COVID-19 cases increasing on campus; Students say pandemic taking toll on mental health

Bob Skipper, WKU’s Director of Media Relations says the increase in cases is due to an increase in testing
Published: Sep. 4, 2020 at 7:16 PM EDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - “Right now it seems like a lot of mixed emotions going around,” said WKU Student, Shikira Tunstill.

College campuses across the country are experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases. Here in south central Kentucky, Western Kentucky University reports 150 students testing positive for the virus between August 28 and September 3.

“We do show an increase in cases, it was not totally unexpected. What it does show is a very remarkable increase in the number of people tested on campus,” said WKU’s Director of Media Relations, Bob Skipper.

Since July 1 2020, 2211 viral tests have been performed with 454 total positives reported in the WKU community (students, faculty, staff, contractors).

“I’ve heard of a few people that has tested positive so I think it’s highly important that people still follow the procedures and I think that plays an important role. People are kind of happy in a way that people are doing online as well,” said Tunstill.

“Guidance that we are now receiving through the White House and the CDC is that having students stay in school and on campus is absolutely the way to go. Sending students home just increases the chances that other family members might be exposed to COVID,” said Skipper.

While students say they are remaining strong this pandemic is taking a toll on their mental health.

“A lot of students that I have spoken with that fell like therapy is very helpful right now as far as everybody dealing with different things and different challenges this year with this pandemic and education,” said Tunstill.

Below is a statement from WKU about their COVID-19 Dashboard:

“The WKU COVID-19 dashboard has been updated for this week.

WKU is pleased that more students, faculty and staff from the campus community are undergoing COVID-19 testing, this week seeing a 75% increase in the number of tests compared to last. President Timothy Caboni continues to encourage frequent testing of all WKU Community members, and it’s easy and convenient to do on campus with GGC’s extended testing hours. As he shared during the Staff Senate Meeting this week, “No one will be charged for a COVID test on this campus. If you feel sick, get tested. If you stop smelling your breakfast, get tested.”

The multiple metrics we are tracking show no indication that a change in course is needed. President Caboni said, “I’m incredibly proud of the adaptations made across our campuses and the significant ways in which our Hilltopper Family has risen to meet this challenge together.”

WKU’s COVID-19 Response Team closely monitors the virus’ movement and is working hand-in-glove with public health officials to execute aggressively and swiftly plans to contact trace and isolate positive cases and those exposed. The university also works daily to map cases and look for potential patterns. For instance, last week a developing pattern was identified as stemming from Greek housing. WKU took quick action, requiring that all sorority and fraternity members living in Greek housing be tested. Through case mapping this week, no evidence of new patterns has been detected.

*WKU’s 9/4/20 COVID-19 dashboard update, similar to last week’s update, does not include data from the Barren River District Health Department due to the ongoing transition of their contact tracing software. As data from BRDHD becomes available, it will be shared.”

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