WKU COVID-19 dashboard lacks active case count compared to other universities

WKU students can go to the Graves Gilbert Clinic on campus to receive free COVID-19 testing on campus.

Leo Bertucci

An active case count is not included in WKU’s COVID-19 dashboard like some other Kentucky universities.

WKU’s COVID-19 dashboard can inform members of the university community about how many campus-related positive cases there have been in a three-day span or three-month span, but an active positive case count is not currently available.

WKU is not the only school in Kentucky to not provide an active case count for COVID-19 cases. The University of Louisville, Murray State University and Morehead State University are not providing an active COVID-19 case count as of Oct. 4. Meanwhile, Eastern Kentucky University is reporting 46 active cases of COVID-19 as of Oct. 4.

Bob Skipper, WKU’s director of media relations, said that the university can not quantify an active case count without data from the Barren River District Health Department that is specific to WKU.

“We are currently not receiving data from BRDHD for our dashboard,” Skipper said in an email. “I check with them before every update and as of Oct. 1, they still could not pull WKU-specific information.”

WKU could not receive COVID-19 positive case data from the Barren River District Health Department for its most recent update because the health department is updating its COVID-19 case data software, according to Ashli McCarty, a spokesperson for the health department. As of Oct. 2, the software update is still ongoing.

“The issue has primarily been resolved, but there’s still some residual effects and discrepancies that we’re working through, so while that is complete we’re still dealing with making sure that all of our data is accurate,” McCarty said.

McCarty said that the Barren River District Health Department’s software update is “definitely” prohibiting the health department from providing an active case count for WKU. McCarty does not know if the new system will al- low for a WKU-specific case count.

Unlike WKU, the University of Kentucky has its own definition for active COVID-19 cases. According to the university’s dashboard, students who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have not yet been allowed by their local health department to leave their isolation location are counted as an active case. In order for a UK student to leave their isolation location, they must be able to provide the university with a “release from isolation” document from their local health department. Once the university receives the document, the COVID-19 case is tallied as a recovered case.

The Barren River District Health Department is currently tallying active and recovered case counts in its case dashboard for the counties in its service area. On Oct. 2, the health department reported 1,041 active cases of COVID-19 and 6,452 recoveries.

In order to determine whether a COVID-19 case can be identified as a recovered case, contact tracers from the Barren River District Health Department frequently keep track of an infect- ed person’s symptoms, McCarty said. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most infections last for 10 days after symptoms begin.


The CDC states that if an infected per- son does not take fever-reducing medication for at least 24 hours, that is generally a sign of recovery.

Skipper said that he would like to include information on active and recovered cases on WKU’s COVID-19 dash– board.

“If we get to the point where BRDHD can once again provide WKU-specific data again, we will revisit the information we post,” Skipper said.

Leo Bertucci can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @leober2chee.