WKU confirms first monkeypox case, reported COVID-19 cases on a downturn

Alexandria Anderson, Content editor

David Oliver, WKU’s director of environmental health and safety, confirmed Wednesday that WKU has recorded its first case of monkeypox and the person is in quarantine.

Oliver said the case has had no outward exposures and the situation has been handled by public health officials.

“Monkeypox is different. We do not handle those, public health handles those cases. […] But we’ve had one case that has been confirmed,” Oliver said. “The person has been quarantined. That is being handled in conjunction with public health, and they are doing well. From what I understand, no hospitalization. But they are following the quarantine guidelines.”

Per the Center for Disease Control, Kentucky has reported 34 cases of monkeypox. Oliver said this is the only case “around the university” that he has been made aware of.

Oliver also confirmed that reported COVID-19 cases have started to wane as the university reaches the three-week mark of the semester.

According to Oliver there were 171 reported cases across the first two weeks of the year, 97 during the first week and 73 during the second.

Oliver confirmed that this downward trend in cases matches data from the start of the 2020 and 2021 academic years. He also said that, in reported cases, none faced serious illness or required hospitalization, and very few quarantined students chose to quarantine on campus.

“All in all the COVID numbers are looking good,” Oliver said. “We’re staying diligent, we’re looking again as we have for any potential clusters and cases, those kinds of things. But so far […] we are not seeing that.”

Out of the 171 cases, university faculty and staff accounted for 38 of them. Oliver said this is consistent with the ratio of student to faculty and staff case numbers WKU has seen in previous years.

The current seven-day moving average for COVID-19 cases in Kentucky is 1,314 after a slight spike in cases, with a 2,888 seven-day moving average on Aug. 25. According to Oliver, the university seems to be resembling the state and national COVID-19 case trends.

“I think that all in all, we’re seeing the trends looking about the same,” Oliver said. “I think the most heartening part of it is we’re not seeing hospitalizations, here or anywhere else for that matter – very few hospitalizations, and very few serious illnesses.”

For more information about COVID-19 and monkeypox guidelines on campus, visit the WKU Healthy on the Hill website.

Content editor Alexandria Anderson can be reached at [email protected].