implemented for ongoing daily screening, contact tracing and other health measures. Using a third party for testing also will enable UK HealthCare to maintain its capacity for testing health workers, first responders and the community.

Numbers reflect results for tests conducted three days prior.

According to UK, if an individual is tested on a Monday, the swab is collected and sent to the lab that same day. Results are returned in 24-72 hours, which means the UK team of Health Corps contact tracers receive the test results some time between Tuesday-Thursday.

The team immediately begins contacting any individuals with positive results.

After contacting all positive cases, the team distributes a notification to all individuals with negative results. After those notifications are sent, the university posts the aggregate data for that testing date.

Research demonstrates that the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test is more reliable than the rapid response antigen test, according to the university.

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