By Joe Wilson —

Weeks after the start of classes, U of L has reported low COVID-19 cases and has no plans to change its mask-optional policy.

According to reports obtained by The Louisville Cardinal, the university had a COVID positivity rate of 17.9 percent in the week of Sept. 12. This marks a steady decline of positivity rate compared to the first week of classes. Back then, U of L reported a positivity rate of 37.9 percent.

Since the start of the Fall 2022 semester, the university has administered an average of 55 COVID tests a week. U of L calculates the positivity rate from the number of tests taken, not the entire student body population. The roughly 18 percent positivity rate, therefore, is a much smaller portion of overall U of L students.

Dr. Phillip Bressoud, a professor of medicine and Executive Director of Campus Health Services, says that “at this time the COVID operations committee doesn’t foresee implementing any new requirements. We are strongly recommending that everyone, especially those over the age of 50, get the Bivalent COVID-19 booster which is available through Campus Health Services on the Belknap and HSC campuses.” 

In July, the university announced it will not mandate mask wearing in the classroom, opting for a mask-optional policy. Later that summer, the university gave away free KN95 masks to any student, faculty, or staff member who wanted them. Since the start of class, mask-wearing has been sparse among both students and faculty.

According to the Louisville Department of Public Health and Wellness, Jefferson County reported a total of 1,246 COVID cases last week. COVID cases have been steady in Jefferson County, with an average range of 1,000-3,000 reported cases a week since May 2022. The department labels Jefferson County as “medium risk.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people who live in medium-risk areas to stay up to date with vaccinations and get tested if COVID symptoms develop.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal //