Cases of COVID-19 are rising slowly in Letcher County with only four new cases in the past week here.
However, college students from Letcher County may still be at risk of exposure. Alice Lloyd College is now dealing with a cluster of COVID-19 cases, two weeks after returning to in-person classes and just a week after logging its first positive case.
The college announced on Monday that it had nine individuals who had tested positive for COVID-19. The college has an enrollment of about 600. The number tested has not been released.
Kentucky River District Health Director Scott Lockard said the health department is working with the college, and he has been “pleased with their response.”
The positivity rate at Alice Lloyd appears to be similar to other colleges in the state. At the University of Kentucky, at least 254 students have tested positive, but those numbers only include on-campus testing, not testing at area hospitals or other sites. That is a positivity rate of 1.1 percent for students tested on campus. Statewide, the positivity rate is at is 4.42. South Dakota has the highest positivity rate in the nation at 23.01 percent.
At Alice Lloyd, those who might have been exposed have been sent home to quarantine. Those who remain are required to follow strict guidelines to avoid exposure.
Guidelines used by the college (as posted on its web site) are:
• The college returned to in-person instruction on Tuesday, August 18. Plexiglass shields are installed in front of each classroom for instructor use. Classrooms are sanitized twice daily. Students are required to wear face coverings while in the classroom.
• All student and staff must follow government guidelines concerning the wearing of masks. This includes inside classrooms as well as indoor and outdoor common spaces when social distancing is not feasible.
• Social distancing is expected in common areas around campus.
• Employees and students should practice good hand hygiene and cover their coughs. If a campus community member is sick, he or she should stay home and not report to workspaces, classrooms, and/or community facilities.
• Students who share dorm rooms are considered “campus families” and will not be required to adhere to social distancing requirements when together on campus (dining services, convocation, etc.). Common spaces will be cleaned and disinfected twice daily. Until further notice, overnight guests are not permitted in the residence halls.
• Dining services will resume/continue, and the campus community will have service options at Hunger Din, Miss Irma’s Café, and the Campus Center Café. There will be no self-serve stations. Seating capacity in these areas will be restricted to levels deemed appropriate by governing agencies. Dining hours have been extended to help avoid large crowds gathering during the lunch and dinner periods.
• The College will continue athletic programs in accordance with NAIA and NCAA guidelines.
The number of cases in Letcher and nearby counties as of Monday evening (the last figures available from the health department) is as follows: Knott – Total-89 (14 probable) (13 active, 75 recovered, 1 deceased); Lee – Total 11 (1 probable) (2 active, 9 recovered); Leslie – Total 40 (2 probable) (6 active, 34 recovered); Letcher – Total 69 (15 probable) (7 active, 60 recovered, 2 deceased); Owsley – Total 32 (10 probable) (14 active, 18 recovered); Perry – Total 289 (8 probable) (33 active, 248 recovered, 8 deceased); Wolfe – Total 27 (1 probable) (10 active, 17 recovered); Harlan – Total 353 (nine new as of Tuesday); Pike – Total 319 (one new as of Monday); Wise County, Va. – Total 332 (29 hospitalized, 5 deceased); Norton, Va. – Total 26 (2 hospitalized).