No plans for campus, community COVID-19 case distinction, health officials say

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As Kansas State students return to campus for the fall semester, many are wondering how the reported positive COVID-19 cases will change, and what role the university will have in gathering this information.

Michelle Geering, university public information officer, said K-State isn’t planning on being involved with the publication of active COVID-19 cases on campus.

“The reporting agency in Manhattan for the coronavirus pandemic is the Riley County Health Department,” Geering said.

Students looking to stay updated on active cases in the area should follow the health department’s Facebook page, where updates are posted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. There currently isn’t a separate report for COVID-19 cases affiliated with the university.

Vivienne Uccello, public information officer for the city of Manhattan, said that she doesn’t believe that there will be a distinction in future case reporting as to whether the cases are K-State students compared to the general public. She said it may be noted if numerous cases stem from a specific outbreak on campus.

Although campus-related case information isn’t available in these reports, the regular updates do display age demographics for all positive cases, as well as some other county-wide statistics.

Despite the university not being involved in the reporting of active cases on campus, Lafene Health Center is planning to continue its role in the care and well-being of K-State students.

In the Community Actions Talk on July 31, Dr. Kyle Goerl, medical director of Lafene, said the health center has been conducting contact tracing for student athletes diagnosed with COVID-19, and that they plan to continue with this method of COVID-19 tracking for students arriving for the fall semester.

COVID-19 testing is also available for students experiencing symptoms or who have come in contact with a positive case.

Students arriving to campus from high-risk areas are being asked to self-quarantine for at least 14 days before attending classes or campus events. Those living off-campus will be asked to stay at their place of residence, Dr. Goerl said.

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Sarah Unruh
Hi! My name is Sarah Unruh, and I’m a junior studying psychology and life sciences on the pre-med track. I’m a designer, a writer and a photographer for the Collegian. Outside of school I like cooking and baking, going to KSU sporting events and watching random conspiracy videos and documentaries. I’ve also earned my private pilot’s license, and I love spending any time I can up in the sky!