UPDATED: WKU reports sharp increase in COVID-19 cases

WKU President Timothy Caboni held a press conference on May 28, where he outlined how the fall 2020 semester will look with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Leo Bertucci

This story has been updated following a response from WKU spokesman Bob Skipper.

WKU reported a spike in COVID-19 cases Friday afternoon in a weekly update to the university’s COVID-19 case dashboard.

According to the dashboard, WKU now has 187 positive cases of COVID-19, sharply up from the 21 total cases the dashboard was showing on Aug. 4. 

Of the 187 cases, the dashboard says 161 are students, up from 15 on Aug. 4, and 26 are faculty, staff or on-campus contractors, up from 6 on Aug. 4.

For the first time, WKU reported on the number of COVID-19 tests that have been performed on campus. The dashboard shows that 309 tests were performed this week and 330 tests have been performed on campus since July 1.

Bob Skipper, WKU’s director of media relations, said in an email that a portion of the large jump was because the university received data from the Barren River District Health Department that included numbers for WKU students and employees that it had collected since July 1. He said that not all of the 161 students who tested positive for COVID-19 live on campus.

“We got numbers from the (Barren River District Health Department) that go back to July 1,” Skipper said. “Their numbers cover anyone identified as WKU students (that) live in the 8 county health department district.”

The dashboard says 51 of the new cases were logged between July 31 and Aug. 6, including 45 students.

Members of the WKU campus community can report a positive case of COVID-19 by calling 270-745-2019. Information on contact tracing and quarantine procedures can be found in WKU’s Healthy on the Hill website at wku.edu/healthyonthehill.